Critical Art Ensemble. “Nomadic Power and Cultural Resistance.” The New Media Reader. By Nick Montfort and Noah Wardrip-Fruin. Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.: MIT, 2003. 783-90. Print.
Morningstar, Chip, and F. Randall Farmer. “The Lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitat.” The New Media Reader. By Nick Montfort and Noah Wardrip-Fruin. Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.: MIT, 2003. 664-76. Print.
“Nomadic Power and Cultural Resistance” reminded me of some of the recent victories the population of the internet has scored in recent months, particularly some of the battle against SOPA and PIPA in defending the freedom of the internet. The fastest way to accomplish a goal these days is to make it viral, which effectively rallies your own personal internet army for your cause. For instance, I worked in PETA’s online marketing and social media department when Twitter came into fame, and I helped run a Twitter campaign that rallied animal-lovers all across the internet to ask Zappos.com to stop selling fur. The venture was ultimately successful, and the victory was one of the first online activism campaigns to be completely conducted via Twitter. The sudden gathering of an internet army was what this chapter described, assembling nomadic groups and individuals from across the internet for a common goal.
Habitat was a forerunner to modern MMORPGs, which are obviously pretty popular. World of Warcraft has over 10 million subscribers, which is roughly equal to the populations of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Tunisia, Belgium, and Belarus (separately, not total). The article mentions some of the shock the public expressed over the violence portrayed in the game, which is pretty amusing considering today’s standards in video games. Players were able to steal from and kill other avatars within the game, which opened up the opportunity for in-game crimes. Though avatars were immediately regenerated (albeit penniless and carrying their heads in their hands), being murdered was a minor obstacle in daily online life. There were some who fought on the side of allowing the crime to continue, and there were some who argued against it. Considering the current atmosphere of gaming (see Grand Theft Auto), I’d say the advocates of keeping crime around won.