Spider-Man: State Actor, Palantir Contractor

Sony's New Game Turns Spider-Man Into A Cop And It's No Fun

So far the primary objective boils down to Help The Cops. Not just any cops, either, but the NYPD specifically, because the game takes place in a true-to-life rendering of New York City. It's dumb to expect video games to be responsible reflections of real life, but it is also impossible, for me at least, to not feel some ickiness about the game forcing me into cahoots with even a fictionalized version of the NYPD, an organization that routinely oppresses some of the most vulnerable residents of the city I live in.

I'm not grasping for as many straws as it may appear. Spider-Man doesn't just help the cops by catching armed robbers and putting deranged super villains in jail, he helps them maintain a high-tech, citywide surveillance network. [...] But it isn't strictly a game mechanic, it's also a narrative choice, and one that comes with some pretty obvious real-life parallels. The NYPD buying cutting edge equipment and software from a shady tech company owned by a billionaire with, uh, maniacal tendencies so that it can monitor and collect data on citizens is a dystopian yet sensible video game plot point. It's also literally something that happened in the real New York City. [...]

Again, this is how the first few hours of the game works, and maybe there is a forthcoming plot twist in which Spider-Man realizes that he no longer wants to be an agent of the state. All I know is that it kind of sucks to play a game in which Spider-Man, in the process of beating up some drug dealers, taunts them by yelling, "If you just got real jobs you wouldn't have to work so hard at being criminals!"

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The recursive centaur: half horse, half recursive centaur.

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Can you rate sextortionists on Yelp?

Violet's asking the important questions:

So, anyone else been following the low-key coverage on a wave of "sextortion" emails that hit the public a couple months back? I've been following these with a bit more interest than usual ... because I received one when they first went out.

And I loved it! I rate the extortionist 10/10, would be extorted by them again. The first thing I enjoyed about the extortion email was that they opened with "my" password ... which really was my password! Man, the memories it brought back. You know how passwords are like personal ice-core samples, going back through time? I mean before we all got password managers and made passwords we can't remember. Admit it: You look at old passwords and remember where you lived and what music you listened to and all those things that make you feel old now. Our old passwords carbon-date us.

Anyway, the sextortionist opened with a password that must've come from the 2001 Second Life hack and dump of Ye Olde Internet Days. I was hooked by their style! Then the sextortionist tried to shame me for masturbating to pornography on a computer and I was absolutely delighted. I mean, it's been so long since anyone tried to shame me for porn. I immediately wanted to email them back and ask which videos I watched! It never hurts to go retro, mix it up a little. I hoped it was something cool with my friends in it. What a bonus to introduce my sextortionist to some quality ethical feminist porn.

So, my extortionist said they'd taken dirty videos of me through my camera -- they weren't precise about which camera. I assumed it was the one on my laptop, which I always keep covered with a sticker. The extortionist said that if I didn't pay them in the coin of the realm, they would upload videos of me they recorded to some websites. That was when I knew I had to email them back. Which sites were they thinking of using? I have a few opinions on this. Also, I was going to have to let the sextortionists know that this might be a problem for them, considering the trademark on my name and all.

I got distracted by internet porn and never emailed them back.

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