Just last month, I created a few articles centred around the globally successful and vitally-addictive Apple ‘game'(?) ‘Stolen’, a game where you compete with other real world users to purchase desired Twitter accounts like trading cards.
I was hooked, and so too were tens of thousands of users. Hundreds of thousands wanted to get in to this exclusive game, but couldn’t due to its strict and hard ‘get-in’ feature of codes.
When I finally got in, I was greeted by a very fast, very fun game. Little did I know the controversy building up around it.
Suddenly, backlash came in thick and fast. Despite it having some super-power ‘celebrity’ backing (many notable accounts played the game) the developers were inundated with hateful messages and even a cease-and-dismiss from a disgruntled congresswoman. Chen, the creator of the App, suddenly deleted the App entirely, much to the shock of tens of thousands of fans.
Early in Stolen’s short little inception, Zoe Quinn – the original target of GamerGate, had sent the company a rather blunt and brutally sharp note demanding her profile to be removed from the game. Chen hastily complied, but Quinn’s statement to Chen that morning was not demeaning in its aim. Instead, noticing the immense backlash aimed at Chen by ex-Stolen players, she offered her professional assistance and support.
In a segment for The Verge, Casey Newton quotes her as saying,”I know how nasty backlash can be on the internet,” Quinn says. “I just reached out — I was like, ‘hey, I hope you guys are all right. I know you got a lot of backlash. If stuff gets scary or anything, I do run an anti-harassment organization. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.’”
This led to today’s recreation of the iOS App, this time called ‘Famous’ and offering a lot less controversy.
Rather than using currency to purchase users, it uses ‘fame’ symbolised by hearts. Rather than owning someone, you become ‘their biggest fan’. It’s language that is severely toned down from the original game, much to the support of both Quinn and likely many past sceptics.
I was lucky enough to be amongst the first to receive a download code for it, given exclusively by an individual so that I could write this report. The game itself, at the moment at least, is much slower and frankly more ‘dead’ than the original, namely due to the lack of verified accounts which were the most sought-after accounts in the past. Instead, I’m met by a wall of ‘nobodies’, people I don’t know and have no intention of buying.
There is no chat feature, namely due to the backlash this may cause Chen, and there’s no way to directly interact with one another.
Let’s hope this game picks up pace, and verified accounts start getting added, otherwise sadly this game will join its predecessor in App market heaven. I loved the original, so Chen, please don’t let this happen!
-Benjamin John Wareing