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Unethical games

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Today is game night in Bío Paradís, a cinema specialising in showing alternative movies and a really nice lobby where we play board games every Wednesday (and eat lots of popcorn).

We all bring different games we like. I finally managed to play Tikal, which I had since I was a kid, but for some reason the rules were in Dutch. Thanks to the internet this problem was solved. My flatmate really likes Pandemic and thankfully I do too, otherwise there might be some conflict in our house. Her boyfriend also got a new game for his birthday, called Colonial, which made some of us cringe and others shrug and say: "it is just a game".

In the game one is a "mighty" European power from (roughly) 15th to 19th century, trying to colonialise countries, exploit them for resources (one of which are slaves) and be the most "prestigious" of them all. The subject matter made me think:

When do games about past atrocities become socially acceptable?

If it were some sort of formula it would probably be:

Acceptance = time x current standing of victims

The colonisation period is apparently ok now, there are several "historical" games in the top 200 on board game geek set in this time where one gets to acquire slaves and use them to ones advantage. We also play a card game at game nights called "Guillotine" set in the French revolution where one competes to get to chop the head off the most unpopular noble. Mass execution is a joke if it has happened long enough ago.

Who is the victim?
When the first game about the war of annihilation in the second world war will appear in our western-centric society one will play Japan trying to annihilate China, not Germany - Poland. Another reason why games about the colonisation period and slavery are considered "ok".

My secondary question was : When will it be socially acceptable to make a game about the holocaust?

I googled a bit and found this. A German board game from 1936, where "the objective was to collect as many Jews as you could, and get them off the board".

Racist, but somehow cute

The game was heavily criticized at the time from Jewish societies for obvious reasons, but also in an SS paper because

The game trivialized the anti-Semitic Nazi policies and that the international press would use the game’s existence to make the policies look completely ridiculous.

The game failed, not because of politics though, but because it was really boring. Which is the third variable in the formula:

Acceptance = (time x current standing of victims)^playability

Because if we are having fun, we can justify a lot.


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Today there was no beer drinking
But I got to wash my clothes (fresh underwear, yay!) and Barnaby showed me how to add microformats to this blog. So now my blog is machine readable and at some point I could add webmentions.
I haven't added them to the pe_pplog yet, when I get to the bugs I have to fix, I will do this, for now I'm happy to learn a little bit about how to use microformats and other indieweb tools
Posted on - Categories: Geekery


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Being annoyed with google

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This months my xmpp chat stopped showing or being able to contact my google contacts again. I don't know if this is a google or jappix problem. I suspect google. I tried to log into my old jabber account, and wierdly could not. Then one day at work I looked into my google chat contacts, thinking I might have had a different username than I remembered. I found my old username, unblocked it signed into a xmpp chat and could talk to myself. "Cool", I thought. "I can use this account then". When I got home I could not log into jabber with the same details I had used 2 hours ago.
I went back to my gmail chat and the jabber contact had vanished.

Can anyone tell me of a good xmpp chat service that is not google but can talk to google talk? And people, please please please, don't switch to hangout, this is just google building a walled garden.

Adittionally when I signed into github today I got a warning to change my password (because of the heartbleed bug), yet no such warning when I signed into gmail, even though they are appearantly affected (according to der Spiegel today)
Posted on - Categories: Geekery

The downside of being too geeky

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The world has decided that if I act like a geek, I should look the part as well. Last week I went to a physiotherapist convention and had a hard time with all the power point presentations. I sat in the back for the first two and then got too annoyed with trying too read something out of focus and put myself in the first row. Still squinting, though. I left the convention a bit wiser about how to treat chronic back pain, armed with cold spray and tape (why they were not distributing nice smelling massage oil is beyond me), a slight headache and the realisation that I need glasses.
I had noticed that reading street signs when driving was getting difficult, but I had thought this was due to my inability to do two things at once. Now I noticed more and more how I have problems focusing, so I should get myself to an optician.
I think I will get glasses with a thick black frame and maybe even grow a beard...
Posted on - Categories: Geekery

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