Nick Verbanic

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Wiki Post 1 on SimCity

SimCity is a computer simulation published in 1989 (as Micropolis) for multiple platforms [1]. This game was designed by developer Will Wright in Orinda, California. The main objective of this game is to act as mayor of a growing city. The player must maintain citizens happiness and a stable budget (Wikipedia).

The development of SimCity started after Jeff Braun published SimCity as the initial game for Maxis. SimCity was based on 20th Century Californian development. In January, 2008 the SimCity code was released to be free software and was donated to the project One Laptop Per Child expanding popularity greatly (Wikipedia).

SimCity continued to be the best selling computer game up until the year 2012 (Wikipedia). There have been numerous additions and expansions to the SimCity collection. SimCity also branched off into a separate simulation game called "The Sims" in the 2000s (Wikipedia).

Seeing Like SimCity[2]

Author's Main Argument

Rob McDougall uses SimCity to discuss the main issues that occur when game developers try to simulate history. McDougall is able to effectively discuss the errors in ways of video games such as Civilization or Colonization. Overall, the author's main point in the article is history lies deeper than just 'logic and roots' (McDougall).

McDougall's use of references greatly enhances his argument. He cites a quote from Trevor Owens' article which discusses the simplicity and flat-out boring nature of Colonization [3]. Owens discusses how simulation games leave out major chunks of history which have played major roles on society. Colonization did not include such major topics as slavery which, unfortunately, shaped the economic development of many nations globally (Owens). McDougall and Owens both use the quote "history in Civilization is precisely the opposite of history" this backs the McDougall's argument.

SimCity is argued by McDougall as not giving actual thought to building a city. It is argued that there are still issues with the way crime is shown through SimCity as well as how it does not model history correctly. McDougall used arguments of various developments which are essential to maintain in all video games. Simulation games do not show history effectively; they are just turning history into code (McDougall).

Importance of SimCity

Simulation games are able to show history through a more lively variation compared to textbooks. SimCity plays major roles through its use of culture, politics and social aspects.

Cultural Importance

McDougall shows the importance in culture with simulation games such as SimCity. "History is what hurts" is a great definition for how games such as SimCity and Colonization play roles in education and culture (McDougall). Games often times change the way society sees opinions and facts. It is because of culture that games such as Colonization and SimCity are changed. It is difficult for programmers to produce the emotions which arose in history (McDougall). Culture plays a role in developing games in order to make their game popular and worthy of purchase.

Political Importance

In the article "Seeing Like SimCity" the game Monopoly is addressed in terms of politics. Monopoly was designed as a way to criticize both landlords and capitalists. The game has changed overtime to just represent the original procedures (McDougall). The rules of a game will always play a role over the statement it originally made. The political importance of SimCity is similar in this way. McDougall asks if this is the correct way to attack crime by putting more police on the street (McDougall). Politics can be a touchy issue in the video game world and developers must maintain these correctly.

Social Importance

Is a simulation game the correct way to educate children or young adults about history (McDougall)? It is difficult to discuss history with just the use of a sim game. Alan Kay deconstructs SimCity, going as far as calling it an anti-educational environment, somewhat playing a similar role as an air guitar (McDougall). The impact a simulation game such as SimCity plays on an environment must be watched carefully as it could be detrimental instead of constructive socially.

General Discussion

The comments on this post generate further thinking on McDougall's topic. Many of those who commented based their arguments on video games with historical background. I agree that it is a significant problem in history simulations with the past being in question. Simulation games such as The Sims or SimCity should not be subject to the same criticisms.

Having played this game as well as other simulators, I know it is interesting to play at the beginning but gets boring quite quickly. SimCity takes a while to actually build the city effectively and it can also be very tedious at times. In general, I believe it is just a simulator and doesn't have as many historical problem as games like Civilization or Colonization. Games such as the Sims or SimCity do not necessarily have the intentions of education and should not be compared so similarly to games with a historical background.

