Friday, August 14, 2015

Interactive Friction: Watch_Dogs: Episode 12: Something Deeply Wrong

In this episode, we delve head-long into the sex trafficking side-plot. As I've said in previous posts, I find this to be one of the most disturbing arcs in the game.

I'm not necessarily against having a video game comment on heavy topics like sex trafficking. My issue with this subplot is that Watch_Dogs wants to use this topic, but doesn't want to provide any commentary for it. Yes, of course it's disgusting that women are bought, transported, and sold against their will for a profit. Nobody in their right mind would argue otherwise. However, the apolitical nature of the story leaves makes this segment milquetoast.

We'll get into more detail about this in the next episode, but I have the same problem with Watch_Dogs that I do about many of the sex-trafficking episodes of crime-serials like CSI. It's only purpose is to be used as a shorthand for "Yes, this obviously evil bad-guy is evil." In fact, Watch_Dogs is even worse than those shows. Most of those episodes take the time to follow the personal story of one of the victims so that we can somewhat understand how a young woman could find themselves in that situation. It's rarely ever a great attempt, but it's something. As you'll soon see, Watch_Dogs doesn't really put in a token effort. Given that the game is about this world where everyone and everything is monitored and connected, that's such a wasted opportunity.

I hate this game.

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