Category Archives: Opinion and Discussion

Violence and Consent in Computer Games

Quoted from:

A Game Is Being Beaten

By Leigh Alexander

The trend in video game design is to comment on violence by asking players to perform violence. But could there be pleasure in performing consent?

A popular approach to ­video-game design is to “think about the verbs.” Interactive entertainment should be verb-led, some say, and the way to make a good game is to think about what the player does. In many games, you have to do the things it wants you to do whether you want to or not. If you don’t like it, as the saying goes, just don’t play it.

[...]

Kopas quietly self-­published a small, text-only game called Consensual Torture Simulator for $2 on Gumroad. In it, a mutually affectionate couple enjoys a night in. You play as the domme in their kink relationship scene, scratching, flogging, caning, and performing other acts of consensual physical violence on your submissive girlfriend. Both partners have decided to explore the goal of making the recipient of the violence cry.

Read the whole article here: A Game Is Being Beaten – The New Inquiry.

Also linked in the original article: Pixels in Distress (tumblr)

“Has Privacy Become a Luxury Good?”

Ever since Edward Snowden (bless him) blew the proverbial whistle, privacy concerns has been proven to be even more serious than anyone dared to believe. And I’d like to make a small case for one of the problems I see in Wow.

I remember reading a forum post back in 2012 about the activity feed on the WoW Armory.

activity feed wow

The WoW Armory logs the activity of every character above level 10, who has also been active within the last 6 months. It logs the date of the last 50 entries.This can be viewed by anyone online, and you can not opt out of it.

It was a player asking for the ability to simply opt out of having the activity feed public:

“Am I the only person who think it’s uncomfortable to have everything you do, and when you do it broadcasted to the world?

Maybe I don’t want family/partner/boss/co-workers/stalkers/etc to know exactly how much I play or when I play for a number of reasons.

I want privacy features, I want the choice to disable the activity feed.” (link)

Is this really a lot to ask?

- Apparently for some! Because people in the thread were completely hung up on the suspicion that this guy might be playing WoW when he should be working. The answer to that is – that’s why we need privacy to begin with – because it’s none of your damn business what he does in WoW or when he do it. We don’t even need to have the discussion about why he wants it to be private in the first place – privacy is a human right!

Besides, to make a point, I have played WoW when ill – as in – legitimately ill. I did some pet battles, some farming, just something to take my mind off of the blazing flu I had going.

But you can also imagine how, under certain conditions, that could have been construed as me not being ill enough, if this information was in the hands of the wrong people.

You also see this argument about privacy often:

Basically, you are responsible for your own privacy. Which means you’d have to censor yourself – don’t play WoW when ill lest someone find out and use it against you.

Grumpy-Cat-01

Great! That will make the internet a fun, free and democratic place to hang out!
- Artist Inti Orozco

Another consequence of this line of thinking, would be the question author Julia Angwin asks: “Has Privacy Become a Luxury Good?

“As more privacy-protecting services pop up, we need to consider two important questions: Can we ensure that those who can afford to buy privacy services are not being deceived? And even more important, do we want privacy to be something that only those with disposable money and time can afford?”

She spent $2,200 last year on privacy protection measures, some of which weren’t able to live up to their promises. Besides, is it fair that one has to be a tech-expert to work around this stuff? I feel bad for my ol’ man then.

I see my friends on Facebook using nick names and falsifying their personal information, in order to diffuse their online tracks. My own strategy has been to just leave as much blank as possible. This means Facebook constantly asks me where I grew up, where I went to school (all the way back to kindergarden, Facebook wants everything!) and what movies and music I like. I sometimes enjoy watching Facebook squirm in the absence of my data, but then it also annoys me – “quit asking me private stuff, Zuckerberg, I don’t wanna date you!”

Edward Snowden, though!

I’m Not Here to Scream “IT’S JUST A GAME” at You

Why do I sometimes feel guilty when playing WoW?

It’s not because I play too much, or have other duties that I neglect, it’s far more understated than that.

It’s because of some of the things I do inside the game … I know this may sound like I’m coming out as a severely brutal griefer or corpse camper right now, but don’t worry, I’m not here to scream “IT’S JUST A GAME” at you. In fact, I’m trying to convince myself of exactly that.

Oondasta

Oondasta, the world boss

I, and circa a hundred other players, were fighting Oondasta yesterday. I was not in a raid and took care of my own healing the best I could, it’s still a wipe fest really, healing or not. But he finally went down and I got my loot – “A Shiny Pile of Refuse”. Unexpectedly, it contained a white kitten carrier and since I already had a white kitten, I thought I’d just sell it on the auction house.

UNTIL Noelani pointed out the tragedy of finding a small kitten in a huge pile of dinosaur poo AND then choosing to just sell it. If that is not cruel, then I don’t know what is!

… You know, I actually do.

It’s even more cruel to force this little pooey “white” kitten into pet battles, where I can choose to force it to fight for me. It may even die because of my evil blood sport hobby of pet collecting and battling.

I think Noelani knew this too because he offered to take the kitten and take good care of it, even though he already has one. After I’m done writing this post, I’ll log in and the fate of the kitten will be sealed. I hope no one bought the pooey kitten (maybe for their own sake too).

In relevance, consider the case of the guy below, Huggalon the Heart Watcher.

JJJ

I don’t remember there being a dead pandaren female to the left of Huggalon the Heart Watcher when I took this screenshot … It’s so haunting, I don’t think I will be able to sleep tonight.

We ran into him when leveling a couple of alts and we couldn’t decide whether to kill him or not. He isn’t a clear cut case as so many other bosses and elites otherwise are. What to do?

Kill him because:

  • He’s there to be killed, right? (or is he there to force us to have horrible ethical dilemmas ABOUT killing him?)
  • He’s got a mean look on his face, he’s probably evil
  • Look at all the skeletal remains under his huge boots
  • He looks like he might appreciate being put out of his misery
  • He drops a B.B.F. Necklace
It will give a targeted player a buff called "B.F.F"

It will give a targeted player a buff called “Best Friends Forever”, which lasts for a day (instead of, well, forever)

Don’t kill him because:

  • He’s sitting there looking like a lost abandoned child (which is pretty accurate since he is the missing fifth watcher from the Vault of Archavon and Captain Planet reference)
  • His name is Huggalon the Heart Watcher
  • He has a huge bow in his hair
  • He is not hostile, but neutral
  • There is no real gain from killing him, only the necklace, which you then STEAL from him, and that is creepy. Who steals B.F.F. necklaces?

The comments on Wowhead suggest I’m not the only one with this dilemma. People say that all Huggalon ever wanted was a nice big hug and some feel really bad after they killed him. Why are we feeling bad? It’s just a game, there’s no denying that, the only consequence is that he respawns 20 minutes later for someone else to mull over this dilemma.

So, do you think I killed him?

And, would you be able to kill him yourself, and not feel just a little bit guilty about it?