Oooooo boy, nothing wrings my nipples harder(in a bad way) than the way the media portrays video games, and the people that play them. First things first, I will be talking specifically about the episode "Ghost in the Machine" which seems like a crappy nod to Ghost in the Shell or Deus Ex.
This episode is not only absurd but has a hard on for self-proclaimed "licensed psychologist" Angelica B. Ortiz de Gortari who is from Sweden (of course it's fucking Sweden) who is now living in the UK and working on her PhD. Word of note to Miss Gortari, YOU ARE NOT A LICENSED PSYCHOLOGIST, you need a PhD or PsyD and then you need to pass the required licensing program as mandated by the area you live in the UK, and same applies to here in the USA(and I am half way considering filing a report with the APA on this one.) You might also recognize some of Gortari's research as she proudly claims:
My research during my PhD has been featured in different press articles and magazine, radio and TV in different parts of the world such as the New Scientist, Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, The Independent. Also in blogs and online magazines such as Gamespot, Kotaku, Eurogamer.
What a list right? Because we all know most of those are known for their credibility..... The term they throw out over and over again in this episode is "Game Transfer Phenomena" which is based off of Gortari's Masters Thesis and is stated as being "transfer of video game experiences into the real world".If you are still struggling here or are a bit dumbfounded, this basically means that video games can make people act out games in the real world or make it so people can't distinguish the two apart. Now you know where all these media people get the insane idea that playing GTA makes you a sexist murderer.
It also must be noted that 80% of her research that I have seen listed for her is all empirical self report studies, I.E. Studies based on self observation and self reporting that have been the topic of debate since the 1980's as they hold huge bias and are generally inaccurate because of that fact.
So enough about the madness of where they got the idea for this episode, lets actually take a look at the trail, so then I can keep ripping it apart in the episode summary.
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Yes, I used OBS to rip that from their site for fair use purposes. No I am not going to link to their site. Yes, CSI takes this already shaky idea and runs with it like a moron holding scissors.
Summary with commentary:
Open with a kid playing a FPS game as he mashes the B button on an Xbox 360 controller to fire(raging yet?), he get a message in the middle of his match on his "Game Vex" (WTF, are we in the 1990's again, should I call Tiger Electronic and tell them to send me a game com and a copy of Sonic Jam).
The kid looks super excited, while he reads a message about a package at his door. He runs to the door, grabs the package, opens it and finds a black drill case which he quickly stuffs in his bag and runs of on his bike to some coordinates he received on his phone moments later.(Yes because a 15 year old kid who has any access to the internet or a brain would say, "You know what, I fancy a bit of adventure. Let me pick up some random package from a dude I don't know online and DROP IT OFF AT A RANDOM LOCATION because he said he would reword me." If that does not have the FBI and Homeland security come running, I honestly don't know what will.)
Kid drops of said drill box and goes to walk away, then his split second curiosity gets the best of him, and he goes "Right, I am going to open up this package and have a look"(most believable part, considering he was dumb enough to do this in the first place) and lo and behold, in the box is a drill. (Jesus Christ this seems like a bad Ayy Team joke as it is.) Kid picks said drill up to have a look, we hear some dude saying, what are you doing in my yard, kid drops drill, suddenly bullet to the chest. Cut to the commercial.
Now if you are like me, you would be thinking some asshole troll sent a kid to a house of a known gun owner with a package that looks like a gun, and home owner shoots kid thinking the drill is a gun. NOPE! We find out after the commercial that the drill was housing a real gun, purchased from the "DEEP WEB, wuuuuuuhuuubrianawuuuu scary!" (Ya it's one of those episodes) and when the kid dropped the drill/gun, it went off and shot him in the chest at random. Anyway they find out its some dude "hacking" gamers accounts on Blacklight: Retribution _to steal their items, then act like their buddy giving them new gear for free then rewarding them with new gear for dropping off these packages at random locations. _
Yes, for some god forsaken reason, Zombie Studios allowed these clowns to use their game in this way, which is portrayed as an easily hacked game that if you lose all your gear, would crush any players spirits because it takes months of game time (at least 5-6 hours a day from what CSI says) just to have anything worth while. I would hope these issues would be solved with a 15 minute call to customer service, but no, digital items just can't be made out of thin air!(fucking hell...) If making me never want to play your game was an end goal out of fear of having my account easily compromised combined with a lack of customer service that could fix the issue or needing to spend months of my life grinding away to earn gear, mission accomplished.
The Cyber team tracks down the next package to an apartment, in which a girl opens the door and we see in the back ground some random dude, who is once again playing Blacklight: Retribution (It should be noted that CSI describes the game as a Black Ops Tactical Military Shooter in which you fight terrorists, when everyone else describes the game as a cyberpunk-themed first-person shooter video game.) The CSI goons say, FBI we are looking for(insert dudes name here) and the guy takes of running until they get to a roof, while the FBI has him cornered at gun point on the roof he say "I just want to talk." It is at this point that this random gamer dude tries to jump across to a car hold roof which is poorly made, and falls right through landing on top of a car breaking his arm and maybe other stuff(best acting of the whole episode). While in pain he comments about "How he has made jumps like that before." which CSI states is because of "Game Transfer Phenomena"(sigh).
The CSI team rushes down to him saying "We got you now Golden Beast!" which was apparently the user name of the person that was supposed to drop off the gun. The dude, while in pain goes, "I am not Golden Beast (the girl that opened the door) is!" WHAT A TWIST M. NIGHT SHAMALAMALALA. Yes this is the first time, that we see a "gamer girl" being represented in one of these TV shows, not being attacked or something of that nature, she ducks out of the house with a obviously dangerous package that she knows the FBI is looking for so she can have a "Digital Katana" In a free to play FPS. So why did the guy run? It because he had drugs on him (and was most likely to baked out of his mind to reason by the way they set up the scene, but no it must have been the video games right? Because "Game Transfer Phenomena"!) At this point I think half of the writing staff just wants to be sarcastic assholes to the other half because they know how insane this all is, and are just forced to write for the show to make ends meet.
From here it goes into tracking people with Super Cookies which would be considered NSA spying levels of unethical in the way they did it and catching one of the "Internets Top 10" called "Trigger" who is a "Deep Web" arms dealer, then the guy who was buying the guns for some throw away reason that eats up two minutes of the episode, just to cap it off. They all celebrate by playing 4 player split screen multi-player of Blacklight: Retribution on a Game Vex hooked to the giant FBI screens in their HQ while Hayley Kiyoko character who plays the edgy hacker gamer girl media stereo type says she is going to beat everyone's ass with her L33T skills LoLz. (Hayley, you better not fuck up on the Jem and the Holograms movie!)
As you can see from this episode, they are all over the place when it comes to their message. One moment they are saying Hue Hue video games bad, the next they are like, "Look at us, we play games to!" It feels like its ideological fear mongering in overdrive all to stop people under the age of 18 from playing video games or using technology in general. We are at a cross roads in media and entertainment, with a driver who has fundamentally lost the map, and will not stop to ask for directions. I feel this is why the under 30 crowd feel so disjointed from tv media in general, that they don't even bother watching it anymore, and opt to use services like Hulu, Netflix, or Bloggers on Youtube. But I think that if there is anything we can take away from this is that James Van Der Beek has a rectangle for a head. No seriously look at it, it's like a rectangle with a chin.