Sunday, November 13, 2016

Protest Street (the game)

Protest Street provides an on-line virtual environment, cloud based, where protestors are free to design their avatars, give them signs, enroll them in teach-ins, and have them chant slogans.

Other players, or those with multiple accounts, will control city functions to accommodate the protestors, and to flag violations, according to whatever rules of the road.  If you want to add tear gas, rubber bullets etc., you may have to pay extra.  The jail module might be outsourced as a whole other game.

Protest Street is vaporware at the moment.  If you get it Kickstarted, you'll likely find yourself reading this as background, and maybe even starting a protest regarding how I was not officially credited sufficiently -- wouldn't be the first time my good ideas fueled a success story.

That the action be authentically crowd-sourced is important, yet the hardest part to verify unless people, celebrities even, come forward with their testimony.  "Yes, that was me at that protest last Friday" -- you can boast to your friends.

For protests to be newsworthy, we won't just want the cartoon, but some of the names and identities behind them.  If everyone plays anonymously, that will to some extent defeat the purpose.

Having a track record, like an athlete has, is what enables you to rise on various totem poles, in various narrative and computed accounts.  Keep at it, and you'll get to be a protest organizer someday.

The difference between an actual Second Life like virtual space and an ordinary ranters list, is the bandwidth and the ability to stage a protest in a choice of Gothams.

The difference between a virtual protest and a real one, in the street, are numerous but boil down to cost, convenience and safety.

Realism may not always be a goal.  Protests may be organized for esoteric reasons, with signs like "Aristotle was right, remember the MITE!" -- what's that all about?

The VR version will be the most immersive of course. Mapping your own gestures to those of your avatar makes your whole body more of a mouse.  Not everyone prefers to puppet their avatar in that mode.