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Conservative pundit Glenn Beck has an opinion on Watch Dogs. It's not a very good one.
"They are teaching you to hack and then become the ultimate voyeur in other people's lives, including their bedrooms by hacking into their phones and everything that we talked about," Beck said of the game on his network The Blaze. "How many times do you go to bed at night and have a conversation with your wife or other things? You put this, your iPad or your phone, in the docking station right there at the edge of your bed."
"This game is teaching people to hack into whatever it's docked in your bedroom. What the heck is wrong with us? What are we thinking? We are inviting this into our home and into our lives."
There are plenty of valid reasons to dislike Watch Dogs. This, however, isn't one of them.
Watch Dogs does involve hacking but suggesting that the game teaches players how to do it is a stretch. Hacks are performed in the game by pointing at something and pressing "X." I'm not a hacker but I assume the process is more complicated in real life.
Furthermore, all of the hacks in the game depend on the player tapping into a central operating system that controls all of Chicago's electronic devices. Central operating systems don't exist in the real world so even if Watch Dogs players wanted to raise bridges or rob people's ATM accounts with their phone, they couldn't do it.
Watch Dogs creative director Jonathan Morin wasn't receptive to Beck's criticisms, either. Rather than glorifying hacking, he said on Twitter, the game actually cautions against surveillance and hackers.
@VilleEricson Everybody knows that: Holding ???? for 0.5sec is the secret to hack everything in real life ????— Jonathan Morin (@Design_Cave) May 30, 2014
@jorgevonburgos yeah that's the idea...— Jonathan Morin (@Design_Cave) May 30, 2014
Beck's statements aren't worth getting wound up over, though. He's learned that stirring up controversy is a profitable business so he's going to lash out at anything that seems new or unfamiliar. For example, later in this episode he warns us of the dangers of reading electronic devices like Kindles instead of physical books. In other words, I don't think the guy has any personal animosity toward games. They're just one of many pots he can stir.
And really, if you're looking to stir up trouble, video games are a great target. We gamers tend to get pretty worked up over attacks on our hobby. In the process, we give these attacks far more reach than they would have had without our protests. For example, there was this one time Glenn Beck said something really stupid about a video game called Watch Dogs. The general public ignored it because it's Glenn Beck but game sites picked up the story and - oh. Goddamn it.