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.