The videogame that will have you torturing Iraqi prisoners

Kaveh Waddell over at The Atlantic had the opportunity to interview the Pittsburgh-based designers working on a game that takes place in the infamous prison site of Camp Bucca, known for incubating a group of fighters who would later go on to form ISIS. According to the five designers (who remain anonymous because of the controversial nature of the game), the goal while designing this game is to give players the uncomfortable and up close experience of what occurred at the site. The game doesn’t appear to have an official title, but is referred to many times as simply Camp…

“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.”…


We should be talking about torture in VR

This is a preview of an article you can read on our new website dedicated to virtual reality, Versions. /// It seemed like magic. By hacking together a pair of VR headsets, a group of artists and DIY neuroscientists discovered that they could create empathy between two strangers. Men could empathize with women. The old could understand the young. White people could hold up their hands and see black skin. Not only was VR slick, shiny new technology, but it had a wonderful potential for helping people learn compassion. VR was hailed as a savior, and the praise was piled…


Dämmerung muses on the rationale of government torture practices

You may remember that the US Senate intelligence committee released a report on secret CIA torture practices last year. It spanned hundreds of pages and concerned the seven years after the 9/11 terror attacks. The felling of the World Trade Center, and the Bush-era invasion of Iraq, was presumably used as justification for the CIA subjecting people to sleep deprivation for up to 180 hours, rectal feeding, and standing on broken limbs for hours at a time. Prepare to be made uncomfortable.  These inhumane practices were carried out in the hope that the captives would divulge intelligence they were believed to…