Kill Screen has a fascinating interview with indie developer Nicky Case, who is working on a video game about media bias. His inspiration? The network coverage of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.
On August 9, African American teen Michael Brown was shot multiple times by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. The death of the teen, who was unarmed at the time he was shot at least five times, sparked riots and protests in Ferguson, and tons of national attention from media outlets.
But according to what Case tells Kill Screen, he felt that some networks covered the shooting and the subsequent protests through a lens of their own bias, prejudices, and political leanings. It inspired him to develop a video game about media bias.
"Take cop-friendly photos, and the cops could be more friendly towards you, and let you have access to areas you wouldn't have otherwise," said Case. "Or take extremist photos, and you will personally turn a peaceful protest into an all-out violent conflict."
Case said his game is influenced by Lucas Pope's game Papers, Please, which unabashedly puts players into a horrible position of authority with interesting elements to engage and enlighten the player about the realities of living under a totalitarian society.
Case's game isn't specifically about Ferguson because, he admits, he is not skilled enough to do justice to what happened in Ferguson in a video game.
"It's a very tragic and sensitive topic I don't think I'm skilled enough to handle respectfully," he tells Kill Screen.
His video game is also inspired by a cartoon about how the media often tells a different story than what is really happening in front of them through framing it in a way that fits into whatever narrative they are trying to tell.
You can read the rest of Case's interview with Kill Screen here.