08 November 2007

Halo 3 Promotes Suicide Bombing among Lower Classes

In the game, at least. Here is an interesting first-hand account from Clive Thompson, writing in Wired.

It was after pulling this maneuver a couple of dozen times that it suddenly hit me: I had, quite unconsciously, adopted the tactics of a suicide bomber -- or a kamikaze pilot.

It's not just that I'm willing to sacrifice my life to kill someone else. It's that I'm exploiting the psychology of asymmetrical warfare.


I, however, have a completely different psychology. I know I'm the underdog; I know I'm probably going to get killed anyway. I am never going to advance up the Halo 3 rankings, because in the political economy of Halo, I'm poor.

Specifically, I'm poor in time. The best players have dozens of free hours a week to hone their talents, and I don't have that luxury. This changes the relative meaning of death for the two of us. For me, dying will not penalize me in the way it penalizes them, because I have almost no chance of improving my state. I might as well take people down with me. Full article.

The pointer to this comes from a Freakonomics post describing the surprising finding that most suicide bombers are not, in fact, from the lowest, least educated classes of society, but are often rather middle-class. Link.

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