In the past, GamePolitics
has reported on various games, both indie and commercial, the very concepts of which have raised hackles.
These include the likes of Bully, Super Columbine Massacre RPG
and V-Tech Rampage
Some, like Danny Ledonne's SCMRPG
, aspire to a cultural message. Others, like V-Tech Rampage,
were released with the specific intent to offend, apparently just for the creator's twisted amusement.
But what if a game designer wanted you to feel outrage, but also
hoped to motivate you to do something about it?
That is the case with Harpooned: Japanese Cetacean Research Simulator
. National Nine MSN in Australia spoke with
Conor O'Kane, who designed the game to raise public awareness of the fight against commercial whaling. O'Kane is particularly troubled by claims of Japanese whalers that they only harvest the animals for research.
O'Kane explained the reasoning behind Harpooned's
If people [are] offended by the game they should be even more offended by real whaling... I hope people make the next logical step and realise that reality is much worse than a video game. The more people tell their friends about how disgusting it is, the better … it puts more pressures on the whalers.
is a top-down scroller in which you control a "research vessel." Your job is to kill as many whales as you can for pet food, er, research. If you harvest enough whales in a row, you are rewarded with an "ultra-scientific bonus!"
Running into icebergs damages your ship, and colliding with protesters who are trying to protect the whale pods causes a loss of points for legal fees. Each level ends with you transferring your haul of whale meat to a cargo ship for "further research," Congratulatory messages follow, based on the number of cans of pet food and whale burgers your "research" managed to produce.
Harpooned is a Windows-only game created using the Torque Game Builder from Garage Games.
- Reporting from Canada, where he's carefully scrutinizing any pet food that says "Now with 25% more research!", GP Correspondent Colin "Jabrwock" McInnes.