Reality Play by Joost Raessens introduced some interesting ideas about the use of videogames to reenact history so that one may experience an event. These so-called “docu-games” enable players to “transform play into a meaningful, interactive experience” in which the player can experience feeling, reflexivity, and action in a historical experience brought back for educational gameplay. He discusses numerous games but highlights four games in particular in his discussion of “docu-games.” His four games of focus are: JFK Reloaded, 9-11 Survivor, Waco Resurrection, and Escape from Woomera.
His discussion of 9-11 Survivor caught my interest the most and spurred me to look online for the game. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate it but I did find these screen shots of the game to help me visualize what the game would look like.
screen shots found here
While reading about this game, I thought to myself: How anyone play something like this? Yes, you may be able to experience the traumatic moments in fuller detail and grasp a better understanding for happened but at what cost? Wouldn’t it be very traumatic to play a game like this and put yourself in a situation where you the outcome is so painful? Does making a game about what happened really shed light on what happened that day?
And I guess if I were to play this game I would answer yes to all of the questions above. Yes, playing the game probably would give me more perspective on what went on that day and yes, it would hurt a great deal to play a game like this.
But games like these will always have a hard time reaching the public with their messages. Videogames just don’t have the same respect documentaries do. With many videogames promoting violence and mindless game play like Grand theft auto and Call of Duty, I feel like it would be very hard for docu-games to ever become popular.