Lobster on a gray background

Lobster Slots, or, Today’s Interactivity




Juan Torres

For the last time, I contend with the words of Mr. Doug Eyman. However, I decided to end off this semester’s round of blog posts with a discussion about Lobster Slots.

Hear me out. Towards the end of his textbook chapter, Eyman advocates for study of the digital humanities. Topics he’d like to see in scholarship include “open access to materials, intellectual property rights, tool development, digital libraries, data mining, born-digital preservation, multimedia publication,” and so on. For once, I can’t find anything wrong about this. These are topics that are important to discuss; arguably, from a young age. Even young adults are digital natives, after all.

If I finally want to tie this into interactivity, how about automation? I mean, if there’s any hallmark of how technology responds to human stimulus, the evolution of automation is a good place to start. It’s especially easy with publicly available generative AI clients. Put in a prompt. The algorithm responds with a human creation-based slurry. The responses changes based on our prompts. Microsoft’s Copilot even has image editing tools and presets.

So, let’s talk about Lobster Slots.

I can’t take credit for the meat of discussion regarding Lobster Slots. Independent blog Animation Obsessive are the true stalwarts of that talk. In short, a pair of app developers gradually perfected the art of telling Unity to shit out slot machine apps. They even automated the process of uploading the resulting slop to Google Play and Amazon. In the process, they made a pretty penny. Arguably, they stuck it to the man.

I suppose my point is that assembly line creations have already been a problem. At the same time, I do wonder how much ethical slack I’m willing to give Schwartz and Scott. How many stolen images did their algorithm scrape? The article never specifies whether they followed any licensing etiquette. Are they simply just part of the problem after a point? How did they use their money in the end?

One could say that Lobster Slots is a case study of digital humanities. I imagine it’s a story Eyman would like to hear. It shows how humans can manipulate the system, through code, to create rather cynical results. Considering how many downloads 3D Sexy Skin Slots – Free got, I wonder to what point end users particularly care.


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