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Coyote's Howling: Pwning teh Sciencez

Column By Coyote Sharptongue on September 29, 2011

Gamers have solved a molecular puzzle that has stumped scientists for years, and might actually hold the key to finding the cure for HIV. I have to admit, I’m not as proud of the accomplishment as I am terrified at the implications it presents.

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At first it sounds pretty amazing. Using a spatial relationship “game” developed for designing proteins, gamers were given an unsolved protein chain and told to twist, turn and warp it until it had the most stable structure with the lowest energy consumption.

 In just ten days, 57,000+ players logged in, learned how to play, and presumably not even reading the goddamn quest line, zerged the end boss and created the chemical key to the retrovirus. Then, in the true spirit of gaming, the item was quickly ninja looted by a lurking scientist who quickly logged off before a GM could show up.

As a result, the scientific community is genuinely impressed and gamers everywhere are patting themselves on the back and bragging about how they “totally PWND teh science n00bs”. Yet in the light of congratulations and accomplishment, I alone seem to be the only one looking around nervously and asking the most obvious of questions:

When the f**k did human body become a fleshy, hackable game of Tetris?

Doesn’t that blend the edges of reality just a little too much? Doesn’t it frighten anyone else that just by playing a videogame, we did what scientists couldn’t and advanced the possible cure of HIV by years? I’m held in the grips of terror by the seeming GOOD news that “pU$$yPWNR69” pretty much ganked the people who dedicate their lives to medical research.

Now, some of you are probably thinking: “Coyote, you’re being irrational. This is a huge badge of honor for the gaming community. It proves that we’re not just a bunch of immature Warcraft kids slapping away mindlessly at a keyboard. The gaming community basically hacked the human body, and that accomplishment could eventually lead to saving thousands, if not millions of lives.” 

Yeah. That’s exactly my point. It could lead to saving lives and helping mankind. It could lead to more of these “puzzles” being developed for gamers to solve. It could lead to harmony, happiness, and health for the entire world – IF you overlook one tiny little undeniable fact:

The gaming community is full of assholes.

Now, before any of you go all super saiyan with rage and start in with “shot behind the barn” comments or the poorly composed private message death threats, give me the chance to clarify my statement. Asshole doesn’t always mean “jerk” or “bad person” or even “person who wants to do you harm out of cruelty or malice”. Sometimes it can just mean “person who thinks something is too irresistibly funny to pass up”.

 As a max level asshole myself, I know what I’m talking about.

But for the sake of helping you see the true depths of my fears, let me offer you this scenario:

Imagine that you and your wife/girlfriend/virtual spouse application from Japan are trying to conceive a child. After months of trying to conceive a child, you have had no success, and you have nothing to show for your efforts beyond a sore hand from all the high-fiving your buddies are giving you because you’ve actually had sex.

You’re frustrated, she’s frustrated, and that heaviness is beginning to affect your relationship. Every night is full of tears and wanting, and finally you can’t take her suffering and emotional distress, and you go to the doctor.

“Good news!” He tells you in a voice that sounds like Professor Farnsworth from Futurama because for legal reasons that phrase can now only be heard as if he said it. “Because of an interactive game we developed, our in vitro fertilization process now has a 100% success rate!”

You’re elated, and hugging each other tightly, you both weep tears of pure joy.

Good to his word, the process takes immediately. Your wife is pregnant with your child, there are no complications, and the pregnancy proceeds as normal with no issues of health or mind. Life is good, and you thank your Gods for those dedicated gamers who helped you through your tough times with this miracle.

Then it happens – your wife goes into labor. You remember all of your training, all of your procedures and birthing class lessons, and you rush her to the hospital where your wife gives birth to your first child. Your heart swells with pride. You’re a father.

There’s a soft knock on the hospital door, and with a smile on his face, the nurse brings you your child…

Yeah.

Now tell me that it would never, ever happen, and that you didn’t giggle just a little bit at the thought. Tell me honestly that gamers should have access to molecular level changes that affect the human body. And do you know what the worst part about my entire point is? Upon seeing that picture, I now kinda want this to happen.

Disregard everything you’ve just read.

-Coyote

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