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Are you kidding me???

Apparently, some Scottish computer gaming company called Traffic Games is coming out with an assassin simulation called "JFK Reloaded." In it, gamers reenact JFK's assassination, trying to shoot in the exact same way Oswald did it 41 years ago (today, actually). They get points based on how accurate their shots were to the historical bullets fired, and they lose points for mistakes like hitting 1st Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

This is one of the few times I've agreed with Sen. Ted Kennedy: "It is despicable." Although I was a big fan of Goldeneye 007 when that came out (that actually might be an understatement--I played it enough to beat all the levels and get all the cheat codes, and I've never met another person to have done that, although I am indebted to all those on the internet who have, and who have posted tips on doing so), this just seems too morbid. I don't think that I would have felt comfortable shooting people who were actually shot in real life. At what point are violent video games not that bad? At what point do they step over the line? Where does this one fall?


I agree that is very distasteful. But I also was slightly appalled by the D-Day Omaha Beach video game, and that seems fairly popular, so what do I know?

I had forgotten about that game. Although I think that the Omaha Beach D-Day game is still probably over the line (I haven't played it), I suppose that it has a redeeming quality (only in direct contrast to JFK Reloaded) that it probably uses fictitious soldiers (albeit at a real event) rather than gunning down a specific person--a U.S. president.

Playing devil's advocate for a bit, their justification for the game (to prove that the assassination was possible by Oswald alone) seems to redeem it a bit, if only that it might shut up some of the conspiracy theorists.

That said, conspiracy theorists never seemed much like the rational type and will probably not be persuaded by a video game. Also, the whole "game" element seems completely unnecessary, since a video reconstruction could be done without it.

do you find the historical recreation of a president's assassination more despicable than the random slaughtering and mayhem of the games in the grand theft auto series? i read alot of the "jfk reloaded" website... it doesn't exist for players to kill jfk for fun. it exists for players to kill jfk for fun as accurately as possible, or shoot at other people to see what migth have happened. i'm not exactly defending the game, but it is striving to be historically accurate, and it isn't out there where kids have easy access to it. (assuming you have to pay by credit card). how do you feel about the game where you fight through afganistan as a soldier and the final boss is osama bin laden... whom you fight hand to hand, martial arts style, and mercilessly kill (if you win). he's a real person. what about that new game called "custer's revenge," in which you control a naked general custer, manuever your way through a slew of flying arrows, and rape an indian girl tied to a cactus? oh wait... that game was for the Atari! (over twenty years ago) distasteful video games have been around for as long as video gaming has existed, and i don't know that the jfk game is actually as horrible as some, such as a game like the recent "manhunt" in which your character is placed in a "running man" type reality tv show where he must either kill or be killed, on video tape, graphically using such disturbing weapons as plastic trash bags, razor wire, and a chainsaw.

Perhaps it's somewhat of an arbitrary (and perhaps even incorrect) line in the sand I'm drawing here, but I really don't think anyone needs practice assassinating a president of the United States of America. Although the Osama bin Laden game would probably be beyond my personal limits of violence in general, I have far less sympathy for him than I do JFK. Maybe that's an unfair distinction, but I feel that it is a correct one.

The Custer game sounds disgusting (as does the manhunt game), whether or not it is on Atari, and I certainly am not arguing that we are only now seeing despicable video games, but, for whatever reason, JFK Reloaded just seems to be a step too far in my book. Perhaps I have a warped view of the importance of authority figures, but I just do not think that there should be games where the goal of the game is to assassinate the president.

Furthermore, I see very little distinction in killing for fun and killing for fun with accuracy. I will admit that Goldeneye was fun, largely because I had to do quite a bit of training ("training" sounds better than "wasting time") in order to kill guards quickly, silently (sometimes), and efficiently. That didn't bother me, because all the characters were ficticious. JFK, though, was a real person, and, moreover, he was a president of this country (as opposed to a terrorist).

Like I said, though, my line in the sand might be completely arbitrary and (even more likely) incorrect.

seems you're both arguing "lesser of two evils" here.
is ANY violent video game a worthwhile use of time?
(furthermore, doesn't this argument parallel the legendary "die hard" dispute?)

the answer to this question is complex, because, firstly, we must define "violence," and secondly, we must define "worthwhile." also, one must consider what motivations might be involved in playing one of these games. i think that ultimately the answer is that there is no "right" or "wrong" video game. playing minesweeper or solitaire (supposedly "neutral" games) for three hours can be just as damaging as playing JFK reloaded, depending on the person, and what you learn/gain from the experience. thus, you must ask yourself what you are personally gaining from the game, and whether the result is positive or negative. the same applies to other matters of personal freedom--as paul said, "everything is permissable, but not everything is beneficial." (I Cor. 10:23)
that being said, i think that what jacob is getting at is that JFK Reloaded is more than a personal moral choice, because it involves the virtual killing of a simulated person who is an historical figure. thus, this virtuality takes a rather large leap toward reality, creating proven harm to others (see Kennedy quote). thus, because others have been involved, this video game has become more than a "personal" moral decision. "everything is permissable, but not everything is constructive. nobody should seek his own good but the good of others." (vs.24)
i know that there is rarely going to be an instance--especially in these greyer areas--when you will "please everybody," as paul calls us to do in vs.33, but that does not mean that we should lower the standards.

(you'll also notice that in certain biblical manuscripts there's an added verse--vs.34--that states, "and if all else fails, my brethren, play ZELDA.")

except that zelda promotes witchcraft and must therefore be boycotted along with harry potter.

-andrew (who absolutely loves zelda and is currently reading harry potter and the sorcerer's stone.)

That's why everyone should just play Tetris.

andrew, i saw ron weasley at the union the other day. i'm serious--he was even wearing gryffindor colors.

bethany, tetris got me through pre-calculus class.

here's to tetris! i got my calculator taken away in calc senior year because i'd play tetris through the whole period. he gave it back when i began sleeping through class instead.

zelda is supreme.
sometimes i play super nintendo on sunday nights with soem of my friends. this girl i know... she beat me in tetris repeatedly, as well as all the other guys there. sure, i could whup her in mario kart and mortal kombat. but still, she was unstoppable in tetris. it was truly a sad night for me as a videogamer. and jacob... i agree with much of what you said, i just wanted to give soem perspective to your original argument. the problem is that certain video games are often singled out by the media as some sort of societal bane, but the media just wants to shock when they report about those games, they miss the real issues. and my comment about being able to "kill jfk for fun as acurately as possible" (or something like that) was said tongue-in-cheek, to make the point that though you and i don't really see much of a difference, the makers of "jfk reloaded" ostensibly do. it seems to be why they are openly promoting their game as something which somehow trancends the fun violence factor and becomes a scientific study of history. when it comes down to it, people play the game because of the fun visceral thrill of aiming and shooting and killing and seeing the bloody aftermath, and because the have a goal (accuarate portrayal of the historical shooting) with a tangible reward attached to it (cash - see the website... they're offering a prize)

did you ever get abby to play zelda, aaron? i know that was one of your life goals or something..

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