Bowling for Dictators, and the False Promise of Games

On a very basic level, games encourage players to learn and develop mastery through a process of practice and failure. Playing a game like Super Mario Bros. for the first time is an exercise in learning what each button does (run, jump, etc.) and how to move through a level without dying. Much like the movie Groundhog Day, through failure and repetition, one starts to gain more agency and mastery.

Within a game, a player typically learns better ways to play and develops greater agency and ability to get their desired outcome. They learn techniques and strategies. In other words, you learn how to play the game and to win – if only in the world of the game.

Games can often give a false sense of power.

I came across an experimental game called Fascist Falldown that made me think about this contraction between in-game action and real-world inaction. Fascist Falldown is a bowling game where mobile devices are placed on small stands as pins, each showing a dictator. Players take turns throwing “the ball of democracy” to bowl down the dictators.

By applying the logic of video games to real life, it exposes central problems with central assumptions of video games.  

Nevermind the fact that some of the worst dictators were voted in, “Democracy” being the magic bullet to remove dictators is the sort of logic that essentially installed American-approved dictators across the world in what’s become known as “democratic imperialism”.

Similarly, the solution of killing dictators does very little to address the actual circumstances that led to their rise to power, nor does killing world leaders seem in-line with democratic values.

The sense of power and superiority that some games give us lie in the face of our powerlessness that continues when we just treat global issues as a game.

Some people might say there are some things that are too serious for games. But it might be better to say that complexity and nuanced issues demand games with a similar level of sophistication.

Games are very important to our development, and they’re an opportunity to deal with situations that we may experience in real life. For instance, oral debates or sports help us hone our abilities to grapple with arguments and stay level-headed in physically stressful situations. The abstract skills we learn in these games help us deal with the real world. They actually enable action by preparing us to engage in real world situations that could have greater consequences than in the play world of games.

Games could certainly be used as a way to elicit real change, but they should prepare someone for real action rather than just placate games with symbolic victories.

We might have to take games a lot more seriously.

Dealing with Ad Blocker Detection

Many sites overload their sites with ads to drive more revenue, which has unfortunately led many of us to use plugins like Ad Block Plus.

But sites have gotten more clever! Thousands of major sites now detect when you’re blocking their ads – but you can make yourself undetectable to Ad Blockers!!

Stop Ad Blocker Detection by Disabling JavaScript

You can allow or block permissions for a specific site.

To easily bypass ad block detection on a specific website, you can disable your browser from running JavaScript on that site.

  1. In Chrome, go to the website that’s blocking you.
  2. Click the icon to the left of the web address (which either shows a lock, an info “i”, or a danger triangle).
  3. Click Site settings.
  4. Find the JavaScript permission setting, and choose disable.

The downside to this method is that other JavaScript functionality will be disabled. This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re just reading an article, but you may miss functionality like the comment section.

Optional: If you want to keep JavaScript enabled

If shutting down JavaScript is really ruining your experience, you can use some advanced tactics like installing the “Anti-Adblock Killer” script which helps you keep your Ad-Blocker active even when you visit a website and that asks you to disable it.

You can also try other browser extensions such as installing Greasemonkey on Firefox or Tampermonkey on Chrome. These extensions let you specify how JavaScript is run on sites, letting you shut down scripts detecting your ad-blocking software.

These are a few ways to block your ads in peace. Of course, as an online content creator, I encourage you to whitelist sites that you enjoy because ad revenue helps content creators make a living and keep these sites free. 

Hello!

Before we showcased our perfect lives on Facebook, we poured our souls onto Blogspot and LiveJournal. This is the legacy of blogging.

Starting a new blog in 2018 feels like a retread – but in the spirit of I do want to share half-baked thoughts and rough ideas.

Here we go!

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