Parviz Torabi-Marashi

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Wiki Article#1: Past Time: Re-Encountering Everquest[1]

EverQuest Development

EverQuest(EQ)[2] is one of the most popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game)[3] mainly due to its 3D interface. It was first developed as a concept by John Smedley in 1996. Although later in 1999 was developed by Sony's subsidiaries (989 Studios and Verant Intractive), but originally it was designed by Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover, and Bill Trost. Like many other games that derived for text based games, EQ also is derived from Multi-User Dungeon (MUD)[4] games (EverQuest).

Players have 16 race options to choose their character from, options like humans, elves, and trolls. Players also choose their character occupation known as "class" in the game, it could be a wizard, ranger, or cleric. By using their character, players could explore Norrath (a fantasy world), and by fighting enemies, they can earn treasures and experience points (EverQuest).

Author's Main Argument

Author of Past-Time: Re-Encontering EverQuest has a very unique point of view. She has identified a common complaint among players about craving good-old-days in MMO games when the games where not giving one as many options as today. She also has brought up an example of Sony's initiative to give an option to players in order to be able to play in the past and old versions, in other words, recreating the past. But in her opinion, Sony fails to recreate the past because it is impossible(Bembeneck).

In order to support her argument, author brings two claim. First, she claims that because we have played the game before, it would never be the same feelings, sense of wonder, or primary encounter anymore, we are not those innocent players who were amazed with the game and its offerings when we encounter with the game for the first time(Bembeneck).

Second, by playing and experiencing more up-to-date versions of variety of games in ever changing technology environment, we have been evolving ourselves and our experience is different now. So when we encounter with the game again, it is kind of new game, because we are not the same person with the same level of experience as we were several years ago(Bembeneck).

Social and Cultural Importance

Although Sony with all its capabilities wanted to recreate the past to address the issue of ghost towns in the virtual world and in its game which it has been developing for last 12 years, based on the author's argument, failed to succeed.

The reason for this failure was mainly due to the fact that as a society we are evolving so fast culturally, and our expectations are changing rapidly and unconsciously so that almost no forces could reverse the process of cultural and social evolution(Bembeneck).

Controversies

There are some controversies around EQ. Despite of the fact that EverQuest have always forbidden the practice of trading in-game objects for real money on some websites such as ebay, this practice were widely used among players. In some occasions, this practice have gone to the extreme; by one exchanging his/her house for these kind of objects(EverQuest).

There are serious addiction problems that psychologists who are specialized in the computer addiction have warned users for game addiction, some people even called the game "NeverRest" or "EverCrack" (EverQuest).

Comments and Personal Opinion

Emily's post did not generate any debate but kind of sympathy and author's argument verification. The first commenter, Allison Hill, has found the post very interesting, and she admits that the author has opened a new door for her to look at this fact from different angel that she hadn't thought before. She verifies author's argument about new experience in an old game due to the change in ourselves(Bembeneck).

The other commenter, Briannem, found this an stereotype, like when you re-read your favorite book from childhood and understand meanings that you wouldn't know otherwise, if you would have not read it again(Bembeneck).

And the last commenter, Tom, a bit different than other two, argues that any change in the game, would make someone kind of disappointed, like the elimination of the corpse run by Sony in the latest old version(Bembeneck).

I think complaint about good-old-days is common in many aspects of life all the time. Always one can find some who would rather live in the past and would not deal with the today's complicated world and its challenges. As technology progress very fast, this gap becomes wider and wider, and some continue to complain more and more. This is part of the evolution and it is almost impossible to try to slow it down or reverse the process, one should adopt as much and as quick as possible in order to survive in this world. But one could ignore the change, because as Dr. Deming so nicely have said "It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory."

Works Cited

Bembeneck, Emily. "Past-Time: Re-Encountering Everquest." Play The Past RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2013. <http://www.playthepast.org/?p=818>.

"EverQuest." Https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EverQuest. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 June 2013.

Wiki Article#2

Anonymous

Anonymous is a network of anonymous "hacktivists" who stand for shared ideas within their community and beyond. By hacking into the governments', corporate, and religious groups' websites and systems, they respond to what they believe is wrong and need to be eliminated, fixed, or revised. They actively participate in some events such as anti-digital piracy, Occupy Movement, and Arab Spring (Anonymous(Group)-Wikipedia). The group was heavily involved and contributed to the Arab Spring, and as one of the active anons (members of Anonymous called anons) in the movement under Op Tunisia explains, “I saw nobody cared about those people, because it wasn’t a big country. It was like, ‘Fuck this is impossible…. Let’s fucking do it!’”, no one expected a victory or result such as Bin Ali leaving the country in 12 days after Jan2, 2011, when it was started (Norton, Quinn).

Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

SOPA is a proposed bill that claims to promote prosperity, creativity, and entrepreneurship by giving the Attorney General (AG) the authority to combat intellectual property offenses such as copyright infringement, unauthorized sound recording, and unauthorized recording of motion picture. The owners of intellectual property that their property have been used without their authorization, are able to file a complaint to the authorities and prevent services to the sites who are violating the intellectual property rights, and even block the access to these sites (Bill Summary & Status).

PROTECT IP Act (PIPA)

PIPA is another proposed bill that is aimed at preventing threats to economic creativity, and also prevents theft of intellectual property. It authorizes AG to "commence" necessary actions against non-domestic-sites which are violating copy rights and intellectual property right and selling and promoting counterfeit goods and services. Legal actions can be taken against registrant of such a website, and if they are not found, actions can be taken against the domain name itself (Bill Summary & Status).

How do groups of hackers, like Anonymous, relate to movements to protect online privacy?

In response to hacking attacks and cyber espionage threats, Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) was approved in House of Representatives. It's primary purpose is to facilitate and improve information sharing between government and private sectors in order to identify and prevents such attack to occur, and it removes so many barriers to share sensitive information about web users between government and private sector (CISPA cybersecurity bill). There are many civil liberty and internet privacy advocates who believe CISPA violates privacy and liberty laws (The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act). Along with others, Anonymous is one of the groups who protested against CISPA in "online blackout" of 900 websites (as of Monday evening, April 22nd, 2013). Compared to similar protest against SOPA and PIPA that 7,000 websites and giant tech organizations such as Google and Wikipedia were involved in widespread blackout, reactions to CISPA has been less aggressive (Liebelson, Dana).


How do these readings relate to and illuminate the recent events surrounding Edward Snowden?

Following to the previous week discussion about intellectual property and a balance approach to find a compromised solution, proposed by Lawrence Lessing (GOOD COPY BAD COPY), it seems things are going wild and there is no sign of a balance approach in battles between authorities and corporations in one side, and advocates of privacy and other claimed rights in the other side. Some people and groups are so much worry about their privacy that they may do whatever it takes to stop, like the radical action Edward Snowden did recently. With the help of The Guardian journalist, Glen Greenwald, Snowden disclosed some classified information such as:

• Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court secret order to Verizon Communications

• PRISM, surveillance program to access email, web-search and other private user info in real time

• NSA computer hacks in China and Hong Kong since 2009 (Edward Snowden - Wikipedia)

There are different opinions to Snowden's actions. Some like Daniel Ellsberg, "the whistleblower and leaker of the top-secret Pentagon Papers in 1971", thinks that the value of what Snowden has done is "incalculable" and he is a courage patriot and a hero. In contrast, some like John Boehner, House of Representatives Speaker, believes that he is "a 'traitor' who has put Americans at risk" (Edward Snowden - Wikipedia).

From what I learned in different courses and from other sources that I have been reading, I think these kind of conflicts is mostly come from astonishingly fast pace societal, cultural, and technological events under the influence of inevitable and ubiquitous internet, web, and social media. And also the difference in believes and ideas between different generations, such as the difference between baby boomers and millennial or Generation Y.

Works Cited

"Anonymous(Group)-Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2013. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_%28group%29>.

"Bill Summary & Status - 112th Congress (2011 - 2012) - H.R.3261 - All Information - THOMAS (Library of Congress)." THOMAS (Library of Congress). N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2013. <http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:HR03261:@@@L&summ2=m&#majo

"Bill Summary & Status - 112th Congress (2011 - 2012) - S.968 - All Information - THOMAS (Library of Congress)." THOMAS (Library of Congress). N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2013. <http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:SN00968:@@@L&summ2=m&>.

"CISPA cybersecurity bill backers hope second time's a charm - NBC News.com." Breaking News & Top Stories - World News, US & Local | NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2013. <http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/cispa-cybersecurity-bill-backers-hope-second-times-charm-1C9948195>. "Edward Snowden - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 June 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden>.

"GOOD COPY BAD COPY." GOOD COPY BAD COPY. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 June 2013. <http://www.goodcopybadcopy.net/>. "The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act: CISPA explained | The Verge." The Verge. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2013. <http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/27/2976718/cyber-intelligence-sharing-and-protection-act-cispa-hr-3523>.

Liebelson, Dana. "Anonymous and Libertarians Protest CISPA; Tech Giants Don't Give a Damn | Mother Jones." Mother Jones | Smart, Fearless Journalism. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2013. <http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/04/anonymous-organizes-blackout-over-cispa-tech-companies-dont-care>.

Norton, Quinn. "2011: The Year Anonymous Took On Cops, Dictators and Existential Dread | Threat Level | Wired.com." wired.com . N.p., n.d. Web. 27 June 2013. <http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/01/anonymous-dicators-existential-dread/all/1>.