Described As despicable by Senator Edward Kennedy, a downloadable game that re-enacts the JFK assassination is predictably causing a media storm. Developed by Stirling-based Traffic Games, JFK Reloaded puts you in the shoes of Lee Harvey Oswald on top of the Dallas Book Depository, rifle in hand, as the motorcade looms into view on the fateful day of November 22 1963 -all for the price of $9.99. Replicate Oswald's actions accurately, and you could even win a cash prize - with over $10,000 dollars in the pot at the time of writing.
Naturally, the game has caused offence - not least to the Kennedy family - but the debate surrounds the medium rather than the content. After all, you can watch actual footage of the assassination, read about it extensively, visit the museum in Dallas and even stand on the painted cross on the road where Kennedy's head famously exploded. And of course, there's the awardwinning JFK film, which is widely hailed as a masterpiece.
As Traffic MD Kirk Ewing says: It does seem hypocritical to us that because we used videogame technology to recreate the assassination, then we're somehow undermining the event. I personally find Oliver Stone's movie more controversial because he uses film to create conspiracy and distort history for what, I assume, is his own and the studio's financial gain. It's another example of people assuming that somehow by being a game, it's a lesser medium, whereas as we all know, videogames are an engaging and immersive way to experience things.
This would appear to be backed up by the consumer response, with Ewing claiming: It's been a phenomenon, and people are coming back for more and more. We've just put the high-score table up, and at the moment the highest score is 748. That guy is set to win the highest prize ever in videogames history. The most amazing thing has been the level of debate about what we've done. People that have actually used it have written to us amazed at the depth of JFKR. Some people have assumed that the experience would be too short-lived. I don't think they realised that you could play with it so much, but the truth is once you've seen it, you go back to it again and again to try out the different options. Because of the level of technology involved, specifically the ballistics and ragdoll physics we've used, the experience is incredibly rich and detailed."
With front-page splashes in the broadsheets, and the incandescent explosion of the American media, we can only assume that this piece of controversy is set to be a lucrative one. The game itself is a fun one, all 30 seconds of it, but we can also report that every shot tends to come with a feeling of being pretty disappointed in yourself. Entertainment, outrage, money-spinner, or all three? The lines get even blurrier...
Download JFK Reloaded
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP