TANGENT 'Survivor' takes tasteless too far
Otacon: An upstart video game company is planning to make a game called "Survivor," in which players try to survive some of the world's greatest disasters. One of the levels puts players inside the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. What do you think about this?
Vivi: Just when you thought video games couldn't get any more offensive, along comes "Survivor." This company has no idea how much wrath they'll suffer.
NoisyNinja: You know I don't have any sensitivity or tact, but using Sept. 11 in a video game is completely unfathomable. This is too tactless even for me.
Vivi: The only thing that could make this more offensive would be if you had to collect coins on the way out of the World Trade Center.
Otacon: There are a lot of problems with the concept. There's no question about that. But, in defense of the game, the idea is to save other people while you save yourself. "Survivor" does encourage a certain morality.
Vivi: So instead of coins, you're collecting people? Sorry, but that really doesn't redeem the game in my eyes.
NoisyNinja: I'll admit I'm prejudging the game. After all, it's still being made and might not even be released. But I can't imagine how the developers can do this in a way that isn't wholly disrespectful to victims.
Vivi: There's a certain amount of fear that's OK to have in games. "Resident Evil" is a good example. But those games occur in fictional environments. Playing through events you know happened could be traumatizing.
Otacon: Would you feel better about "Survivor" if it didn't have the Sept. 11 level? What if it kept all its other levels -- like escaping the sinking Titanic, avoiding peril during the Mexico City earthquake and surviving the bombing of Hiroshima -- but dropped the New York level?
NoisyNinja: I'd feel a little better about it, but I'd feel better still if we were only talking about fictionalized events.
Otacon: Well, you can't do fictionalized events with this game because the whole point is to participate in these reenactments.
NoisyNinja: If that's the case, I don't think there's any way you can succeed. No matter what event you reenact, you'll offend someone. Replay Studios should just drop the idea now, before it gets them into trouble.
Vivi: Actually, if they want to make a game about great escapes, I think it'd be more useful to show how to escape a theater that's showing "Titanic." That way you could learn how to save three hours of your life.
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