Thursday, April 30, 2009

Controversial video games keep on coming




TV shows like “Law & Order” aren’t the only form of entertainment that can claim subjects that are “ripped from the headlines.”
Video games are getting their inspiration from real-life events too. From games that riff on rampant layoffs and the bailout of U.S. banks to ones that poke fun at the foibles of political figures, interactive entertainment developers have become quite topical.
In some cases, the video games themselves become news because their content offends people.

"Swinefighter: The Swine Flu Game"

One new online game is based on the outbreak of swine flu that’s been in the news lately. In “Swinefighter: The Swine Flu Game,” players have to shoot flying pigs representing viruses. Players control a doctor character who wears a facemask and carries a giant syringe. “Swinefighter” is from Heyzap.

"Saving Captain Phillips"

Another online game is based on the U.S. Navy rescue of an American freighter captain from Somali pirates. In “Saving Captain Phillips,” you play a Navy sniper who has to pick off four pirates with a high-powered rifle to save the hostage. “Saving Captain Phillips” was developed by Games2win. Play it here.
Those games follow three recent games that caused outrage among some groups.

"Baby Shaker"

Apple pulled an iPhone game called “Baby Shaker” from its App Store on April 22 after groups condemned the game for encouraging people to quiet a crying baby with a vigorous shake.
The App Store description of the game included the line, “See how long you can endure his or her adorable cries before you just have to find a way to quiet the baby down!”
Once the iPhone owner finishes shaking the device, the on-screen baby is depicted with large red X’s over its eyes. Organizations protesting the game included the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, according to the Associated Press.

"Faith Fighter"

Another controversial game recently was “Faith Fighter,” a “Mortal Kombat”-style fighting game featuring deities and holy men. In the game, players can choose to fight as such figures as God, Jesus, Buddha and the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims were particularly incensed about the depiction of Muhammad.
Italian game developer Molleindustria pulled the game earlier this month, the AP reported. But it’s still available on other sites like NewGrounds.com.

"Six Days in Fallujah"

And finally, the publisher behind a video game based on one of the Iraq war’s fiercest battles has pulled the plug on the title, called “Six Days in Fallujah,” according to news reports this week.
The game, which had been set for release by Konami next year, sought to re-create the November 2004 Fallujah battle from the perspective of a U.S. Marine fighting against insurgents. But some veterans, victims’ families and others criticized the game, calling it inappropriate.

Photos, top to bottom:
“Swinefighter” screen shot
“Saving Captain Phillips” screen shot
“Faith Fighter” screen shot
“Six Days in Fallujah” screen shot

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