In the game Sim City, the player interacts in a city building experience. The player becomes the “mayor” of an unoccupied landscape and builds up their city while simultaneously keeping the citizens happiness at a high level and managing the city budget. The player typically must balance the city by only building certain types of buildings, businesses, etc. in the appropriate zones. New buildings and such are typically unlocked as you grow your city and earn more taxes as well. The game is basically a never ending simulation game of creating a city that is ever changing.
The article Seeing Like Sim City, acknowledges the inaccuracies of the history of Sim City and other colonization games. The points were made in response to an article that was written stating that Sim City would come preloaded on computers for students at certain schools to be used as an educational experience to teach history, development, or other aspects that the games provide. They argue that the games provide a false sense of history because players can dictate their own history based on what the code for the game allows them to do. While the title of the game reflected that the article would be based on the game Sim City, it seemed as though most of the argument of the article was geared towards other games that involved war and colonization, such as Game of War, Clash of Clans, World of Warcraft, etc. In those games, players interact in warlike actions to overthrow other civilizations and build their own empires. Those games are loosely based on historical events, but much of the events that occur in those games are completely up to the players actions based on what the coding of the game allows them to do, and ends up being only distantly related to actual historical events. Rob MacDougall, the author of the article focuses mainly on the social and cultural importance of games like Sim City. He bases his arguments off the ideas of others that have written similar articles on the game. They believe that the article provides a false sense of history for the players and therefore shouldn’t be used as an educational device, but strictly as an entertainment option. A previous author believes that these games don’t provide accurate historical information and instead lead players that are using the games in school to believe that historical events were as ruthless as the games can be. MacDougall goes on to argue that the games only provide evidence of historical events that they are coded for, and therefore don’t provide a wide enough education for related historical events. He then suggests that players or others could go in and write their own code for the games to provide alternative actions in the games to create them more accurately to actual historic events. Basically, the MacDougall and the others that he mentions believe that the games take one historic event and falsely radicalize the it for entertainment purposes. This article did create quite a buzz. There were 15 comments on the article with many having links to the comments as well. They dove into the opinion of the author quite a bit, with a wide variety of comments to the article. Some comments agreed with statements that MacDougall made regarding the topic of the games, while others argued that MacDougall’s thoughts were stretching the idea of the games for the purpose of discussion. After reading the article and the comments of others I have created an opinion of my own. I have also played the game Sim City, and others like it as well. I believe that MacDougall’s thoughts on the educational incentives of these games are accurate. However, it depends on what you want out of the games. I do agree that these games may not accurately reflect historical events, and therefore wouldn’t be a great tool for educational purposes on historical events. But I do believe that the game Sim City does provide more than entertainment. The game allows players to learn how to manage budgets, and make plans, and build upon envisions that the players have. While I think that many people typically just play these games for entertainment purposes, I think they do provide a little bit of educational value because of the envisioning and developing that is involved in the process of the games.
MacDougall, R. (2011, January 26). Seeing Like SimCity. Retrieved June 10, 2015, from http://www.playthepast.org/?p=645
WIKI POST #2
From my understanding through the readings this week, Anonymous is a group that fuels internet discussion. They seem to be a group of what some might call “hackers” that release information on the web via blogs and other similar sites that have been typically used to spark the fire for many other activist groups and organizations that are working to change controversial subjects.
SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act is a bill that was passed to protect copyright infringement on the web. The bill grants power to the Attorney General, who can obtain court orders to take actions on infringing websites if the owner of the website is committing criminal violations that online copyright infringement or counterfeit products. The bill places a lot of authority on the Attorney General to utilize their discretion in pursuing those that violate the law.
Similar to SOPA, the PROTECT IP Act also deals with online copyright laws. The PROTECT IP Act gives copyright holders and the government the ability to stop access to websites that sell counterfeit products. This bill helps encourage the sales of the original products, against those that counterfeit their products. It helps product the original producers and their copyrights from falling victim to the black market and counterfeits.
SOPA and PROTECT IP are not actually able to remove copyrighted content, however, they try to censor links to the websites and domains that are infringing on copyrights and counterfeiting products. Essentially the bills can’t stop counterfeit products from being sold on the web, but they can shut down the domain names and websites that the people selling the counterfeit items use in order to slow down their business, and establish road blocks for them.
Groups of hackers, such as Anonymous relate very well to movements that protect online privacy. While sometimes hackers are seen as participating in mischievous activity on the web, they are often just utilizing the web as a resource to use the tools provided on the web for their creativity. They can be creative in many ways, such as remixing music or editing videos. Typically they don’t do anything that is necessarily illegal, but sometimes their actions are looked on as controversial. While some may argue that utilizing copyrighted information to edit and create remix is controversial, others see it as creativity or art. Some of the bills that are being proposed to stop this from occurring, such as bills like SOPA and PROTECT IP are looked on by creative minds as a possibly hindering art and creativity. The majority of the “hacker world” sees these as roadblocks for future creativity that is necessary for the evolution of entertainment. In fact, they don’t see themselves as violating any copyrights because they don’t make any money off of their creativeness.
Hacker groups, such as Anonymous also tend to fuel the fire for many other movements. By providing information on the web, Anonymous can supply demonstrators with the tools that they need to help support their cause. Occupy Wall Street was a prime example of how hacker groups such as Anonymous can provide information to a group of activists that are seeking a change. Anonymous has also provided information to organizations in the Middle-East that were seeking to information to support their movements against their governments.
Over the past few years, ex CIA worker Edward Snowden has been the topic of controversy for leaking confidential information related to the security of the United States. The director of the National Security Administration related his actions to “telling our enemy our playbook”. Snowden is currently wanted by the United States for espionage. From Edward Snowden’s perspective, he believes that he didn’t do anything necessarily harmful or against the law. Snowden believes that many of the bills that are being passed are harmful to the public because they essentially give up their privacy. He believes that we shouldn’t have to give up our privacy to be secure, but that individuals should instead be more involved, and be active members of our country’s security instead. For related reasons, Snowden believes that the Iraq War was started on false intelligence. He thinks that before taking action, the government should have put the topic up for public discussion to see how much of a necessity it was to take action. Snowden believes that in the future, large-scale and historically changing decisions could be altered by the citizens playing more of a role in national security, rather than just signing away their rights so that the government can make their own decisions, whether right or wrong.