Tyler DeFrain

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Wiki Article #1

History of SimCity (1989 video game)

According to the “SimCity (1989 video game)” Wikipedia page, Simcity was developed by game designer, Will Wright. It was released on February 2, 1989. The game came from a feature of the game "Raid on Bungeling Bay," in which Wright was able to make his own maps. Wright enjoyed making the maps more than he enjoyed playing the game and that is how SimCity came about. SimCity also incorporated Wright’s interests in urban planning into a simulation game. Essentially, the goal of the game is to develop run a city as best as you can, given various scenarios that could be faced. What you do and how well you perform your tasks determine how well you will do in the game. SimCity was successful, as it had sold over one million copies by the end of 1992. It won many awards, was acknowledged for strategy used in the game, and used to teach urban planning. Many Sims simulation games were developed later on.

Summary of "Simulating Detroit, A City with Cars and Crime but No Races"

The article goes into the different types of cities you can work with and the problems that you will face while playing SimCity. It concludes that Detroit 1972 is the most realistic and relevant situation to the current time a player would face while playing this game in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s. The goal of the player while playing in Detroit is to, “rebuild the industrial base of the city.” Which is similar to what was happening in Detroit at the time as the economy was plummeting due to the auto-industry outsourcing to foreign countries. However, in real life, race relations were a huge part of what was happening in Detroit -They led to riots and looting. In the game, mismanagement of your city doesn’t lead to strained race relations as it did in real life, it only would lead to crime. The simulation of Detroit that leaves out race relations misses a huge part of the story of Detroit. It doesn’t capture what actually happened or the complexity of the struggles that Detroit actually faced. According to the article, the crime you see in the game is not committed by people only by algorithms that are missing any feeling of race or class tensions that have been at the base of many of these American civil disturbances. The colorblind gaming experience takes away from the historical context and the real life lessons learned from race and class relations in Detroit. It is important for us not to lose sight of what actually happened in dumbed down less complex simulation games. The last line of the article sums it up, “just because the game appears to be colorblind doesn’t mean we have to be.”

Social, Cultural, and Political Importance of SimCity

The author, Mark Sample, chooses to demonstrate the importance of race and class relations by comparing it to the automobile industry. Which has been the heart of Detroit and their economy. He acknowledges how the game leaves the automobile industry and the crime in the game but race relations are nowhere to be found. Everything that has happened to Detroit is what has made it the city that it has become. That includes the race relations. The cultural, political, and social importance of Detroit’s was of life and the way it operates is lost and inaccurate without race and class relations in the picture. It takes away from what Detroit has been through and what it really is. Comparing race relations to the automobile industry, which is what Detroit is primarily known for, gives insight into how important Sample feels race relations are to the make-up and understanding of Detroit, especially when coupled with urban planning strategies.

SimCity Debate

In the comments section of this article, there were some good points that were brought up. Turning complex situations such as race relations into crime seems to be a go to type of scenario for various simulation based games. Many simulation-based games do not grasp the actual complex matters of such things in society. An interesting question that was brought up would be what if somebody were to play this game in isolation from or in complete ignorance of the location? The point was made that many designers assume the players have some working knowledge of the cities and can fill in the blanks. It was also brought up that introducing such complex situations into simulation type games could produce frustration or an overwhelming feeling for the player. Not to mention that adding race relations to a video game and assigning certain actions based on color of skin could bring up many other problems as well. Which is where I stand. I do acknowledge the importance of race and class relations and how they pertain to Detroit however, I feel that putting that into the video game for the sake of realism is dangerous as it could paint one race or another in a certain way. I feel that the people that would be playing this game would understand the overall story of Detroit and the problems it has faced even without the complex race relations added into the game.

Works Cited

  • Sample, Mark. "Simulating Detroit, A City with Cars and Crime but No Races." Play The Past Rss. n.p., 14 Feb 2012. Web. 12 June 2015.
  • "SimCity (1989 video game)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 12 June 2015.

Wiki Assignment #2

SOPA, PIPA, and Anonymous

According to the article by Jason Harvey, “A technical examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP” SOPA stands for the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP or PIPA Stands for the Protection of Intellectual Property Act. Both of these acts were pieces of legislation that were introduced to stop piracy and the taking of intellectual property. Both of these pieces of legislation were criticized for their vague language and definitions that could be interpreted broadly. According to the article it was also argued that these pieces of legislation would slow down and inhibit tech start-ups and new companies because of how much harder it would be to create new sites and how much restraints it would place on the “open” Internet. According to the article these pieces of legislation would do three things: They would not stop the piracy that they are targeting, the broad language would allow for abuse by those in power or in control of it, and these pieces of legislation would regulate and enforce and censorship on the internet, which many people feel should be an open place for thoughts and Ideas.

Anonymous, is what many people would call a hacktivist group. According to their Wikipedia page they are an “internet gathering that focuses on ideas rather than directives.” Anonymous has launched distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on different groups that they have had a problem with which includes government, religious and corporate websites.

Anonymous and Movements to Protect Online Privacy

Groups like Anonymous and other hacktivist type groups are very invested in the Internet. This is a place where they come and express thoughts and ideas. The Internet is a place that allows an open flow of information and communication between people. It also allows people to give input or information and for others to add to it. It is essentially an information superhighway of information that is constantly being updated and changed as well as being added to. However, sometimes there are certain pieces of legislation or groups that try to censor or restrict the flow of information and Anonymous does not take lightly to it. In the article by Quinn Norton, “2011: The Year Anonymous Took on Cops, Dictators, and Existential Dread” When the Tunisian government was restricting the internet Anonymous took action and launched DDoS attacks on government websites while exposing information on what was happening in Tunisia. They passed on information to the Tunisian people as well and gave them technological tools to help with their uprising. They also acted in Egypt. When these operations had been successful they became known as freedom ops. Anonymous also went on to attack the Church of Scientology, HBGary, and Sony, many of which were for the restriction of the flow of ideas or uses of the internet. Anonymous then went on to support Occupy Wall Street. I feel that it wasn’t even the reasons for the Occupy movement that drew in Anonymous but the flow of information that was communicated to masses of people though the Internet. I feel at the core of it all that is Anonymous’ stake. They support the movement of information and ideas through an open Internet and take charge using the power of an open Internet to prevent movements to protect online privacy. Essentially they want and take action in favor of a transparent internet where ideas and information flow.

Edward Snowden and the Readings

The readings illuminate the events surrounding Edward Snowden because essentially the government wants to pick and choose what the Internet can and cant be used for. They may limit or control to an extent what we are seeing and the rate at which we see that. All the while, they are able to monitor us, and what we see. They also make inferences about people based on what they are consuming. The thing is that they just do it, without even letting you know. Edward Snowden essentially revealed records and information of investigative practices and espionage techniques and capabilities that the U.S. government uses against its own citizens as well as other nations abroad. They are claiming that they have the right to use a transparent and open internet with free flowing information while its citizens and other are forced to deal with the constraints they may place on it. Though there may have been a cost to the U.S., Edward Snowden made it transparent, he allowed other people to see what how exactly the Internet was being used and how rights may have been infringed upon.

Works Cited

  • "Anonymous (group)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. n.d. Web. 2 July 2015.
  • Harvey, Jason. "A technical examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP." Blog.Reddit. n.p. 17 January 2012. Web. 2 July 2015.
  • Norton, Quinn."2011: The Year Anonymous Took On Cops, Dictators, and Existential Dread." Wired. n.p. 11 January 2012. Web. 2 July 2015.