golden jew

Shameless Propoganda (and some insight)

This blog post is a bit off topic, but indulge me. I have the pleasure of being loosely associated with an upcoming independent film called “Look,” which is opening on Friday in a few cities (NYC and LA). The premise of Look is that there are 30 million surveillance cameras in America, which capture the average American 200 times a day. The movie is a fiction that covers several intertwining plotlines, with each scene shot from a hypothetical security camera: elevator cameras, convenience store cameras, even bathroom and changing room cameras.

What does this have to do with gaming? You’ll recall about a year ago there was a great deal of outcry when the Left Behind game praised Jesus too much. Actually, the Left Behind game had an embedded cookie tracker that would then deliver in-game advertisements tailored to your perverted (or not) needs. Many gamers found this to be distasteful and intrusive, when it’s really a reflection of larger problem.

Anonymity in our society has completely eroded. Whether it’s physical surveillance cameras or a cookie on your hard drive, nearly every move you make is being recorded. While there is not a “big brother” piecing it all together (in fact, the majority of this tracking is done by private industry, either to track their employees, their customers, or their customer’s porn purchasing habits), it is disturbing that my porn habits are so accurately tracked.

While I am not so sensationalistic to think that video games will be directly targeted, I do worry that given their often forced controversial nature by various interest groups it’s only a matter of time before some idiotic anti-video game parental group proposes some sort of invasive video game monitoring. On the other hand, perhaps some sort of monitoring is needed to cut back on the utter fucktardery of places such as Xbox live. I might be in favor of that, especially if we forcibly sterilize some of the asshats found on the internet.

In any case, check out the movie. Also, you can check out the Girls of Look at Maxim. If that doesn’t want to make you see the movie, I don’t know what will!

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16 years ago

Surveillance is indeed a scary part of our culture, and I shudder to think of how many securty cams actually exist in the UK (I’ll try to find a link to a real propoganda poster for them. Scary shit). I always found the matter of fact portrayal if surveillance in William Gibson’s novels to be powerful as well; characters are constantly tracked simply because none of them pay with cash.

When it comes to games, my biggest concern is whether to worry when there is merely potential for spying, or when things actually happen. For example, I detest games that have used personal browsing information to sell you ads. At the same time, I also defended the launch of Steam against people that were afraid merely of the potential for spying. It is a slippery slope, though one we should probably be more afraid of now that some companies have taken it to the step we feared of.