Game Industry Responds to Tragedy
10:43 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Video game developers and publishers are certainly human beings first and foremost, but in the past they have been accused by elements of society of creating "entertainment" out of the depiction of human suffering and death. Many developers will tell you vehemently that nothing could be further from the truth -- they have faith that their audience can clearly distinguish between fantasy and reality, and even the most extreme video game is often much tamer than an R-rated film. Nevertheless the industry is increasingly aware of its position as part of the broad spectrum of media, and it is reacting in its own way to the events that took place Tuesday, September 11th, 2001.
Game companies and the web sites that cover them are looking for a way to participate in the cleanup and recovery, to do something else than sit idly by while others suffer. GameRankings.com is collecting donated copies of games from companies such as Westwood Studios, Activision, Infogrames and others as well as their own review copies and selling them on eBay, with all proceeds to be donated to the Red Cross disaster relief fund. While these are mostly PC games, there are also PlayStation, PS2 and N64 games included in the list so far, so stop by and bid on any items you are interested in.
Stomped is reporting that Wal-Mart may be pulling all copies of Westwood's Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 from shelves. The game box depicts the World Trade Center twin towers with an explosion in the background, and a detail shot on the inside flap depicts the buildings actually on fire and under attack -- of course the game is almost a year old, and has been on shelves the entire time.
Many game companies are announcing they are going to donate profits from game sales to the relief fund. Shrapnel Games, a company which designs realistic wargames, is donating 5% of the profits from their web site sales to the relief effort through October 10th. Many gaming web sites (including IMG) are including banners and badges that allow visitors to the site to donate to the relief fund.
The tragedy has also led developers and publishers to scrutinize their own games and in some cases halt or alter their progress. The conspiracy-theory focused title Majestic, which contacts players through phone calls, pagers, faxes and e-mail, has been put on hold completely due to fears it would offend already distraught relatives and friends of those who are missing with ill-timed phone calls.
An extended report on Reuters (noted at Adrenaline Vault) says that many game makers are having to reconsider the content of their games in development -- New York City is a common setting for all types of media, and many games "in the pipe" from a Duke Nukem title to Metal Gear Solid X for the X-box depict the actual destruction of that city.
The mainstream media is also reporting that Microsoft is considering removing the Twin Towers from the NYC model used in their Flight Simulator, an astoundingly long-lived title now in its sixth revision; we were unable to find an official confirmation of this.
On the Mac front, Apple Computer is responding to the tragedy as well. They have postponed the opening of an Apple store in Tampa, FL from Friday (today) to Saturday and the Apple home page itself has been replaced by a message of condolences and a link to the Red Cross web site.
GameRankings Red Cross Donation Auctions
We'd like to extend our own thanks to the many visitors to our forum -- especially those from outside our country -- who have expressed their sympathy, shock and horror concerning this attack. IMG itself has an international staff from many countries, but at times like these national borders and nationalities are irrelevant -- we come together to reaffirm our humanity, and our respect for human life.
Red Alert 2 Pulled From Shelves (report at Stomped)
VideoGame Makers Stay Course, Aim Not to Offend (Reuters artcile reposted at Avault)
Recent Mac Games News
Wednesday, September 12, 2001
Tuesday, September 11, 2001
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