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Role Playing (Games) Your Rights Online

Online Game Event Sparks Player Riot 758

Posted by Zonk
from the teppy-whatchoo-doin? dept.
Grimwell Online is carrying a story entitled When does an Online Game go too far?. It details a post to a news group about a world event in the newly released A Tale in the Desert 2. The online game, which simulates an ancient Egyptian culture, was full of angry players after a developer-run event used openly discriminatory language against the female gender. Details on the event can be found at the ATITD2 Wiki, and commentary can be found on TerraNova.
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Online Game Event Sparks Player Riot

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:26PM (#10602935)
    ATITD itself doesn't have a whole lot of options for player conflict. It's primarily a non-combative nation-building game.

    Essentially what happened was this guy was a trader, and his presence in an area was announced over the global channel. Thus, people came and lined up in the dozens/hundredish to see him.

    Eventually one of the women stepped up to her place in line, the guy asked her 'Who is your master, woman?', and from there the righteous indignation began.

    Players littered the area by dropping piles of sand and mud, filled the NPC's inventory (thus preventing him from moving) by giving him tons of sand, lit bonfires, spammed the chat channel constantly, etc. Eventually the NPC was forced to withdraw.

    The ultimate motivation, as it has been said, was to pose a moral challenge to the players of the game. Do they trade with the nasty sexist NPC, or do they spurn him and his rare and exotic goods?

    Personally I found the whole reaction to the event beyond pathetic. People rioted and basically trashed the area around the trader, but after that they went and bitched and moaned for 20ish pages on the message boards about how the developers were at fault, how they were so offended, how they were cancelling their accounts, blah blah blah. Pitiful.
  • Re:Ancient Egypt? (Score:4, Informative)

    by JabberWokky (19442) <slashdot.com@timewarp.org> on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:28PM (#10602971) Homepage Journal
    Beyond the fact that your reference covers Pharaohs rather than common women, the source of the sexism is a trader coming in from another culture.

    --
    Evan

  • by MaineCoon (12585) on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:35PM (#10603075) Homepage
    You don't understand the game then. There are no powerups, no special items.

    They were trading for general everyday (in-game) commodities. The whole point of the merchant event was mostly role-playing as well.
  • by FortKnox (169099) on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:37PM (#10603098) Homepage Journal
    WELL SAID! Wow.... I think the game developer was successful at something. Showing people not to take a thing for granted. If its in their power to pass laws, they got caught off guard for forgetting something. Once they correct this part, the developer may bring another event player out to play off of something else they forgot.
  • by jnik (1733) on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:38PM (#10603110)
    There was an incident years ago in EQ I think where someone playing a Dark Elf, either roleplayed or wrote about raping another in-game character.

    You're missing an important point...the person wrote a story about her character being raped. Basically it was "look, I'm a Dark Elf, I'm evil, this is the background of my character that explains why." The character was underage; don't remember if the player was or not.

    It was written and posted in some sort of fan board, not in the game (I don't recall if the board was in any way associated with Sony).

    So the issue there was what a player has the right to write about one's own character, out of the game. A very different case from what a character, PC or NPC, is allowed to inflict on other PC's in game.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:39PM (#10603122)
    I find it facinating that everyone just assumes that women in ancient Egypt were subservient. Where is the evidence for this? Contrary to public opinion, as a simple search on the role of women in ancient Egypt on Google will attest, the historical record suggests that woman in Egypt had legal parity with men.

    Die you ignorant dumb fuck.
  • Re:A good experience (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rei (128717) on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:39PM (#10603123) Homepage
    They're all part of history, but treating all women as slaves is not part of the history of ancient Egypt. Egypt had fairly progressive attitudes toward women, for the times:

    http://www.womenintheancientworld.com/women_in_a nc ient_egypt.htm
  • Re:Ancient Egypt? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Plaid Phantom (818438) on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:42PM (#10603165) Homepage
    Not only that, but, according to the Terra nova page, it states in the wiki (I couldn't actually read it myself; it seems to have been /.ed):
    "...a woman named Ashari, who stated that Malaki was a thief and a scoundrel. This latter came as no surprise, but what did was the fact that he had evidently stolen items from the royal family, including the Soul Jars, items which are said to bring good luck."
    This character was definitely not going to have many scruples, especially with others' beliefs.
  • by chollowayss (653233) <knightmare&kn1ghtmare,com> on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:44PM (#10603182) Homepage
    The trader was not Egyptian, he was a trader from a far away land. Take a lousy five minutes and read through some other posts before responding as if you know anything...
  • by FreeUser (11483) on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:58PM (#10603351)
    I find it facinating that everyone just assumes that women in ancient Egypt were subservient. Where is the evidence for this? Contrary to public opinion, as a simple search on the role of women in ancient Egypt on Google will attest, the historical record suggests that woman in Egypt had legal parity with men.

    That is debated among historians. While Egypt did have female rulers, it does not appear that women were equal among the working masses ... just as weomen hardly enjoy equal rights today in Pakistan, despite the fact that the country has had a female leader (who even as prime minister was not allowed to look into the eyes of a male).

    What isn't debated among historians is that women in many other parts of the world in that day and age were not treated at all equally, and indeed were treated as property/slaves/etc by many cultures.

    Had you RTFAed, you would have noticed that the character being played was not from Egypt, he was from a distant land. Historically, the odds that said culture would be sexist as hell (to put it mildly) were quite high.

    As others noted, the players took modern day equal rights for granted. Something they really shouldn't be doing, in reality today with Bush et. al. bent on rolling women's rights back to pre-1960s status, and certainly not in a role playing game set in ancient Egypt.

