Tag Archives | Video Games

NSA And CIA Infiltrated World Of Warcraft And Second Life To Spy On Gamers

gamesIs that elf watching you? ProPublica reports on fascinating classified documents unearthed from Edward Snowden’s trove revealing that NSA and CIA spies have placed numerous avatars in popular virtual realms:

Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.

Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.

The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players.

But for all their enthusiasm — so many CIA, FBI and Pentagon spies were hunting around in Second Life, the document noted, that a “deconfliction” group was needed to avoid collisions — the intelligence agencies may have inflated the threat.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Timothy Leary’s MIND MIRROR Computer Game

Can you handle performing a mind-scope of your subconscious? Create a mind map of your bio-energy? Become part of the first generation in know how to control your own nervous system? Just pop in the floppy disc:
Timothy Leary designed MIND MIRROR for Electronic Arts in 1985. MIND MIRROR empowers users with psychometric routines of the type Dr. Leary pioneered earlier in his career in a funny and insightful role-playing game. MIND MIRROR is both a game and a self-coaching tool. Play as yourself, someone else, an object, or even an idea to gain the clarity of MIND MIRROR.
Continue Reading

Neil Gaiman’s ‘Wayward Manor’ Video Game

Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 11.08.55 AMNeil Gaiman, everyone’s favorite comics author, once again pushes into other media territories with his first video game, “Wayward Manor,” reports Mashable:

Horror-fantasy icon and best-selling author Neil Gaiman is stepping into a new world: a virtual one. The British-born writer has announced the launch of his first video game, Wayward Manor.

Inspired by Gaiman’s love of both supernatural and slapstick genres, the game follows the misadventures of a ghost who wants nothing more than a peaceful afterlife, and to kick out the motley crew living in the house he once called home. A gothic New England estate is the setting, with the storyline running from the 1920s all the way to the not-too-distant future. As the ghost tries harder and harder to get rid of the squatters, he also unravels the mystery of his own death and the after-life.

“It’s light hearted, its goofy, it’s nice to flip points of view,” says Gaiman, who was tight-lipped with details, but did tell Mashable that films like Arsenic and Old Lace, The Man Who Came To Dinner, and living in New England inspired him.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Room …Just a Game?

the roomFrom the moment you enter The Room you’re hypnotized by the allure, the magick, the mystery… in a darkened room where faint amber light slips through a tiny window and a small lamp illuminates the only real object of interest. To rend the veil that would reveal the wisdom you seek, there is only one way to proceed, you must go within.

“The Room” (iOS, Android and Kindle) is a breakthrough hit for the Guildford UK based developer Fireproof Games. It has received a ton of press, praise from fans, and recently decorated with Bafta and Game Developer’s Choice Awards along with Apple naming The Room iPad Game of the Year 2012. Not so shabby for a studio’s first release.

The story is a wild ride of esoteric stratagem with sur-real life correspondences. It’s the kind of dynamic and illusive experience you’d expect from a blockbuster in another medium such as The Game of Thrones or your favorite Dan Brown novel for example, but with a further twist of the rope for the Player.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Apple Blocks Sweatshop-Themed Satirical Games From App Store

Corporate gatekeepers say that provocative ideas don’t belong in video games. Via Pocket Gamer:

According to UK developer Littleloud, Sweatshop HD is an iPad game that “challenged people to think about the origin of the clothes we buy”. But it has now been removed from Apple’s online marketplace because the App Store was “uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop”.

Sweatshop HD wasn’t the first game of its kind to be removed by Apple, either. In Phone Story, Molleindustria depicted the seedy side of smartphone manufacturing, including sweatshop suicides and the harvesting of rare minerals in the war-torn Congo. Apple pulled the game, saying it violated App Store clause 16.1 – “Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected.”

There’s also In a Permanent Save State, an artistic game centered on “the spiritual afterlife” of overworked electronics labourers who had committed suicide.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Pixelated Misogyny

Last May, Anita Sarkeesian–founder of Feminist Frequency–launched a Kickstarter for a video series about "stereotypes of female characters" in video games. The description begins, "I love playing video games but I’m regularly disappointed in the limited and limiting ways women are represented. " With an initial goal of $6,000, it ultimately raised $158,922 from 6,967 backers. While this outcome speaks to the level of interest, Sarkeesian has written about receiving a "torrent of misogyny and hate speech" and "intimidation and harassment" from the gaming community.
Continue Reading

Rioting Video Game Allows You To Fight The Police

Atlantic Cities describes the 8-bit-style smartphone game RIOT, a thought-provoking attempt to capture the liminal state which occurs during uprisings when order breaks down. I'd rather have my kids playing this than a game which makes them Navy SEALs:
"Riot" is a developing project in Italy that's led by film-and-game director Leonard Menchiari, who previously did cinematography for "Half-Life" creator Valve Corporation. The atmospheric little simulator of bedlam, which runs on iOS or Android phones, is inspired by real-life political turmoil from around the globe. There's a hefty element of strategy involved, with the player taking on either the role of the agitators or the truncheoned legions of police trying to maintain order. The developers have received modest funding so far on their Indiegogo page. If they collect enough cash, they hope to enrich the simulator by traveling to the sites of recent uprisings in Greece, Egypt and Italy to interview people involved in the conflicts.
Continue Reading

Connecticut Town To Hold Mass Burning Of Violent Video Games, Films, And Music

Connecticut makes progress in the war on fictional violence. The Guardian reports:

A Connecticut community is to hold an amnesty of violent video games in the wake of last month’s mass shooting in Newtown. Organizers Southington SOS plan to offer gift certificates in exchange for donated games, which will be burned. The group, a coalition of local organisations, argues that violent games and films desensitize children to “acts of violence”.

The video game amnesty will take place on 12 January in Southington, a 30-minute drive east from Newtown. The town of Southington has provided a dumpster, organisers said, where violent video games, CDs or DVDs will be collected.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

LSD Dream Emulator: The Japanese Mind-Simulation Video Game

The best late-night console game of all time? Lovely Sweet Dream (LSD) Dream Emulator was released in Japan in 1998 by Playstation. There is no way to win or lose, and no defined tasks  -- except to explore one's subconscious, set to a trip-hop-jazz soundtrack:
There are many strange environments in this world, and one way to travel through them is by foot. Bumping into people, animals, or special objects usually results in a stranger dream. The number of "days" are kept track of. As the player progresses, the pattern on walls and the form of the player may transmute. Occasionally the player may come across a man in a gray trench coat, commonly referred to as the "Gray Man" or the "Shadow Man". He walks in one direction only. Getting too close to him will make the screen flash, the man will disappear.
Continue Reading