Edward Snowden was inspired by video games to expose government surveillance

Man who leaked documents showing far-reaching government snooping describes himself as somewhat of a video game hero.

Edward Snowden, the man responsible for what might be the most significant leak of classified documents in United States history, was at least partially inspired to do so by video games.

As part of a GQ profile of Glenn Greenwald, one of the journalists Snowden leaked documents to, Greenwald says Snowden saw himself as sort of a traditional video game hero. Here's the excerpt:

"In Hong Kong, Snowden told me that at the heart of most video games is an ordinary individual who sees some serious injustice, right? Like some person who's been kidnapped and you've got to rescue them, or some evil force that has obtained this weapon and you've got to deactivate it or kill them or whatever. And it's all about figuring out ways to empower yourself as an ordinary person, to take on powerful forces in a way that allows you to undermine them in pursuit of some public good. Even if it's really risky or dangerous. That moral narrative at the heart of video games was part of his preadolescence and formed part of his moral understanding of the world and one's obligation as an individual."

Documents leaked by Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, have revealed far-reaching government surveillance efforts. One particular document he leaked last year showed that United States and British spies infiltrated games like World of Warcraft and Second Life, as well as Xbox Live, in an effort to hunt down terrorists.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

197 comments
tightwad34
tightwad34

Apparently my comments are being deleted. So I will say that he shouldn't be chastised for simply saying what he felt should be the "truth", which the gov't is trying and always has been trying to keep from us. I don't care anymore especially because you absolutely cannot believe what you read and sadly there are way too many people who don't realize that. Unfortunately the news is all we will know about a country unless we go there for ourselves(with the exception of the few people that know someone who has been recently or is there).

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

He's just saying this to get video games banned, since he won't be playing them in prison he doesn't want us playing them anymore either.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

Snowden is no hero. The Americans who support him should be ashamed. He should be caught, tried, convicted of treason and executed. End of Story.

Wildwolf124
Wildwolf124

Well Gamespot. It just shows how willfully ignorant you all are. You pend everything you don't want to hear and I'm done wasting my time.

liquidbutter
liquidbutter

What kind of a hero exposes corruption by just packing up everything he possibly can get off the servers at his workplace indiscriminately, sending all of it to the media and telling them to expose wrongdoings? Because that's all Edward Snowden did. He didn't find corruption, Glenn Greenwald found the corruption. Edward Snowden is just a guy that collected the data and nothing more. You too could be just as much a hero by ripping all the data from the servers at your own workplace and sending it to the media. You don't have to be aware of any wrongdoings or prove that it's in there. Let the media do that for you. LIKE A HERO.

sirchick
sirchick

Let me guess, cameo appearance in Watch Dogs incoming...

Triton
Triton

Nice modern day,traitor / Benedict Arnold type loser. Who cares what he thinks these days. He will get his sooner or later.

Rennik_Repotsir
Rennik_Repotsir

In video games the player keeps fighting and advancing to finish his mission/quest. Imagine playing Dark Souls II and just hang around in Majula...

vadagar1
vadagar1

random government guy: "where do i put this mass extermination report we did in Oblakistan?!! lets see 20 thousand died because we wanted that oil field ...."


random intelligence guy:" oh yah that one, I tell you it was fun mowing down all those kids with Gatling guns... good times... just put it on the server, who cares, its not like these sheep we govern will even bother, they are too busy stuffing their face with meat and watching Kimm Kardashyan, LOL"


random government guy:" ahah your right, now lets go steal some federal reserve funds and give them to weapon manufactures and Umbrella"


: /


yes clearly this man is a traitor .... if traitor means exposing murderers and money barons

vadagar1
vadagar1

we meet again... Dr... ...ehhmmm.... free..man 


I'm sure...ehmmm.. you willll... make ... the right ...choiceeee ....

Urizen316
Urizen316

So videogames inspired him to do good deeds and vanquish evil, but now he's a traitor to 'Murica?
Doesn't that make the good ol' U-S of A like, the errr, bad guys?

gajbutler
gajbutler

Gotta be inspired by something, if video games weren't around then it would be something else.

amaneuvering
amaneuvering

See; video games, even the violent ones where you're shooting up lots of bad guys, can actually teach you valuable moral lessons about how you should live your life and strive for what is true, good and right.

Lord_Python1049
Lord_Python1049

if only so many of the commenters did the same in their lives. We live our own narratives... are you the hero, or the villain?

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

Gotta laugh at the comments below hearing people call snowden a hero blah... Anyone with two brain cells knows that all governments are corrupt in one form or another only difference is if their dirty laundry gets aired out or not.

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

So just because he was inspired by games does not mean thats the only reason he did it. You fools are taking this out of context big time. Keep going, time top expose more government corruption and wrong doing. Time to expose the real owners of the white house which is world banking cartel.

liquidbutter
liquidbutter

Could I be a hero too if I copied everything on the servers at work and sent it all in bulk to the media? I mean, there's got to be something bad on there.

bongsyas_23
bongsyas_23

i'm learning to be a programmer, and it's fun!

shivam024
shivam024

i love video games too, and i am also inspired by some games,  BEHOLD PEOPLE, COMMANDER SHEPARD IS coming!!! now where is my normandy ?? only if i had one :P :D

djsimpson95
djsimpson95

He is totally lost in his own fantasy. Showing top secret infos of the US to Commies is treason, not heroism.

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

Oh god, and I thought he had some sensible reasons for doing what he did.

Now it turns out he's some delusional escapist fantasist who got lost on the road to reality. That's depressing.

metallinatus
metallinatus

But.. but mamma told me games are bad....

suprsolider
suprsolider

He is part of the Rebel Alliance and a Traitor.


Take him away.



ANUBISZER0
ANUBISZER0

So, if this was Final Fantasy 7, he'd be a member of Avalanche?

Cellwind
Cellwind

How the hell is he a hero!? Nothing has changed since he leaked that information.

vadagar1
vadagar1

@Urizen316 awwww u watched too many movies


there is no such thing as good or bad


only.. POWER

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

@liquidbutter  He is a hero for having the balls to expose corrupt government wrong doing, go Snowden. Its only the tip of the iceberg.

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

@djsimpson95  Exposing government corruption and wrong doing is not a treason. White house is full of traitors for selling America to the world banking cartel criminals.

Maverick6585
Maverick6585

@metallinatus  Momma says alligators are always so grumpy 'cause they've got all them teeth but no toothbrush

tightwad34
tightwad34

@vadagar1 Generic comment against "Murica" will always be generic. Just tell them it's nice to be on the bandwagon.

liquidbutter
liquidbutter

@WolfgarTheQuiet @liquidbutter He didn't expose anything. Glenn Greenwald did. Snowden just packed up everything he could get off the servers and sent it all to Glenn Greenwald. Then Glenn sorted through it, finding the things that needed to be expose. To quote Glenn Greenwald: "He actually didn't reveal any of that. What he did was he came to newspapers and said "I want you to vet through this information and disclose what it is the public ought to know and withhold that which they shouldn't.""


Edward Snowden isn't a whistleblower.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

No you twit. He opened up all that info to the world. More than just news about gov spying...which we all knew anyway.

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

@metallinatus @Cellwind Yeah. Chunks of Europe now are incredibly distrustful of America.

It's like walking in on your two best friends talking about those annoying habbits of yours behind your back. You're still friends, kind, but you just don't look at them the same way any more.