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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bioterrorism MUD

On my left sat three other members of Harbortown's finest: the police IT manager, the chief of police, and the homeland security liaison. At a table to my right were four representatives of city government. At a third table sat officials from the local hospital. Our laptops displayed information about the city's computer networks and allowed us to email each other. The game was almost entirely text based: It was like a massively, or rather minimally, multiplayer Zork.

In round one, the cyberterrorists took the 911 server down, and Harbortownians got busy signals and hang-ups instead of emergency operators. Obvious virus emails with the subject line "Download this file" arrived in my inbox. Electronic highway signs suddenly read BIOTERROR EVACUATION WARNING. A posting appeared on the city's Web site warning of a bioterror incident at the local mall. We eventually realized it was a hoax – but not before evacuating the mall. Annoying, but not worth creating a new military-industrial complex over.
-- Sim City: Terrortown

Can games cure cancer? check. Make you smarter? check. And now make the worlder a safer place? Of course. I understand that if this simulation successfully saves a town, it sends Jack Thompson a "bite me" e-mail.

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