Tobold's Blog
Thursday, October 25, 2007
CSI:NY does Second Life

Anyone seen yesterday's episode of CSI: New York, in which Mac Taylor hunts a killer in Second Life? Not living in the USA I won't be able to see it before the episode comes out on DVD. But I read about it in the New York Times.

From the description at least it is a good thing for Linden Labs, because fans of the TV series CSI:NY will be invited to play CSI-related games inside Second Life, which should attract a good number of new potential customers. But I'm not sure whether I like the idea of video game players once again being depicted as obsessed murderers. There was a CSI:Miami episode showing students killing people in a live replay of a video game which didn't exactly paint gamers in a positive (or even realistic) way.

I really liked the South Park episode Make Love Not Warcraft, because it was very evident that the people who made that episode did really understand World of Warcraft. They took some artistic license, of course. But the "evil" guy wasn't killing people in real life, he only killed them in game, and he was overly powerful because he didn't have a real life, and was playing all day. While the events of the South Park episode couldn't happen exactly like this in WoW, the core problems of PvP griefing and in-game power depending on playing long hours really exist. The message of "to become the most powerful guy in WoW you need to have no real life" is sad, but true. I'd much rather see that sort of a story than another "video gamers are killers in real life" story. I'm afraid CSI:NY won't help to make people understand virtual worlds better.
Well I always hope when something like that is broadcasted/printed or otherwise published that people have enough intelligence to figure out that things like that is not really representative of the population, in this case gamers.
Magrothj, that's a very positive way of looking at the situation, but I think you're giving the average TV viewer too much credit. Unfortunately the average person believes practically everything they see on TV, and while they may understand that Law & Order and SVU are just television shows with actors, they tend to follow the belief that "they" couldn't show it on TV if it wasn't true. So when games and gamers are portrayed in a negative light, these same viewers nod to themselves and say "Lazy arse, no good gamers. Sitting around all evening, doing nothing but staring at a computer screen. They should get outside and get some exercise. Honey?! I'm outta Pork Rinds! And get me another beer while you're at it!"

What I'm curious about is how Vivendi, Blizzard & others could allow their products to be painted in such a harsh light without bringing charges of Slander and/or Libel against the television stations.
Please can we stop calling SL a game already... It's a glorified chat room at best.

Also, I thought the whole "SL is this massive hit" thing in the media was dying out. 10 million players, but only 40,000 at best online at a time... hmmm. Considering EVE has some 175,000 subs, and average 25-30k online, do the math...
heh, i work as a graphic designer, my employeer asks me to do things to photos that they magically do on those crime shows all the time. so yeh, i'm sure the average viewer is not aware that online games do not have to be evil.
I saw bits of this CSI: New York episode during commercials for another show I was actively watching. I did not like what I saw because it appeared to be misleading the public about what was possible to do through Second Life or even most other online games.

At one point I think they were saying they were getting infected by a virus because the avatar picked up an item another character dropped.

At another point they were trying to stay close to another person’s avatar so they could trace the IP address of that avatar. I don’t know for sure about Second Life but server based games you won’t be able to get the IP address of another person through in game actions. All communications come from the developers servers and they don’t send out the IP addresses to other players. If some kind of client to client communication is part of the game then staying close to the avatar would not be needed. Once the IP address is obtained as long as the other party does not disconnect from the internet then any IP tracing will work no matter the avatar location.

I know CSI tend to embellish the science possible but I don’t like them causing people to think harmful things like this can happen from playing legitimate business’s games.
My girlfriends mother is obsessed with all the crime drama type shows, and after suffering through several eps, I've come to the conclusion that CSI: whatever depicts NOTHING in a true to life manner. It's all based off of middle aged (or significantly older as my GFs mother is pushin 60) housewives fears and misunderstandings of real situations, and in no way should ever be used as an indicator of any real (or virtual) situation. That said I think they sadly ARE used as some window on the "real" world. I believe this to be partly to blame for the wide range of misconceptions held by a far to vast contingent of television viewers. Moral of the story? don't watch prime time TV, it will make you retarded.
It's shows like these that are to blame for the public opinion that we game players suffer from. As we live in a sensation-hungry world, TV stations and the written press need to make their shows and headlines as provocative as possible in order to attract an audience. There are some very simple rules to observe when making such headlines: first, go with popular belief! the people feel secure when they have their fears and prejudices confirmed. Second, only hit minorities that don't have a lobby! you can't critisize ethnic minorities, or you're a racist. Now gamers neither have a lobby, nor are they tied to one particular nation, so they are a good target!
And we can be made responsible for virtually everything because games are so wide-spread! Be it some kids that don't get along in life and grab some arms to pay a final visit to thir school, or some massmurderer, even right-wing extremists, they all play these dirty video games where they blow stuff up and kill people all day long. I bet even Mr Bin Laden has 'FreeCell' on his computer!!
To make a long rant short, I think it's about time we gamers get the representation in the media we deserve: people who are interested in an interactive art form that can be both entertaining and instructive!
Gamers don't have a life, unlike people who watch TV 18 hours a day.
Some freinds of mine are obsessed with football, and spend all their free time involved with watching/travelling to games/discussing it. As far as I am concerned, they have no life either.

Again the media puts Second Life into the spotlight. Why are they so obsessed with it?

Something on TV is *NOT* accurate or true?

It's slanted?

I... can't...
believe... it...
Sorry to burst your bubble, Doeg.

I guess you should have taken the Blue Pill ;)
It's not so much that the portrayal isn't accurate, it's that it is perceived by many as such.
On the US episode of The Office this week, they also had some Second Life in it. Dwight made a Second Life inside Second Life ha.
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