Lynn Castillo

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ABSTRACT SImCity is an open ended game created by Maxis in 1989 which has had many editions. During the game, one creates and maintains a city, where different disasters and issues can occur. Rob MacDougall, despite liking the game itself, questions the repercussions of the game in an educational and simulation setting.

Wiki Post #1

1.) SimCity was first published in 1989 by Maxis for computers and consoles. Due to the popularity and success of SimCity, many editions were made up until 2012, as well as the spin off series of The Sims. Essentially, the game consists of the player building, expanding, and maintaining a city, where the player must keep the citizens happy. One must create zoning for residential and commercial, maintain law and order, sustain a bureaucracy, as well as face natural disasters (mostly in the later versions). While this is not a ‘win or lose’ game, many believe it was popular because it is open-ended. An example of the success of SimCity is how each laptop in the One Laptop Per Child Campaign received a version of the game, although the name will be Micropolis due to copyright issues.

2.) SimCity is a complicated game, according to the author Rob MacDougall, because of the political and social implications that are natural assumptions within gameplay now that it will be used educationally. Basically, the game itself is cause and effect with items or institutions that are placed in certain areas, for instance adding a police station decreases crime. Especially in regards to the One Laptop Per Child Campaign, the author questions the use of cause and effect for children, as well as the implications made within the game that do not reflect real life societies and histories. Do the procedures in SimCity create an absence in history and merely make it a game for building a very basic city? He also makes the point from a different article, that learning to play and understanding the rules (of, say, cause and effect) eliminates or overshadows history, or in general the reality of building a city.

3.) The author demonstrates the political and social implications of SimCity by discussing its use for the child campaign, on top mentioning the awards it has received with little friction. While he does make a point about how it is important to bring up colonization and white-washing, MacDougall warns against using them as educational tools as simulations, because they do not necessarily depict reality. Even if people hack, tweak, or change the game in the cause and effect sense, it is not based on anything other than other people’s assumptions and backgrounds. It can be used for fun, and rather it should only be used for fun.

4.) One comment countered MacDougall’s point in that analytical historians also tend to simplify and reduce historical events, as well as bring in their own assumptions. In this sense, the commenter is basically saying that there is not a major difference between what the gameplay does in reducing cause and effect and what historians do in reducing historical events to simple cause and effect. Another commenter argued that internalizing gameplay is normal, but at what point are consumers internalizing the model (to believe it is true) compared to internalizing it but aware that it is a consumer product? While the commenter then discussed how Internet forums and threads help players not to be necessarily believed something is true, he left out the part about its use in educational purposes, in the example of a teacher using it along with lectures. Another very interesting comment, in regards to the educational aspect of SimCity, is how the 1972 Detroit Economic collapse (when a huge economic crisis descended on Detroit and caused by motor companies) could actually be a learning issue for students in developing countries. During the game, one must ‘fix’ Detroit within ten years. The commenter stated that while initially it was fine, the actual reality of Detroit over forty years later made the task seem impossible and discouraging. The point was that when does a simulation become internalized to be true, but also discourage students from problem solving because it is too much like reality. Not all of these comments exactly accepted or denied MacDougall’s article, they were interesting points to be made about SimCity and simulation games in general.

Overall, I would agree with MacDougall’s warning or issue with oversimplification of issues, and how SimCity can be too cause and effect. While SimCity is clearly a more Western version of society, I believe it can ignore other factors, especially social ones. However, being a student, sometimes simplification is needed and appreciated in order to grasp complex concepts (especially at the beginner level), and that as long as people are aware of the reductionism, it is not necessarily a problem.

Sub List

Works Cited: "SimCity." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 10 June 2015.


1.) Anonymous: the use of a lack of identity by multiple people, or through websites (like 4Chan), in which people hack servers and other websites in order to call out governments (such as during the Arab Spring) or large companies (such as Sony) in order to pursue truth, transparency, and human rights. The term is generalized to different people in different countries, in different situations. Although all work could potentially be dangerous, the cover of anonymous and the use of the web allow truth to be broadcasted without significantly identifying oneself or the group.

SOPA: Stop Online Piracy Act; deals distinctively with ‘domestic sites’, that is, sites operated within or through US websites (including .org, .com, and .us); if a site is pirating anything that is copyrighted or property protected, the government has the right to seize and shut down the site. However, due to the lack of proper terms and definitions, the language used is very ambiguous, thereby allowing room for abuse of this law. Also, in general this would not stop piracy because there would be ways around this, as well as a continuous amount of new sites being created.

PIPA: Protect Intellectual Property Act; ‘foreign sites’, those that are operated outside the US, and are not allowed to have links within domestic sites. Similar to SOPA, the language used is very ambiguous, and allows sites to be blocked based on the idea that information is overall ‘property’ and should be protected. There are not straight definitions that give clear distinctions of what the government does and does not want, allowing them to interpret the laws as they please.


2.) Hackers relate to movements to protect online privacy, both against government regulations and against governments themselves (like during the Arab Spring), because they (the hackers) are needed to go around servers and other ways in which the web is blocked, to acknowledge information and the idea that full access to the internet should be a human right. For instance, the idea of wiki-leaks posts ‘government secrets’ or scandals when it affects the citizens. The hackers during the Arab Spring used it to get around Muammar Gadhafi’s servers, and later used to spread the awareness of the human rights abuses during each uprising. These hackers were able to send out videos of police brutality against citizen, despite misleading reports concocted by their respective governments. However, anonymous also dislikes the American government’s infringements upon the privacy of its citizens during the NSA scandal.

3.) I think it is interesting that the anonymous and the hackers are overall considered heroes in the eyes of American citizens and government officials, in regards to governments with which the United States are not on good terms. However, in regards to Edward Snowden, one side of the debate considers him to have committed treason against the United States government, and was forced to flea to Russia. On the other hand, he is believed to have done the proper actions, in calling out the NSA and other government secret actions against public privacy (‘Saving Privacy’). I think in general it means that the US government and foreign governments in general need to be aware that citizens will (both alone and especially together) are willing to ensure their rights, and show the world how they live. The governments also need to figure out a legal precedent in order to deal with hackers, instead of picking and choosing how they view each one, depending on what country in which they are citizens. Edward Snowden is an example of how SOPA and PIPA laws could actually harm individuals and groups of people (anonymous and hackers), especially within the United States, if there were to be laws set down that do not adequately use . It is also telling that despite how long the internet has been around and been utilized by everyone around the world, there are lack of laws created around it, specifically for property rights, similar to the information presented in the video Good Copy, Bad Copy. A lack of laws continues to grey the area of Internet, and what is and is not acceptable, although there probably would not be complete agreement between citizens, let alone governments.

Blog.reddit -- what's new on reddit: A technical examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP. (2012, January 17). Retrieved July 1, 2015, from

Saving Privacy. (n.d.). Retrieved July 1, 2015, from