The Nature of the Beast

That is, what to expect if you invite the internet to play your game of hide and seek.

A 1-18-08 fan that goes by the pseudonym Helo is disgusted and upset by, get this, other 1-18-08 fans. Specifically, fans who think there's nothing wrong with "hacking" the game sites (that can be hacked). Of course, hacking is a very broad term. The incident at hand, the "hack" in question, was the random discovery of the password for Jamie's Photobucket account. The method of discovery, manual trial and error. Hardly high-tech, and hardly what people envision when they think of hackers. It's also not the first time a password has been unearthed. Recall requires a password, yet a month and two videos accessible only by password, and not a single objection. So what makes Jamie's Photobucket different? Probably the fact that once the password was known, the site became corrupt (i.e. anyone with the password could upload photos to it). Unfortunately for some, it was a while after they'd broken into the account before someone made a point of casting doubt on its contents.

Here's pseudonym Helo's rant.

First, Halo resents the people who are playing the game better, more intently, than himself. I've seen many posts asking newcomers to please search the forum before posting their pet theory. A perfectly reasonable request, one would think, but Halo is clearly bothered that it's considered bad etiquette to arbitrarily spout your latest brainchild without first checking to see whether it's original or not. The attitude is akin to someone joining a baseball team but only wanting to play when it's their turn at bat. What's worse, no one is telling him he can't swing away. Rather, if that's what gets his rocks off, just please do it somewhere other than in the middle of the field where the team players have set up shop.

Next, Halo discovered the existence of nutjobs on the internet. Stop the presses people! There are crazies with computers! But wait. What's this? He doesn't actually point to or quote actual nutjobs. Instead, he apes these purported "conspiracy wackos." He even goes so far as to "quote" his imitation of them. This seems very strange to me. If you're going to make an example of "the tin foil maniacs", why fabricate evidence? Perhaps, and I'm reaching here, Halo found the actual text of those "conspiracy nuts" indistinguishable from his own?

Finally, Halo gets to the hackers. Again, he seems a little confused, but happily so. Without skipping a beat he conflates a player guessing the password to an ingame photobucket account with malicious identity theft, havoc, the malevolent destruction of electronic gear and even the end of fun itself, online. Halo then lectures us on the legal ramifications of guessing the password of an ingame photobucket account for a fictional character in a movie. Apparently we're all going to jail for a very long time. I'm guessing it's not Halo Esq.

Lastly, Halo drops the bombshell. Apparently, this 1-18-08 game is nothing but a clever marketing ploy! Who knew!?! But Halo is out. Why? Not because it just dawned on him that it's about marketing a movie. No, because in all the World Wide Web, Halo wants to play at Unfiction and Unfiction only. But the rules the kids at Unfiction play by, such as Try to pull your head out of your ass before posting are just too onerous for Halo, and the rules they don't play by, such as No good guesses are ones Halo finds utterly unconscionable.

The one perspective that counts is that of the game designers. By putting yourself in their shoes you quickly come to terms with the fact that out of bounds when the playing field is the internet is defined as that which is beyond human ingenuity. That means you have to assume that there will be players who know how to use Google, who know how to translate Japanese, who know a thing or two about software development and who have both the time and inclination to type password after password in the hopes they'll get lucky. The list goes on of course, but the blame, if there's any to be had, for a game going off the tracks rests squarely on the shoulders of its designers. To argue otherwise is to argue that the players need to be psychics in knowing what the designers failed to guard against or account for, and that the players need to throw the game the way a parent might let a child win a round of tic-tac-toe. Last I checked, that's not really playing.

Tags: , ,