DC Trawler

Does Glenn Beck Think Watch Dogs Teaches People How to Hack Computers?


As longtime readers know, I play videogames. (Just like Frank Underwood!) I am a nerd and proud ashamed of it.

I also think Glenn Beck is a good guy who gets carried away every now and then, but never more than 10-12 times a day.

Here he is talking about violent videogames:

I understand Beck’s argument, and I believe he’s sincere. I just don’t agree. Videogames don’t cause anybody to do anything. Neither does misogyny, an argument I believe he’s mocked, just as I have. People make choices, and most people make the right ones. When people make the wrong choices, for some reason the blame falls on everybody and everything besides those individuals.

I’ve been playing Watch Dogs this week, and I agree with some of Beck’s criticisms. The “haunted anti-hero” thing is played out. The game’s depiction of voyeuristic computer hacking is so creepy that it makes me want to get back to more traditional videogame pursuits, like stealing cars and getting into gunfights. But there are a lot of people who think it’s awesome to invade other people’s privacy. (Otherwise, nobody would ever go to work for the government.) Turning it into entertainment, and not only condoning it but rewarding the player for it, is grounds for legitimate criticism.

But just like all art — and videogames are art, despite what Roger Ebert said — the game reflects the world we live in, not the other way around. Violent revenge fantasies and stories of men gaining great power are as old as time, they aren’t going away, and this is just one example of that. People were doing bad things to each other way before videogames, or movies, or the printing press, or cave paintings. They were, are, and always will be responsible for their own actions.

Beck is really big on personal responsibility, but this is one of his blind spots, I guess.

All of which is just my way of leading up to this headline from the gaming blog Polygon, which is the dumbest thing I’ve seen this morning:


Um, no he doesn’t. He doesn’t like the game’s message, but he isn’t saying, “This is literally how computer hacking works.” No matter how much you might hate Glenn Beck, even he doesn’t think pushing the Square button is going to hurt anybody in real life.

As for the game itself, here’s my five-word review.

Grand Theft iPhone: Massively overhyped.