Last Friday I was found guilty inside a court, for a crime I did not commit.
No, I’m not trying to revive the 80’s with a story of a vigilante on the wrong end of the justice system, fighting crime in a vehicle that talks with a bionic arm or something. I am in fact the victim of ‘the system’ as it were. The ‘Driver Vehicle licensing Agency’ or DVLA for short, is a government faction, built on some of the most ludicrous methods you could imagine, with a revenue system based on what I like to call, magic numbers™.
Magic numbers™ are everywhere today, not just governmental law enforcement factions. Facebook games, mobile games, generally online based games and applications with shitty inconsequential achievements to obtain. Online based payments systems are being abused in a way that is set to be the future if we allow it.
The DVLA have a slightly different version of these Magic numbers™. At first you have bribes, or as they call them, ‘fines’.
Pay these early enough for your ‘crimes’ and you can get away literally scot-free, blameless, in the clear!. As long as the money is involved, the ‘crime’ magically disappears. The crime I have supposedly committed is failure to deliver a letter to them, to notify them I have sold my motorcycle. Out of the 16 bikes I’ve owned, I’ve never failed to do this in the past but they insist that I could not have posted the letter, so now they deem me to be a criminal. £35 and providing I admit guilt they’ll forget the issue but I didn’t, it’s a principle thing. So the fine *cough*bribe*cough* went up to £65, again, I refused to pull down my pants and have the DVLA shove this fantasy up my arse.
What I don’t get is just how they come up with £65 for something I cannot hear, taste or punch. Sixty Five pounds for what exactly? It appears as a government agency you can make up whatever figure you like. I’m a phone call away, a quick email between fact and fiction. Sixty five pounds to say, “Hey DVLA, yeah, sorry for not predicting the future, it appears your words hold more weight than my futile attempt at decency…please accept this £65 as a contribution to a system that clearly keeps us all in line”
And I’m the criminal?
The guy who bought my bike had to write a letter to the DVLA to ask why it wasn’t in his name yet. They proceeded to send me a letter stating “If you do not reply to this letter, we’ll assume it is now his bike”. Without a reply you would think all was good in the world and logic had prevailed. Instead they decided to come and metaphorically shit on my lawn. It’s at this point I stopped caring. At first I was genuinely concerned about the guy who had bought the bike and the fact he had to write them a letter, how annoying…I thought. I went from considerate citizen to a man who was on the verge of buying a trench coat, a sawn off shotgun and enough ammunition for everyone at the DVLA, leaving one round for myself. And before you go running off to someone about that statement to make a fuss, I played it all out in my mind, complete with my own made up soundtrack, which, by the way is mine, I own it.
When I stood there in court, back in 2011, telling the magistrates that neither of us have proof of anything, just our own opinions. I also mentioned the fact that thousands of people’s vehicle registration documents had gone missing, from head office (I was issued with a new one because of this) The drone sent to defend the DVLA that day said, ‘They weren’t lost, they were stolen’. Fuck me, there you go again, someone else is to blame. Whoever is to blame will probably have to pay £650 bribe, the ‘zero’ must be added due to the severity of the crime.
Talking of money laundering assholes. Microsoft have their own version of Magic Numbers™ on Xbox Live. Again, the system is quite simple. Create things that aren’t a physical reality and pop a price on it depending on how much you think it would be, if it were real. Gaming used to be an industry based on fun, limitless, endless, fun. In the last decade gamers have been steam rolled by the industry into what is fast becoming one of the most lucrative business on the planet.
Taking a small example from XBL in the UK, this is how it works. Using just the ‘A’ button you can input all of your personal information onto the Microsoft database along with your credit card details. From there you can purchase a make-believe currency created by Microsoft. In the UK the smallest amount you can purchase is 400 points, for £4.75. So then you can go and have a look at what is for sale. Things like, over priced downloadable games, add-on’s for your games or clothing for your avatar character.
I’m currently playing Fight Night Round 4 quite a lot. I know EA are a penny-pinching outfit of suits but I have to admit, the games are pretty good and i buy them. I mean, just because Steve Jobs died creating your I-phone through the use of child labour and poor working conditions, doesn’t mean you won’t buy it.
In the game you have certain special attributes you can unlock for your fighter, one being increased stamina, virtual stamina remember. To unlock this in-game, you probably have to beat Muhammad Ali with bricks in your shoes…or you could just buy it. For 120 gamer points, increased stamina is yours. So now it takes longer for your character to receive irreversible brain damage in the ring.
Don’t forget, this content for your character is actually contained on the disc itself, so it’s there but you’re not allowed it. Back on subject, this leaves you with an uneven amount of 280 points.
This won’t get you an awful lot on XBL but it could get you some smaller items, like some virtual shoes for your virtual avatar. So to purchase something of value again you’ll have to spend another £4.75 or more to have enough.
It’s hard to escape Magic Numbers™. It seems to begetting worse with the ‘convenience’ of online payment systems. The issue with the Microsoft points has been around for a while, I’m just merely pointing out this sort of shit is on the rise.
It’s the equivalent of buying a new book, getting three-quarters of the way through and not being able to open the rest of the pages…with a note that says “Hey, you’re really enjoying this book, want to read the rest? Well, enter all of your personal details here, pay some amount of money and the book shop will open the rest of the pages for you”
We’re doomed. Even in the virtual world of gaming, rich people have us by the short and curlies, stomping all over our sand castles and laughing about it. I can only imagine how many familes have already been brought to their knees, because they can’t keep up with their childrens obsession for virtual clothing items for their avatar, yet alone the real clothes they need to go and ruin in real life. I wouldn’t be surprised if in future role playing games you’ll be paying some sort of tax for your in-game accommodation and before you go out adventuring, you’ll need to make sure you’ll need contents insurance incase someone decides to steal all of you shit, because they’re virtually poor.