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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

'Among Us' Was Hit With Pro-Trump Spam

Hello, and welcome once again to Replay, WIRED's twice-monthly column about everything happening in the world of video games. The weather's starting to get colder, but the news over the past couple of weeks has been spicy as ever. Here’s everything you might have missed.

Among Us Hit by Spam Attack Following AOC Stream

Recently, US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) engaged with the voting public via a big Twitch stream in which she played the party game/treachery simulator Among Us. Not long after, the game was plagued by a spam attack that launched a bevy of pro-Republican messages to players, which seems … possibly related. Players found themselves locked out of games and instead spammed with messages telling them to "subscribe to Eris Loris" along with an endorsement of President Trump. According to IGN, the attack crippled the game for a time while InnerSloth, its developers, worked to push an emergency update.

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Interestingly, this is one hack where the culprit is, uh, pretty clear: Eris Loris is a YouTube channel run by, presumably, the hacker in question. Eurogamer spoke with this individual, who said that they make hacks for a variety of games—they sell cheats, essentially—and that the Among Us attack, which was perpetrated using bots, was "a publicity stunt." As for the Trump endorsement, the individual said, "I'm a college student, and I support Trump," which, yeah, that all checks out. Case closed, gang.

The Navy's Guidelines for Talking About War Crimes on Twitch

Speaking of Twitch, did you know that recently the US military has been making an effort to use the platform to promote the armed services? If you spend any time there, you probably do. But for those who don’t, just know that the move has been fairly controversial and has resulted in a lot of chatter about American war crimes on Twitch. Now, thanks to journalist Micah Loewinger and an Freedom of Information Act request, we know a bit more about the training given to potential Navy streamers who will be faced with the aggression of Twitch chat, including the ever popular question "What's your favorite war crime?"

While the proper response would probably be to say "Yikes," the Navy, as Loewinger discovered, actually came up with a few different responses, such as "I'm here to play games. I have no interest in engaging in personal attacks," and "I am here to hang out with people like me who love gaming. If you want to know more about my life in the Navy, I'm happy to discuss. But I will not speak on behalf of others."

These responses, as Kotaku points out, seem more evasive than convincing. Very much the same energy as "I came out here to have a good time and I'm honestly feeling so attacked right now," which, actually, would likely be a more effective response. Loewinger's request reveals a lot of other interesting intel, like recruitment strategies and the military’s recommended games, which include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (naturally) and Grand Theft Auto V (somewhat less naturally).

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Guillermo del Toro Really Wanted Master Chief to Have an Evil Twin

In news that is a bit hard to make sense of, fans are just now learning a bit more about that Halo movie that never came to pass. And by “a bit more” we mean the film’s would-be director, Guillermo del Toro, very much wanted stoic supersoldier Master Chief to have an evil twin.

As reported by IGN, one of the original Halo game's environmental artists, Paul Russel, brought this up on a recent stream. "Del Toro was pitching this to [Joseph Staten, Halo's cinematic director and writer] at his house. He was punching Joe on the arm and going, 'And they're brothers! And they're going to fight at the end!'"

OK, cool. But: Why? Just … just why?

Recommendation of the Week: Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs by the Chinese Room

It's almost Halloween, so here's another horror game recommendation for you. Few series have propelled survival horror video gaming in the past decade as much as the Amnesia series, and the sequel/spinoff Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs from Dear Esther developers the Chinese Room is a franchise standout. It’s a bizarre and moody little experiment that takes the tools of the original atmospheric horror game and uses them to tell a story that is both thematically resonant and scary as hell.

In the game, available for PC, you wake up as a man in a massive Victorian home, on an auspicious date: December 31st, 1899. What horrors will the new century bring? What horrors will you find within your home, within yourself? It's a cool mystery, and the true premise, which you'll uncover as the game goes on, is authentically chilling.

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