Works Cited

  1. Wikipedia contributors. "SimCity." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 3 Jun. 2013. Web. 3 Jun. 2013.
  2. MacDougall, Rob. "Seeing Like SimCity." Play the Past, 26 Jan. 2011. Web. 3 Jun. 2013.
  3. Owens, Trevor. "Sid Meier's Colonization: Is it offensive enough." Play the Past, 23 Nov. 2010. Web. 3 Jun. 2013.

Wiki Post 2 on Copyright and Piracy Legislation

Alphabet Soup


SOPA or the Stop Online Piracy Act was formed as a way to control domestic internet sites [4]. These domestic sites are registered or assigned by the registrar and are found in the United States. They fall under such domain names as .com, .org or .us. This act was debated by the House of Representatives. A complimentary bill went through the Senate entitled PROTECT IP (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011). PROTECT IP is a way to control SOPA through a foreign internet site. Sites such as reddit are defined incorrectly under this legislation (Havey).

Reddit and other sites with similar functions already have a way of removing copyrighted content. However, SOPA and PROTECT IP require reddit moderators to go through the billions of user posts and censor links out. These links would violate copyright and would be required to search (Havey). SOPA would harm sites growth and has the ability to be used incorrectly. There are vague definitions in the legislation and have potential to be stretched according to the law (Havey).

January 18 is the day of the year in which internet freedom is celebrated [5]. Internet freedom is celebrated over the falling of SOPA, which started as a grassroots movement. SOPA could have limited greatly what we celebrate everyday as our own. SOPA could have had terrible effects on free speech over the internet (Fitzpatrick).


The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) compromises the privacy set for all individuals who use the internet [6]. In an article, Alexis Ohanian is trying to get the leader of Google to become active on this act. CISPA is extremely personal and gives companies the ability to retain sensitive information and share with whomever they please (Zetter). The use of CISPA to control the use of the internet is not something which would be given over easily.

Congress passed CISPA by the house and its companion is being debated by Senate [7]. The purpose of this act is to contain and end cyber threats by cybersecurity. The Obama administration is not in favor of this sharing of information as a way for cybersecurity (Sottek). CISPA gives greater information sharing from companies to the government in a way to share private data. This alone is a complete invasion of the rights of beings. This act takes steps toward a 'big brother' model of leadership in the United States. CISPA is moving forward in a way that many Americans are currently uncomfortable with. There is room for loopholes and abuse which could be easily played by the government (Sottek).

CISPA in the end was shelved by the Senate; however there still needs to be some sort of cybersecurity bill put into place [8]. There needs to be a way of checks and balances to be able to control what is published on the internet securely. This is required to maintain the overall atmosphere of the internet. There must be amendments made to this act in order to maintain the protection of Americans on a digital and personal level (Sanchez).


The Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) plays a similar role to SOPA and is something reddit owner, Alexis Ohanian begs others to vote against (Zetter). It is the technical companion bill to SOPA (similar to PROTECT IP) [9]. PIPA would go over entire businesses and domains attacking them from the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) (Magid). Numerous websites blocked their services for a day just to make sure they make a point to those trying to block them. Essentially companies are upset with what the government is attempting to do with PIPA (Magid).

PIPA focuses only on sites which are labeled with the purpose to copyright [10]. Numerous government officials did not agree with the way PIPA is written. In the end there must be changes to the laws which are placed on cybersecurity. If the people passing laws are not in agreeance then it is hard to believe the rest of the internet community would agree (Newman).

Who are Anonymous?

Anonymous was created with purpose for defending the freedom and security of the internet [11]. They originated on the image-based website 4chan as random people posting on the site, completely anonymous[12]. Members of 4chan post on forums or IRC channels regarding certain topics. Users bashed a video of the Church of Scientology posted on 4chan and was asked to be removed from youtube. This request for removal of the video led to Project Chanology to reveal the dangers of Scientology and calling for protestors against them (Crawley). The beginning of Project Chanology led to the movement of the organization Anonymous protesting first against Scientology and eventually against numerous organizations and governments (Crawley).

