A Pixelated Evil?

As some of you may remember from the IRC chat, a few days ago, I came to a stark and somewhat haunting realisation.

Although it may have been in jest, I compared my actions in Minecraft, to those of Hitler (Let us very quickly put Godwin’s Law to one side for a moment, as a nazi comparison is the entire purpose of this article). I realised that I had been practicing in-game eugenics.  For those of you who don’t know, Wikipedia simply defines Eugenics  as;

Eugenics (/jˈɛnɪks/; from Greek eu, meaning “good/well”, and -genēs, meaning “born”) is the belief and practice of improving the genetic quality of the human population. It is a social philosophy advocating the improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher reproduction of people with desired traits (positive eugenics), and reduced reproduction of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics).

Now, Hitler took this social philosophy to the extreme, as was his MO, promoting it to the point where it became his party’s raison d’être. Through exterminating one race of peoples after another, whilst promoting his Arian [SIC, edit, read Aryan] idealism, he would destroy what he deemed to be a weaker gene pool. This would leave only those he believed to be superior to procreate and carry forth their salient genetic information.

There reaches a point where you are slaughtering all the brown sheep in your otherwise white flock as they sully your wool harvest, you really have to look at yourself.

Now, there are a couple of plain differences. For one, I wasn’t dealing with humans. Secondly, my sheep were computer generated.

But here are some kinks. I could have loosed my flock. Set the brown sheep free. I could have just not given the brown sheep wheat. Both of these would have minimised by brown wool collection, and maximised my white output. I didn’t though. No. I killed my brown sheep. I was practicing, negative eugenics.

I analysed my situation, and in seconds produced the most effective short term solution, with no consultation of morality. I understand in a real life situation with real live people this wouldn’t be the case. However, the fact that the moral association didn’t even exist until after-the-fact is a cause for thought. Was it a harmless in game decision? Or was it a symptom of a disembodied nature and desensitised lackadaisical aloofness? Or is it more sinister even than that? In all of us does the ability lay, to create upon a situation an evil the world has seldom seen?

This realisation has had my gaming become somewhat measured. There’s been a little monkey on my back, wearing a brown woollen jumper, for a few days now.  So today, something again grated on my gaming experience

I think it’s safe to say, we probably all hate zombie pigmen. They are annoying, spawncamping, mob-killing, pixel bastards only good for gold farming.

But… there it is, the monkey is screeching in my ear. There are a few tangents here that bugged me, so I’ll talk them out as they occurred to me. Pigmen aren’t aggressive. They are quite happy wondering around in groups, discussing the weather (mostly cloudy with a chance of lava) and ignoring the player. Until assaulted. If you attack one, they attack back. So let’s look at this from their perspective. An unknown an alien entity, attacks from a hitherto unseen world, that they have never visited, and attacks them. They try to defend themselves, valiantly at first, but more and more of them perish to this alien’s superior weaponry and armour. As the last Pigman lies dying, he sees his family’s corpses being stripped of all their gold. Before the alien runs away, jumping up and down and shouting in some exotic tongue about a mystery thing called “nug-gets?”

One could draw, albeit sardonically, a comparison with the European invasions of North America, Africa, and Latino America. I give Latino America special reference because the gold bit is basically history copy pasta. Creepy history copy pasta.

There are, further too, references to Hitler’s Nazi occupied Germany. As well as, of course, the slave trade. Look at the name of this poor native people. “Zombie Pigmen”.  Now look at the other mob names. “Zombie”, “Skeleton”, “Creeper”, “Wither”, et al. Now back to Pigmen. What’s the relevance? All of it. The other mobs have generic horror names. But Pigmen? You may not know this, but the dehumanisation of victimised groups is one of the first stages, of many genocides in human history. I realise these creatures actually are literally pig-men, and are created for the sole purpose of challenge and loot, but Hitler believed the same thing of the Jews. There to be deleted as a test. The Nazi’s even called the Jew’s “pigs”. Dirty. Unclean. Of course, this carried with it extra offence for the kosher Jew. You can see it happening around the world currently. To some extent in Russia, where the altsexual are being targeted in swathes, and dehumanised. Scary times.

So here we are, dehumanising the native peoples of an alien world, and stealing their gold.
Well, my conquistador comrades, that doesn’t quite sit right with me.

Or am I being daft? Making an issue where one doesn’t exist? Am I putting a logic into a game where it needn’t be? Or am I the lone German guard running down the firing range as his cohorts take aim at a Jewish child for sport?

I’m not sure. It’s a mine(craft)field when you look at it like this. And I guess that is exactly why Godwin’s law exists.

I tell you what though. I fucking hate Zombie Pigmen.

Lord Eris.