role playing 9/11
I got to work especially early that day. I did the usual routine of buying my coffee, going outside by West Street for my cigarette, and heading upstairs to the 87th floor to my office.
No, that's not another story from a survivor of 9/11. It's a made-up story from a video game - 911 Survivor (Mod based on the Unreal Game Engine).
When I first saw this page, I was hoping it was a hoax. But this is a real company, making real video games.
From the page that describes the game and the reason for making it:
From here on the other side of the world, it is safe to say that many found it difficult to form deep empathies with the victims of the attack. Unless we knew people personally involved, it was more tempting to celebrate the event as a spectacular undermining of an international dictatorship; one so out of touch with the morality of global equality that it now considers itself free from international law due to self-adorned ‘exceptionalism’.
The makers of this game could find no empathy within themselves for the victims of the attack. And then they thought, what better way to dig up some fake tears then to put yourself there?
The World Trade Centre will never stand again, but in this modification of a computer game, we can use fantasy to imagine ourselves transported there. In this fantasy, we can attempt to understand what it might have really felt like in the last moments of those people's lives. This game mod sets out to provide both the makers, and all other users, with an opportunity to empathically comprehend the reality of what happened at the WTC.
So, by engaging in a little role-playing, where you become the victim, you can relieve your guilt over not feeling any empathy by playing a game about a terrible tragedy that took 3,000 lives.
Some "highlights" of the game:
- Recreate Twin Towers: Different floors need to be in different states - normal, fiery, debris, and mixes of each
- Scenarios: Have to choose between being engulfed by flames or jumping from window
- Sounds: Yells and screams
I don't know if this game is even available - the last update to the game page was in February. Still, the thought behind this game is sickening. Basically, it's something like - even though America deserved this, let's see if we can dig up some emotion by pretending we are the ones jumping out of the building.
Hey, if you don't feel anything about that day, that's your problem. If you think America deserved this, if the deaths of 3,000 people didn't cause you to blink an eye, don't worry about it. They probably didn't want your sympathy anyhow. Creating a game engine that helps you find your way to that place in your soul where you may feel something - and obviously some people can only feel empathy for themselves - then you need more than a video game to help you.
Why would these gamers, or anyone for that matter, want to roam around in a virtual replication of a building moments before it became a coffin for over 2000 people? Why would anyone want to spend endless hours practising to kill enemies in a computer game? The answer is specifically because these activities are fantasy, because we can’t perform them in real life. The violence is not the primary motivation; many computer games do not contain any violence at all. But all games allow us to enact fantasies that are otherwise prohibited, restricted or impossible in reality.
Point taken. But most of those games are based on fantasy. They are made up scenarios designed to look nothing like reality. It's not so much the violence that disturbs me in this one or even the reality of the situation. After all, I have played many video games that simulate real wars. It is the reasoning behind the making of this game that makes me want to take the creators and shove their faces into the rubble that was the World Trade Center.
Let me repeat that one line for you:
Unless we knew people personally involved, it was more tempting to celebrate the event as a spectacular undermining of an international dictatorship; one so out of touch with the morality of global equality that it now considers itself free from international law due to self-adorned ‘exceptionalism’
I know a bunch of people over here who will probably buy this game if it's ever released. Which tells you a whole lot about it.