The Facebook account of a warship in the US Navy, USS Kidd (DDG-100), was commandeered on 3 October in order to livestream the classic 1990s game Age of Empires. By Wednesday 6 October, five more broadcasts of the game, each lasting an hour or more, had been posted to the official account of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.
USS Kidd is a guided-missile destroyer in the United States Navy named after Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who perished on board the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbour. It was laid down in 2005 and is part of Destroyer Squadron 23 of Carrier Strike Group 9. Age of Empires is a beloved 24 year-old strategy game with a 2D isometric perspective.
“The official Facebook page for USS Kidd (DDG 100) was hacked,” Navy spokesperson Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman told Task & Purpose. “We are currently working with Facebook technical support to resolve the issue.”
The first gameplay video was accompanied by the caption: “Hahahahaha.” Following videos featured captions including “play game”, “hi everyone”, “hi guys”, while the Navy’s official page description was edited to read “Gaming video creator”. Despite the length of the livestreams, the player never makes it past the Stone Age.
The most recent video had 11,000 views by 7 October. Comments on the videos ranged in content from the puzzled responses of relatives of serving crew, to criticisms of the player’s idle villagers.
“When my son comes home tomorrow he’s not going to [be] able to live this down if it’s one of his FC’s [fire controlman],” said one commenter. “Somebody teach this guy how to play,” said another.
First released in 1997, the real-time strategy game was developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft. It spawned a franchise that remains popular today, with its sequel, in particular, the subject of competitive tournaments.
In 2012, Kidd rescued the crew of the vessel Al Molai from Somali pirates. In 2014, Kidd joined the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean. In the summer of 2019, Kidd was reportedly swarmed by mysterious “drones”, which prompted high-level inquiries in the Navy and the FBI.