Thursday, October 04, 2007

Law and Order uses MMO as a crime scene

If you were watching this week's Heroes episode then you might faintly recall a commercial for the next Law and Order: SVU episode. The teaser made heavy use of pixelated strip clubs and the well endowed avatars which most MMO fans automatically recognize as coming from Second Life. This bizzaro virtual world has become the Grand Theft Auto of the MMO universe where practices that would earn a banning anywhere else are commonplace and profitable. Still Second Life's unique entrepreneurial opportunities and wild west atmosphere has often garnered it free advertising from the press who for the most part ignored its huge red light districts. It looks like the cat is out of the bag though as it seems to be the main focus for this episode.

Of course whenever mainstream television mentions gaming its usually in a bad context and it looks like Law and Order isn't setting out to disappoint. Its very ironic how television almost always portrays gaming in a bad light while movies are a little more forgiving. Its almost as if television shows see themselves in direct competition with video games while movies know they rule the weekend. Also it could be because movies tend to get video games and the Internet mixed up whenever they write a script. Its like they can't differentiate between a MMO and cyberspace, its all just the Matrix to Hollywood.

Still anything is better then the drek these crime shows tend to come up with when they talk about video games and virtual worlds. A couple of years ago it was CSI: Miami that had a video game episode which was straight from the daily diary of Jack Thompson. In it fans of a popular FPS were modding the game as practice for a real shooting they had planned out. If you look in the archives from you'll find a couple cases of teenagers being expelled when they modded Counterstrike with they layout from their school. Not a really smart move but hey they're teenagers. None of them were ever charged with anything or found to own a gun or live in a house that had a gun.

Now not having watched this episode of Law and Order yet I can't tell you for sure that they will portray MMO players as creepy people with the urge to kill. But based on the teaser it certainly seems this is the direction they chose. In my past posts I've made fun of residents of Second Life for all the weird things that go on in that game but honestly killing demons in the Outlands is just as likely to get looks from non gamers. I recall one quote from the teaser that was along the lines of "And now she's dead cause of your sick fetish." and I can't help but wonder if they are aiming it at all gamers in general.

P.S. In the episode they never actually name the game as Second Life.


Relmstein said...

I didn't watch the episode myself but from reviews of the episode it wasn't as bad as the teaser made it out to be. Most people said the CSI Miami episode was much worse in its negative portrayal of gamers.