Quite a thought provoking essay about the sense and rationale of suicide bombing (by way of gaming) over at Wired (via Schneier on Security). Except in real life, of course, no one gets a screen pop-up after they die telling them they killed someone from “beyond the grave”. Then again, I guess we’ll never know. Snip:
(…) I’m an adult, with a job and wife and kid, so I get maybe an hour with Halo on a good day. I wind up sucking far, far more than most other Halo 3 players, and despite the best attempts of Xbox Live to match me up with similarly lame players, I usually wind up at the bottom of my group’s rankings — stumbling haplessly about while getting slaughtered over and over again.
So after a few weeks of this ritual humiliation, I got sick of it. And I devised a simple technique for revenge.
Whenever I find myself under attack by a wildly superior player, I stop trying to duck and avoid their fire. Instead, I turn around and run straight at them. I know that by doing so, I’m only making it easier for them to shoot me — and thus I’m marching straight into the jaws of death. Indeed, I can usually see my health meter rapidly shrinking to zero.
But at the last second, before I die, I’ll whip out a sticky plasma grenade — and throw it at them. Because I’ve run up so close, I almost always hit my opponent successfully. I’ll die — but he’ll die too, a few seconds later when the grenade goes off. (When you pull off the trick, the game pops up a little dialog box noting that you killed someone “from beyond the grave.”)
It was after pulling this maneuver a couple of dozen times that it suddenly hit me: I had, quite unconsciously, adopted the tactics of a suicide bomber — or a kamikaze pilot.
The “suicide mission” is as old as warfare, and always has the same logic.