    Riotinig (in game or otherwise) is so asinine ... it leads me to believe that most of the "women" in game were actually men in drag. Although perhaps not ... it will be interesting to watch how women in the United States react when, as a consiquence of their inaction and apathy, the "unthinkable" happens and they lose their freedom of choice under Roe v. Wade and find their bodies chattal of the state for nine months again -- something most people like to believe will never happen, but the current administration for whom some many women are naively voting has publicly stated as one of their objectives. Will they riot, as so many psuedo-women have in game? Or will they engage in more intelligent civil disobedience and political activity, as they have so many times in the past to achieve parity under the law. My money, based on historical evidence, is on the latter ... which again is why I suspect so many of the "women" in this game were in fact played by men. Rioting has generally been, in most historical contexts anyway, such a "male" response.
  • Re:A good experience (Score:2, Informative)

    by sneakers563 (759525) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:00PM (#10603371)
    Maybe because some people have grandparents who were gassed to death in a slave labor camp. Maybe because some people have grandparents who were strung up by the neck from a tree, had their hands cut off and were then burned alive. Maybe because some people consider those events truly evil and not "evil". Is it so hard to understand that people would be sickened by the idea of their grandparent's gruesome death as entertainment?

    Your inability to see a difference between Darth Vader and Hitler or a slave trader is particularly offensive, I might add.

  • Re:Whaaaaa! (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:13PM (#10603508)
    The thing is... this ISN'T the history of Egypt. Egypt had some of the most progressive laws toward women in the ancient world. While the Greeks were treating women with the same level of respect that they treated cows, women in ancient Egypt had all sorts of avenues open to them. They could choose who to marry, they could divorce, they could own property... they even had laws that guaranteed women the same pay as men when doing the same work.

    What is it with Slashdot? You are way off the mark, do you just have to sound right to get modded up? Anyway, if you want to know the truth about Ancient Egypt; In Egypt, women were much more free than their counterparts in other lands... though they were not equal with men, both men and women in Egypt accepted that everyone had their roles in ma'at (the natural order of the universe)... and that the roles of men and women were different.

    In Egyptian art, the Egyptian stereotype of a woman was that of wife and mother, the husband being the head of the household. She worked indoors (mostly), Women were seen to be slim and beautiful, even though a fat stomach in men equated with wealth and power (the rich could afford to eat more than the poor!) Noble women did not work in these paintings, but women are seen to be dancers, musicians, acrobats, sacred 'prostitutes', maids, kitchen staff, field workers and much, much more.

    They weren't "slaves". This is some man projecting his fantasies of enslaved women onto the game. And it's incredibly insulting.

    You are right! Many of them were considered sacred prostitutes or maids! That is A LOT DIFFERENT than slavery! This is just another example of women getting their panties in a bunch because they don't like the truth about what happened to them so they are trying to rewrite history.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:18PM (#10603565)
    Both?

    I wasn't actually there because I don't bother to go to any of the 'stand in line, get stupid rare crap' events. However, I heard of what happened there and have... witnessed... a 'riot' before.

    I would suspect that many of the participants weren't really outraged over the sexist trader, but in the mood to just trash stuff on principle. Since the game lacks a way to deal with pent up aggression, and people were feeling pissy over the slow development of the game as compared to the last version, they took it out on the trader.

    Many folks who decided to 'quit' afterward weren't quitting because of the sexist guy himself, but were already disgruntled over how the game was progressing. The trader was simply the spark that lit the brushfire.
  • Re:Whaaaaa! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vaevictis666 (680137) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:24PM (#10603618)
    Not that I imagine that anyone will read this this far into the discussion, but for the record - The trader involved came from outside of Egypt, and it's not a strech to go back 2000 years and find places not that far from ancient Egypt that most definitely held this world view.
  • Re:Whaaaaa! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rei (128717) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:24PM (#10603620) Homepage
    Next time you're going to plagiarize, link the article you're plagiarizing from:

    http://www.thekeep.org/~kunoichi/kunoichi/themes tr eam/women_egypt.html

    If you were going to be honest in your plagiarism, you would have gotten to:

    "but women are seen to be dancers, musicians, acrobats, sacred 'prostitutes', maids, kitchen staff, field workers and much, much more." ... and this is just in artwork.

    You should have plagiarized "Women's Education and Career" and "Women and the Law". Of course, your choice of plagiarism source doesn't go into the legal aspects, which I focused on, which were *very* progressive toward women (as I mentioned, even guaranteeing equal pay for equal work; they could also offer testimony for trials, start legal proceedings, determine inheritance for her children, etc).

    Here's the summary of the article that you plagiarized:

    "Egyptian women had a free life, compared to her contemporaries in other lands. She wasn't a feminist, but she could have power and position if she was in the right class. She could hold down a job, or be a mother if she chose. She could live by herself or with her family. She could buy and sell to her hearts content. She could follow the latest fashions or learn to write if she had the chance. She loved and laughed and ate and drunk. She partied and got sick. She helped her husband, she ran her household. She lived a similar life to that of her mother and grandmother in accordance with ma'at. She was an ancient Egyptian woman with hopes and dreams of her own... not too much different we woman of today. "

    Seriously - how dishonest can you get? No surprise that you posted as AC.

  • Re:Whaaaaa! (Score:2, Informative)

    by scaaven (783465) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:33PM (#10603690)
    "...and a Jedi Knight in 'Star Wars Galaxies'" [msn.com]

    a reference to the first player getting Jedi in SWG... on msnbc?!?!?!

  • by king-manic (409855) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @01:33AM (#10607147)
    Malakai, derived from the hebrew word MALACHI. Has little to do with Mal-adjusted.

    It's hebrew for mesenger. Also commonly used for "angels".

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