Simulation Aggravation

Without getting into the politics (other than to say I find Sept 12 to be a useful, thought-provoking piece, and exciting new genre for games), I’m not sure why Greg and some of his commenters are so vitriolically opposed to calling Sept 12 a simulation. —Simulation Aggravation (GrandTextAuto)

Sept 12” is an interactive political cartoon — a very short game in which you, as the player, target a city that contains some terrorists and many civillians. The weapons you fire cause a great deal of collateral damage, so that you inevitably kill some civillians, causing more civillians to become terrorists. It’s a simple message — too simple, really, since it’s easy to convince yourself that the problem is that you don’t have the right kind of weapon. Wouldn’t a sniper rifle make more sense? But that’s not the question the makers of the game intend to raise. And the fact that there are already terrorists in the game before you fire the first shot raises a chicken-or-egg question that the game isn’t equpped to answer.

At any rate, I enjoy reading (and sometimes participating in) the meaty debates that go on in the comments on GrandTextAuto — it’s like making a short, free visit to a really good academic conference, where you don’t have to sit through pompous 40-minute presentations, but can instead get right to the Q & A with intelligent, articulate, and opinionated people.