Bruce Sterling on Mon, 4 Jun 2001 03:30:22 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] WTO Riots Now Just a Game

Where's My Copy?  I've Got Cash and a Gas Mask  -- bruces@well

From: "Clore Daniel C" <>
Organization: The Soylent Green Party
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 14:52:27 -0700
To: "" <>
Subject: [smygo] WTO Riots Now Just a Game

News for Anarchists & Activists:

Local News : Tuesday, May 29, 2001

Those Seattle WTO riots? It's just a game now, folks

By The Associated Press

TACOMA - If you missed the riots and protests at the World
Trade Organization meeting in Seattle a year and a half ago,
you may soon get another chance.

Video-game players can march down the middle of a city
street to the beat of loud music, launch a rocket or brick
into a storefront window, even punch out an officer in riot
gear while playing "State of Emergency."

Rockstar Games revealed the game - due in October for Sony
PlayStation 2 - earlier this month at the Electronic
Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.

No coincidence 

A spokesman for Rockstar has acknowledged that the game has
strong ties to the WTO riots in late 1999. Take-Two
Interactive Software, parent company for Rockstar Games, was
unavailable for comment yesterday, a holiday.

Some 50,000 people marched through Seattle, disrupting the
WTO meeting and downtown business in protesting global
issues such as human rights, labor issues and the

Most were peaceful, but conflicts surrounding the WTO
meeting resulted in the arrests of 600 people and property
damage of $3 million.

"State of Emergency" is billed as an "urban riot game set in
the near future, where the oppressive American Trade
Organization (ATO) has declared a state of emergency. ... It
is up to you to smash up everything and everyone in order to
destabilize the ATO."

Scoring points 

A player can overturn vehicles, incite rumbles between rival
groups and attack bystanders. Extra points can be made by
punching out an ATO officer in riot gear, knocking him to
the ground and jumping on him.

The game already has drawn criticism.

"If you want your child to become a violent anarchist, this
is a great training game," said state Rep. Mary Lou
Dickerson, D-Seattle. Dickerson, who joined the ranks of
peaceful WTO demonstrators, called the game "a slap in the
face of the peaceful ideals of 40,000 protesters."

After watching a video clip on the publisher's Web site, she
said the game seems to show anarchists whose violent actions
all but obscured the message of the peaceful demonstrations
in Seattle. 

State Rep. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, a state trooper who
was on duty in Seattle during the WTO meetings, also found
fault with the game's premise.

"To re-enact things like that in a digital arena sends a
very strong message," he said. "It's just better to try to
heal a community." 

Dick Lilly, spokesman for Seattle Mayor Paul Schell, said
the game will never show up in any city-run community

"I think research has raised enough serious questions about
these kinds of violent games that people should be very
skeptical and critical of this kind of content," he said.

It's not child's play

The Rockstar spokesman said the company is being careful to
follow advertising guidelines set by the Entertainment
Software Rating Board to ensure that "State of Emergency"
isn't marketed to children.

Arthur Pober, president of the ratings board, refused to
comment on the game, which has not yet been rated. The vast
majority of games fall into the E (Everyone) and T (Teen)
categories. Most of the M (Mature) games are aimed at older

Dan Clore

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