Dishonoring JFK's death


Mark Follman
November 23, 2004 12:41AM (UTC)

There's certainly no dearth of appalling diversions in the era of hyper-violent digital gaming, and so it's probably only right that a few of its more opportunistic purveyors also seek to capitalize on America's current taste for rabid partisan politics.

Indeed, NRA gunslingers from the red states and salivating 13-year-old boys alike are probably gonna love "JFK Reloaded," the latest offering dreamed up by developer Traffic Games -- and released just in time for today's 41st anniversary of President Kennedy's murder in Dallas. The player gets to revel in the role of Lee Harvey Oswald on the six floor of the Texas School Book Depository, the objective being, of course, to riddle the 35th president's passing motorcade with bullets.

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Well, only three of them. Indeed, concerned moms might take comfort in the company's claim that there is some educational value here: "Points are awarded or subtracted based on how accurately the shots match the official version of events as documented by the Warren Commission," reports Reuters. "Shooting the image of Kennedy in the right spots in the right sequence adds to the score, while 'errors' like shooting first lady Jacqueline Kennedy lead to deductions. Each shot can be replayed in slow motion, and the bullets can be tracked as they travel and pass through Kennedy's digitally recreated body. Players can choose to see blood by pressing a 'blood effects' option."

Says Kirk Ewing, managing director of the Scottish firm that developed the game, "We believe that the only thing we're exploiting is new technology."

That, and perhaps a new trend in outsourcing tasteless politics-cum-entertainment. It's a product launch that, at least at the moment, may prove quite well-suited for American import and consumption.


Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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