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WorldNetDaily Misses An Opportunity to Gnash Teeth

According to WorldNetDaily, a mother was horrified to learn the PC version of Hasbro’s The Game of Life does not prevent same-sex marriages from occurring. The article is a lot of tripe but it has some absolute gems of over-reaction:

I had no idea how insidious they were being with pushing the homosexual agenda.

First we can make the mature and grown-up computer scientist observation that the original, physical game (… the Hasbro one - not the original ahem game of life) also does not prevent a child from marrying off two boy pegs or two girl pegs to each other but some how because it is possible to prevent such actions in a computer game, there is suddenly an expectation that these restrictions be implemented. No one complained when Mr Milton-Bradley failed to use differently shaped pegs and peg-holes so that little Susie wouldn’t try to marry Patty Peg to Peggy Peg and end up asking her mum awkward questions. (As Mike pointed out to me - this is the 1860s so even if any such attempt had been made, poor Peggy Pegs would probably only fit in the Game of Life kitchen to promote that particular stereotype).

In meatspace, the rules of many games exist only as a tacit agreement between the players …largely because flaunting these rules makes the games less interesting. There is nothing physically preventing a chess player from moving chess pieces however he wants, or a soccer player from just picking up a ball and just running with it, but the result is not as interesting a game (rugby not withstanding) nor is it stable.

In a computer game, there is often a place to stand to implement some controls. Sometimes they are implemented, sometimes they are not. Sometimes they can be easily worked around (Did any other Emacsen ever do (push 18 dun-inventory)?) and sometimes slightly less easily (auto-aim in Doom fr’instance). But invariably there is an expectation that the rules of the game that were a convention in meatspace, be programmatically enforced when the same game is re-interpreted to run on a computer. Given that my regular job is building a system where mutually suspicious programs are able to inter-operate according to the rules of the game, its interesting to note that a feature of programs running on a computer is that they are able to have rules enforced upon them, while a feature of humans interacting in meatspace is that they are able to choose to follow the rules that surround them.

Not only did WorldNetDaily miss opportunities to use its incisive, investigative talent to examine the promotion of more than one queen in a game of chess, or the brokeback number of kings that ends a game of checkers. No …the WDN missed an opportunity that was right under their noses …there is a much more popular computer game, run on many, many more computers in the world, and used up many more computer cycles that also happens to be called the Game of Life. It not only allows a child to have three parents, it uses a programs ability enforce rules to force all children to be the result of a ménage à trois.

And that is an insidious, agenda-pushing conspiracy worthy of an over-reaction.

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