Anonymous has been credited with contributing to numerous protests having major roles in each of them. They took a major stand in the Arab Spring in which Middle Eastern nations stood up against their governments (Norton). Anonymous participated in OpTunisia and began giving Tunisians the ability to go against their government. Leader Ben Ali censored Wikileaks cables, striking up the interest of #optunisia (Norton). Anonymous gave out a care package to work around privacy which was set by their government leaders. This package contained a message for the people of Tunisia to start their own revolutions. Anonymous also has shown support for the Occupy movement starting with Occupy Wall Street (Norton).

Protection of Online Privacy

The main interest of Anonymous is to give the unalienable rights back to the people (Norton). They are concerned with the people of the world and when they were attacked, they are not afraid to fight back. Anonymous was even cited to engage in an operation to bring down Australian government websites for making certain adult entertainment illegal (Crawley). Anonymous wanted to give the people what they believed was correct; however, similar to many internet 'trolls' they take their purpose beyond what is acceptable (Norton).

Sony targeted Anonymous because of a patch removing Linux from the PlayStation 3. The PlayStation Network banned GeoHot for essentially hacking his PS3 to modify this function (Crawley). Anonymous was mainly laid to blame for this hack when the PlayStation Network was hacked. They were interested in protecting the rights endowed by the creator of the PS3. They also showed interest in their protesting form through 'hacktivism' (Crawley).

Most recently Saudi Arabian websites have come up to attack the Saudi Interior Ministry [13]. They have a double motive to retaliate rape and murder in Saudi Arabia. Hackers attacked not only the rape and murder cases, but also Mobily for a surveillance project (Perlroth). Overall, the purpose of Anonymous on online privacy is to contain it. Everyone has an unalienable right to the internet and it should not be contained in the way the government is attempting. Even though this is their motive there are always people who take it further than necessary.

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden is a 29-year-old who is currently responsible for one of the most important political leaks in the history of the United States [14]. Snowden had been working as an employee of the National Security Agency (NSA) and numerous outside contractors. Snowden gave out information from a secret agency very few people know much about (Greenwald, MacAskill & Poitras). He told the world of the US government destroying the privacy of citizens. His understanding of the biggest and most secretive surveillance organization puts him into major trouble no matter which way he turns (Greenwald, MacAskill & Poitras).

Snowden's case shows the lengths the United States government is willing to go with in order to maintain all of their secrets. He crossed the line to become a whistleblower against the NSA. Snowden showed the NSA was focused originally narrowly tailored and is beginning to be targeted domestically, analyzing numerous people (Greenwald, MacAskill & Poitras). In essence, the NSA has the ability to use CISPA to their benefit. The government organizations have the ability to control these pieces of legislation effectively and put forth their power and gain access to individual citizen's records.

Works Cited

  1. Havey, Jason (2012) A technical examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP
  2. Fitzpatrick, Alex (2013) What is Internet Freedom Day
  3. Zetter, Kim (2013) Reddit Cofounder Calls on Google’s Larry Page to Oppose CISPA
  4. Sottek, T.C. (2013) The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act: CISPA explained
  5. Sanches, Julian (2013) CISPA Is Dead. Now Let's Do a Cybersecurity Bill Right
  6. Magid, Larry (2012) What Are SOPA an PIPA And Why All The Fuss?
  7. Newman, Jared (2012) SOPA and PIPA: Just the Facts
  8. Norton, Quinn (2012) 2011: The Year Anonymous Took On Cops, Dictators and Existential Dread
  9. Crawley, Kara (2011) A History of Anonymous
  10. Perlroth, Nicole (2013) Saudi Web Sites Under Attack After Surveillance Accusations
  11. Greenwald, Glen, MacAskill, Ewen and Poitras, Laura (2013) Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations