“A Different Kind of Dreamer”

Videogames and the end of sleep

In 2005, following the public outrage over the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the research group Gallup organized a survey to gauge Americans’ attitudes towards the “enhanced interrogation techniques” employed by intelligence services in the War on Terror. When presented with descriptions of such methods, including waterboarding, mock executions, religious violation, and the threat of attack dogs, the overwhelming majority of those polled rejected them as morally impermissible torture. But a single practice, sleep deprivation, was deemed acceptable by half of all respondents on the basis that it doesn’t constitute torture, per se, but “psychological persuasion.”…


The Sims finally loosens up its gender restrictions

Prior to last week, characters in The Sims 4 (2014) were at a bit of a paradox. They could have any skin color the player wanted—including nonexistent ones—move and present themselves in a variety of cartoonish manners, have one of dozens of slightly different styles of eyebrows or chin lengths (yes, chin lengths), and could even have different interests and life goals tailored to the player’s choice. But a man with long hair? That, apparently, was just too much. Of course, it wasn’t that the game didn’t have any options for long hair available. In fact, there were almost as many…


You might be playing god in Crest but most of your people don’t care

“Did god shape mankind, or did mankind shape God?” asks Eat Create Sleep, the developers of Crest, in their Steam description for the game. Crest is a god game with a twist: your followers have free will and don’t always give a shit about what you have to say. Rather than having complete (sometimes maniacal) control over your creations, as is the case in games such as Spore and The Sims, you must instead contend with the individual needs of your people. You can indirectly influence them by issuing commandments, but as humans are a willful lot, they will interpret…