In response to "War and Peace" from The Escapist Forum: I believe that anybody has the right to use whatever platform they most desire to exercise their freedom of speech and their right to protest.
I admire those who seek to use video games for things the developers never imagined, such as platforms for expression and protest.
It is true that video games (all media, really) sanitize and romanticize warfare.
With that being said, if I get into a game of Unreal Tournament 3 or Halo 3 and somebody is engaging in a peace rally, one of two things will happen: if you are my opponent, you will be marked as an easy kill and you will cost your team a good deal of points; if you are my teammate, you will get a polite yet stern earful about how this is a game, and there is an objective to be met, and if you do not want to work towards that objective then you need to leave.
Sandbox games as protest? Brilliant. Criticizing a game for making war look pretty when war, is indeed, Hell? Perfect. Injecting protests in such a manner that it directly (and negatively) impacts somebody's game play experience? That's disrespectful.
Of course, there are ways to criticize said protests and there are ways to just look like a fool. Telling somebody to "go play with their Barbie" is the latter.
Make a video game that shows war in its true, brutal form. Now that is a form of protest that lacks condescension and moves the industry forward all at the same time.
The problem is that such an opt-in method of delivering your message is fundamentally democratic, while protesting is fundamentally undemocratic; it's about giving disportionate focus to a particular view in a way that's hard to disregard. The protestor's mindset is that loud, annoying public demonstrations get their message out better than simply putting it somewhere people might pick it up and read it of their own accord.
Plus, such games seldom work because, particular with FPS games, the actual way the game functions runs counter to the message you're trying to deliver. Neither Haze or Blacksite could hide their derision for their own subject matter, and being asked to play through a game that's constantly bitching at you for enjoying it and refusing to show any positive side to anything you do is stupid; the game just becomes a chore, only it's an amazingly emo chore that keeps telling you that you shouldn't be doing it.
A game that proclaims it shows the realities of war still needs to show courage, duty, heroism and sacrifice if it wants to be anything but the opposite kind of one-sided. CoD: World at War is fairly good in that respect, not hiding the vicious, even monstrous acts that occur during the campaign, but also showing loyalty between soldiers, officers who want to get their men home, and so on. The logic that a game where you can die already really needs a list of real-life deaths to 'give perspective' or whatever, on the other hand, is just going to make tedious games that whine at the player for doing the things they have to do to finish the levels.
- Evil Tim
In response to "A Folk Hero for the Online Age" from The Escapist Forum: If Jesse James and Bonnie & Clyde hold as examples, griefers will all die in a hail of gunfire.
Anyway, let me tell you about how successful griefers are in making a stamp on history: you didn't name a single specific griefer in an article specifically about how they might be individually remembered. Not one. You mentioned games - EVE, Second Life, WoW - and the odd co-opted event - the Zombie Outbreak - but didn't name a single specific griefer. They've certainly existed, but the fact that none were named speaks volumes for the griefer's place in history.
I will admit, there are some times when Griefing can not only be funny, but not actually harm people's enjoyment of the game. I'm sure most people here have seen Team Roomba's TF3 Griefing videos. And if you have, you'll remember the trivia contest thing one guy did, when he glitched the door jammed and wouldn't let his team out until they answered his trivia questions. At first, I thought that was incredibly annoying. Then I thought about it, and I realized I would love for something like that to happen to me when I'm playing. Just to throw me for a loop, change my game experience a bit.
On the other hand, the common griefer is just annoying, for the most part. Wall glitching, shooting through the floor, that kind of thing, they all are just exploiting broken parts of the game that, while they may seem cool to the people actually doing the griefing, ruin the experience for the people who are trying to play the game seriously. I for one am not a fan of spawning to find that someone has glitched their way into the spawn point just to shoot me over and over again before I can even play. I can no longer play Counter Strike because of how many people know all the glitches and stuff. There's no way for me to win anymore.