In part 1, I talked about the history of video games. In part 2, I talked about how GTA 3 differed from earlier games. Now I’ve finally reached the payoff: discussion of criticisms of GTA. Getting off on a technicality Let me first return to the media controversy of GTA, and start off by talking about prostitutes and murder. You’ve probably heard the horror soundbite: GTA encourages players to have sex with prostitutes and then kill them.
Washington Post : Victoria Switzer, a retired social studies teacher, was on phone-bank duty one night during the Pennsylvania primary campaign. One night was all she could take: “It wasn’t pretty.” She made 60 calls to prospective voters in Susquehanna County, her home county, which is 98 percent white. The responses were dispiriting. One caller, Switzer remembers, said he couldn’t possibly vote for Obama and concluded: “Hang that darky from a tree!
New York Times: “You can hear voices, you can operate under intermittent delusions, you can see rabbits in the road that aren’t there and still be legally sane [by New York standards].”
Last year: Investigators handed 26 items, including clothes, phones and cameras, to transit workers, “explaining that they had found the lost articles on a train or bus.” But, the report states, “Three months or more after these items were placed in the system, we recovered only three from the Lost Property Unit at 34th Street. The whereabouts of the other 23 articles is unknown.” Last year: The report said that the transit agency’s lost property unit received more than 8,000 items each year and that only about 18 percent wound up back in the hands of their owners.
I suppose it was only a matter of time before the best-selling Christian porn Left Behind got turned into a video game. Soon, Left Behind: Eternal Forces will let you play the part of a heavily armed born again Christian. Your mission, to wage armed battle in the streets of New York, wipe out the unbelievers and other forces of the antichrist, and save America.
The Palisades conference center is probably a nice place most of the year. The same is true of the nearby Hilton. Unfortunately, it was February, and cold. Even in the building, it was somewhat cold–when we walked past a fireplace in the conference center on our way back from lunch, the Austin folks all immediately walked over to it and stood there trying to warm up. The rest of the team, from places like New York and Indiana, looked at us with mild amusement.
I’ve been away in New York this week, at the IBM Palisades Executive Conference Center. Four days of team meetings with my immediate project team. Four of us are located in Austin, but senior management were in New York, so everyone traveled to New York via New Jersey. Traveling from Newark airport to Palisades isn’t exactly difficult, but it’s surprisingly easy to end up in Manhattan accidentally. There are two main traps I’ll need to remember if I go there again.
A&E is showing a reality TV series about one of the Austin roller derby teams, the Texas Rollergirls. Reviews from the New York based media seem to have missed something. AP writes: This new generation of roller derby queens skates that thin line between blue collar and white trash, balancing nights of tequila shots with days of their real-life careers as nurses, teachers and rubber-lingerie designers. […] Despite their penchant for fishnet uniforms and rump-shaking celebrations, they bristle (in episode two) at the suggestion that roller girls are easy.
I’ve beem thinking about how one can actually spot shady businesses. It’s not as easy as it initially seems—there are plenty of dodgy retailers that manage to look totally legitimate, and there are plenty of good companies that you might assume to be crooks because (for instance) they don’t list any kind of address online. For example, if you’ve ever shopped online for camera equipment, or browsed the ads in magazines, you’ve probably seen lots of stores in New York selling photo equipment at way below MSRP.
In April 2004, a Communist Party official told Chinese journalist Shi Tao how to report the upcoming 15th anniversary of the Tienanmen Square massacre. Shi Tao took notes at the meeting, wrote up what he had been told to write, and e-mailed a copy to a pro-democracy web site in New York. Unfortunately, Shi Tao used Yahoo web mail to send his e-mail. When the Chinese government approached Yahoo and asked them to reveal the personal information of the person who had signed up for the account, they gladly did so.