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Save The World Sim

Put the fear of Murphy into the terrorists
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This computer game is ostensibly about Saving the World. You enter various data items regarding the sim-hero of the game (let's say, for this example, a Sterotypical Commie), and then you control that person's efforts to accomplish something Significant, like building a nuclear bomb so you can blow up New York City and save the world from the evils of Capitalism.

Except that the game is rigged. Your would-be hero always dies first, without accomplishing anything. If the cops guarding the plutonium locker don't get you, then Plutonium radiation poisoning will. Or plutonium dust inhalation. Or you slip up in handling the high-power chemical explosives needed to START a nuclear bomb's bang. Or the bomb goes off by accident while transporting it. Or Homeland Security raids you at the last minute. SOMETHING always prevents success.

Or, say, you want to build a bio-weapon in the sim. That backfires, too. You want to build a virus to wipe out millions of people? You carefully prepare an antidote first, of course. For YOU, it doesn't work (just like it won't work for a small percentage of the normal population).

Sure, we know that many terrorists are Willing to Die For the Cause. Which means they aren't willing to die uselessly. So, by making sure they die uselessly, over and over again in this widely-distributed freely-available sim, we discourage them from trying it for real.

Thereby REALLY saving the world!

Vernon, Feb 20 2009


       If only terrorists would spend more time playing computer games...   

       One could argue that it would be more effective to make a game that terrorists (or, more likely, would-be terrorists) would often win, on the theory that they would play more often, get their ya-ya's out, be too busy to make bombs, etc.
colorclocks, Feb 20 2009

       I don't think it's possible to make a generic reality simulator that's accurate enough to plan acts of terror. I think terrorists would share my skepticism.   

       If they were going to use it, they would find terrorist hackers to dissassemble it and make sure it wasn't programmed to phone home. And they would discover that it was rigged.
Bad Jim, Feb 20 2009

       [Bad Jim], all a terrorist would have to do is read this Idea to know the game was rigged. Why else do you think the Idea is HalfBaked?
Vernon, Feb 20 2009

       I love unwinnable video games. But they are not new. I do suppose that hammering away at such games might teach a valuable life lesson to those inclined to do so.
bungston, Feb 20 2009

       Since when were communists "terrorists". please. "stereotypical bigoted American".
WcW, Feb 21 2009

       Well Lenin set up secret police within a month of getting control of Russia. They were directed against his political opponents, and this was known as Red Terror. So yeah, within a month getting power.
Bad Jim, Feb 21 2009

       if dragging some "un-people" out of bed at night, slapping a bag over their head and disappearing them into zero process prisons makes you a terrorist then the "war on terror" takes a new ironic twist doesn't it. The logic of "Lenin was bad, Lenin was a communist thus communists are bad" is fallacious.
WcW, Feb 21 2009

       Besides, Lenin was a socialist. As in the "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics".
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Feb 21 2009

       Even deeper you have the conflict between ideas (actual terrorism) and meta-ideas. Terrorism is incredibly effective, pretty easy to carry off, a body of true information backs this up. Trying to plant a false "meta-idea" that terrorism is prone to failure and that it is always foiled, in an attempt to negate the "true" idea that comes from real observation and anecdote is not only bad propaganda it shows a certain gullibility for postmodern relativistic thinking. You might defray some jaded kids from pursuing "terrorism" (Dude! Bombrunner2 sucks! Lets go back to "Urban Slaughter IIII) If you buy into your own theory many gamers will go out and die in an existential blaze of pointless gun violence.
WcW, Feb 21 2009

       WCW: According to wikipedia, the word "terror" means the act of imposing fear on other people. It does not specify who is doing it against whom. So it is correct to say that some Russian and Chinese leaders have been communist terrorists. As, indeed, are the British and American governments when they abandon due process and say "we're going to lock up whoever we like and keep the public guessing about what they actually did and whether they are being tortured".   

       Unfortunately, the fact that our governments have responded to terrorism with their own brand of terrorism shows that it is indeed effective. As does the use of terror throughout history. So a computer simulation in which it is clearly impossible will not be be taken seriously.   

       Say you were training to be a pilot. You jump into a simulator but you crash. Repeatedly. Then your instructer tries to show you how it's done but he crashes as well. Repeatedly. Surely you would find another way to train. That wouldn't stop you learning to fly. If it could, one programmer could ground every aircraft on the planet by writing a simulator in which you couldn't land the plane.
Bad Jim, Feb 21 2009

       Folks, there are some subtleties here that seem to have been overlooked in the annotations. Are any of you not aware that Communism, despite being anti-religion, has itself been called a type of religion? I simply chose as my example that one, which has openly professed a desire to destroy its competition by whatever means possible, in lieu of others that typically forswear terrorism publicly, yet don't police themselves to discourage members from doing terrorism. Perhaps you would have been happier if I had chosen "Catholic", because of its Inquisition?   

       So, I'm not particularly against Communists; heh, if you actually read anything about the subject you might be surprised to learn that a TRUE communism is practically indistinguishable from a TRUE democracy, neither of which exists in a significant way in the world today (except maybe California). The governments that CALL themselves "Communist" are actually just dictatorships (or Committeeships) in disguise, and deserve to be exposed as such. The governments that CALL themselves "democracies" are actually variations away from the strict definition, but at least they will admit it when pressed (the United States is actually a "Republic").   

       Therefore it was necessary, in the example I used, to specify "stereotypical". A fanatic of any type is almost always a stereotype, also.   

       Moving on, I'm surprised none of you picked up on the REAL flaw with this Idea. To whatever extent Murphy's Law applies in the real world, it also has an answer, the Boy Scout Motto, "Be Prepared." The most fundamental problem with this Idea is that it would have to give away, to potential terrorists, all sorts of information about things they would need to Be Prepared for. Should they appropriately act using that information, the chances of their succeeding would be greatly increased. And we don't want that, at all!
Vernon, Feb 22 2009

       I picked up on it and was going to comment. But only as I just opened it now and you already did so, I'm late to the punch.
RayfordSteele, Feb 22 2009

       The real flaw in the idea is that "terrorism" is not a notable threat to "the world", from which it requires "saving", compared to say rapid, unchecked climate change.   

       The latter would be a lot harder to fit into the video game format though.
BunsenHoneydew, Feb 22 2009

       [BunsenHoneydew], bioterror can affect lots more of the world than a mere nuke. I do acknowledge, however, that there is a human-specific bias in typical usages of the phrase "saving the world". Our high opinions of ourselves may not actually warrant such usages.
Vernon, Feb 23 2009

       Would you like to play a game?
Noexit, Feb 23 2009


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