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September 12th , A Toy World
Videogame
2003
Gonzalo Frasca

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September 12th is a videogame. Or perhaps not. The first screen warns us:
"This is not a game. You cannot win or lose. This is not a simulation. There is no ending, and it has already begun. The rules are simple: you shoot or you don't shoot. This is a simple model that you can use to explore certain aspects of the war against terror."
Set in a random Middle Eastern city, which we surmise to be in Iraq or Afghanistan, the game, designed around a first-person shooter, provides us with a weapon and enlists us in an invasion disguised as a "pre-emptive attack".
Soon, the game will remind us that violence spawns more violence: the more "terrorists" we kill the more new terrorists appear, and each mosque, each bombed house, after witnessing our violence, becomes a new breeding ground for terrorists. That change we experience as we play will lead us to alter our strategy in order not to lose the game. This change of paradigm will take us from attacking everything that moves to laying down our arms. What is being proposed is a dismantling of the algorithm of violence.
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