Wiki Article #1 on Seeing like SimCity
Summary of the game
SimCity was first published in 1989 by Maxis, and was originally designed by Will Wright. Since the release of SimCity, there have been many different versions and spin-offs of the “Sim” games. The games rose in popularity and have sold over 100 million units worldwide. The way to play the game is to expand a city with a given budget. The player provides and caters to the citizen’s needs with the likes of services and utilities, while continuously expanding the city. The “Sim” games have a lot of popularity because it appeals to a larger audience. With realistic characters and the need to help them, people become attached to the game as well.
Summary of the article
The article “Seeing Like SimCity” by Rob MacDougall, has an interesting input on the game SimCity. The author of the article’s main argument is that there is a danger of using simulations to teach or model history. Just because someone learned to play a simulation game does not mean that the player will understand the historical content within the game, but it means that the player can now play that specific game. More so, the player interacts more with the game rather than the history. A good example the author portrays is the game of Monopoly. Originally the game was a ‘radical critique of landlords and capitalists’, but now the original context is gone and the idea of how to play the game is left. Specifically now, it is shown that monopolies and wealth are better to have. All in all, the author states that it would be better to teach kids to hack the simulation and change it to put their own algorithms inside it, but ultimately it is still a simulation. Especially with history, the roots of it are much deeper than the constrictions of a simulation and it is practically impossible to contain it all.
Importance of SimCity
The author demonstrates many important aspects of SimCity in the article. Socially, the game can help the player better understand what goes into building a city and what resources are needed to help maintain it. With the power to control pretty much everything in the city, the players would be able to become more socially aware of their surroundings as well as strategically thinking in different ways. Culturally, the game is important because games are a large part of society and people’s lives (especially the younger generation). The large part of the article was about history and how it is incorporated into games. But the games can still teach and inform players a little about history, and if not the history then how other cities are like and what other people maybe like as well. Politically, games can contain information about the world and the players could develop their own opinions based on the information that they may receive.
Debate on Seeing Like SimCity
There does not seem to be much debate on the article, most of the comments are agreeing with Rob MacDougall with some disagreement on specific portions. I like how a comment pointed out that people interpret experiences differently. Every person is different and they will take the game in a vast amount of perspectives. I agree with the author on what he had to say about the history within video games. It is so difficult to be able to fit that much information and richness that history has into a game because, ultimately, the game is a simulation. The players may focus more on completing tasks for the game instead of focusing on the information and history that maybe behind it. But even so, the games are a way for children to learn and become more knowledge in the history and as the article states it as “opening the black box” to hack the simulation. I have never personally played any form of the “Sims” games. But I have a friend playing it right now, who really enjoys the game, that I know is always wanting to complete tasks, and normally does not play video games which further makes me believe that the “Sim” games do reach out to a larger audience.
Howson, Greg. "10 years on and The Sims is still going Strong." The Guardian. N.p., 15 Feb 2010. Web. 11 June 2015.
MacDougall, Rob. "Seeing Like SimCity." Play the Past Rss. N.p., 26 Jan 2011. Web. 11 June 2015.
"SimCity" Wikipedia Web. 11 June 2015.
Anonymous, SOPA, and PIPA (Protect IP)
Anonymous is a group of hackers. They pursue online attacks as a form of nonviolent protest. The group has no leadership, but appears well-organized to the public eye. In a broad perspective, Anonymous opposes internet censorship and control. Many of their "attacks" have been against governments, organizations, and corporations. They sometimes get involved in large issues, and use legal or illegal means such as DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) or hacking to get their point across. The organization was first associated with hacktivism (hacking and activism) through their actions against the Church the Church of Scientology. After this, they have acted out against many other issues in person (with masks on) or online.
SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is a bill that was to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to combat online copyright infringement and online trafficking. Congress failed to pass this bill. There were arguments against SOPA stating that it would restrict the purpose of the internet (that being the free exchange of information). Because large sharing websites and online communities would most likely be shut down, including blogs, reddit, Etsy, etc. With all this being said, there are some positive aspects to the bill. For instance, the industry that is dependent on intellectual property could benefit from better enforcement of their IP rights. Large companies could benefit financially because of an increased amount of protection towards their copyrighted materials.
PIPA (Protect IP) is the Senate companion bill of the SOPA. It works together with the SOPA in order to make it more difficult for websites (focusing more on foreign sites) to distribute copyrighted material. Ultimately, the SOPA and PIPA bills did not pass and there was a lot of controversy between them. Many websites protested against the passing of these bills because they felt that it damaged one of the most important reasons of an online community, to discuss about anything you want.
Hackers Relating to Movements to Protect Online Privacy
Since, a lot of information, transactions, etc. are shared over the web or are online, privacy has become a larger issue today. For example, groups of hackers (like Anonymous) hack into large companies or websites and release personal information to the masses at times. They may also hack into the servers of a large company which results in loss of money and stocks. An example of this is when Anonymous hacked Sony Online Entertainment network because they had wanted to prevent encryption on their playstation devices, once Anonymous put down their servers for almost a month, Sony's stock prices had fallen about $6. These types of hacks, encourage the government to push more protection towards online privacy.
How the Readings Relate to Recent Events Surrounding Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden was a former CIA employee who leaked classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency to the public in 2013. The leaked information told the public about how much power the government holds in surveillance over the Internet and phone. For example, it showed that Verizon provided the NSA information on telephone calls, there was information collected from foreign communications traffic, they searched through databases containing emails, online chats, and browsing histories of millions of people, and even more. There are many different views on what Edward Snowden did. Some say that he did the public a favor by releasing the information and giving people information that is the truth, while others believe that he could have gone with a different approach. It is interesting because what Edward Snowden did with the information, sort of reminded me about what Anonymous does. They see a need to do something about a group that is not doing the "right" things in their eyes and hack their information and release it to the public. In Edward Snowden's case, he did not remain anonymous and is now a fugitive in the U.S., but he acted out on an issue that he saw was great. He knew that he would face consequences for revealing the information, but he did it anyways and brought a lot of attention on the issue (like what Anonymous does as well). And this brought on the idea of reducing secrecy and constraining misuse. This resulted in the issue of the NSA's phone data collection to not be existant anymore, and that they would only be able to access the information through court order. The readings lead me to be able to make a connection with Anonymous, and know more about what President Obama did in response to the information leak. Which included the intent to end the collection of phone records, and what he did not do (which includes the no change to the collection of online data or the foreign communications traffic).
Anonymous (group). Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 1 July 2015.
Harvey, Jason. A Technical Examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP. Reddit Blog, 17 Jan. 2012. Web. 1 July 2015.
Hundt, Reed. Saving Privacy. Boston Review, 19 May 2014. Web. 1 July 2015.
Magid, Larry. What Are SOPA and PIPA And Why All The Fuss?. Forbes, 18 Jan. 2012. Web. 1 July 2015.
Norton, Quinn. 2011: THE YEAR ANONYMOUS TOOK ON COPS, DICTATORS AND EXISTENTIAL DREAD. Wired, 11 Jan. 2012. Web. 1 July 2015.
Schwartz, Mathew J. Who is Anonymous: 10 Key Facts. Dark Reading, 2 Feb. 2012. Web. 1 July 2015.
Stop Online Piracy Act. Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 1 July 2015.
Volz, Dustin. Everything We Learned From Edward Snowden in 2013. National Journal, 31 Dec. 2013. Web. 1 July 2015.