Game developer and all-around activist Grayson Earle is responsible for the brief yet powerful message of NSA Game.

The game is comprised of choosing between words not on the NSA's Internet watch list. The task proved far more challenging than originally thought. Earle comments: "In case you are wondering, yes--these words really are used by the government when monitoring your electronic movements and communication."

Oh right. I thought this was a game.

As for the significance of NSA Game, Kill Screen contextualizes things nicely:
"What games like the NSA Game tell us, besides to eliminate the word “waterborn” from our vocabulary, is that games have become a viable alternative to traditional news. They can be turned out fast and make a point through what game guru Ian Bogost calls “procedural rhetoric” (not on the NSA watch list, by the way), which is a way of using the processes of computers to propose an argument about current events. The NSA Game gets this right, as you’ll find out at the fateful endgame. "
To conclude, I want to share with you part of Earle's general purpose statement for why he does what he does:
"Though I consider myself a hacker I recognize the need to contextualize my work as art in order to render the discursive site it generates lucid. And if I am to be an artist, then I paint with reference and abstraction, coded in canvas comprised of circuits and compiled languages. The Internet is my gallery, though any sidewalk, bedroom, basement, bank, warehouse, adspace or anywhere else I can confront the public will do. Impossible to pirate, my work begs to be copied and acknowledges this as the basis of its creation. It is merely information, and whilst it is in chains, information everywhere begs to be free."
On his site, Earle recommended a few articles for further study here and here.

Bonus: Earle also crafted this nifty NSA Haiku Generator. No joke.

platform utilized: browser
genre: other
where to find: Play NSA Game

Choose Your Words Carefully: NSA Game

Posted on

Dec 4, 2013

Leave a Reply