Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Sun, Jan 18 2004

Who's Reporting On The Watchers?

I must be behind the times (again). I'm just now hearing about the hoopla concerning Peter Ludlow, whose Alphaville Herald blog got him into hot water with the folks over at EA Games who gave us The Sims Online. Apparently Peter was reporting (among other things) all the mafia/gambler/pimp/prostitute/scam artist activities by players (including underage activities--I'm still unclear on how much is actual underage players and how much is legal age players creating underage characters/avatars.) A gentleman named Kenneth Lamb thinks Alphaville is another instance of society using toys in ways that reflect their lack of trust (and even acknowledgement) of God, in When God Is Dead.

Regardless of the right and wrong of the roles players choose in such interactive communities, it would seem to me that when the folks who presented the playground in which to play the game decided that Peter Ludlow should not be reporting on the cyber/fictional activities in the Alphaville Herald (or at least should not be linking to that particular blog during active play), something else began to happen that is a theme that has been played out again and again in the history of human nature. It's true that there is no God in Alphaville. But there is an entity, if you will, that considers itself at least a god (with a little 'g'), and that would be the folks who sell, present and "run" the game online.

The issue isn't really Alphaville and its tawdry, seamy cyber-society. The issue is that someone always thinks they can create worlds and kingdoms and empires and businesses that improve on the original world in which we actually live. And when they can't improve on that system of things (even in cyberspace) they get angry and attempt to control things and people with their own set of rules. Not only is Peter Ludlow not "playing by the rules" (to them), but he's playing outside the universe the gamemakers have created. (There are also auctions online trading money and avatars of The Sims Online. Will the gamemakers try to step in and "play god" if the auctions become what seems to them a violation of the TOS (terms of service)? The gamemakers will be a lot more fun to watch than the gameplayers from this point on.

posted at: 14:23 | category: /Playing | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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