18 May 2005

Games of Death and Life

Yesterday I watched Bas Verhart, CEO of Media Republic in Amsterdam demo two of their games. Killzone, a first-person shooter, is being published by Sony for the new Playstation. It has stunning photorealistic graphics with ultra violence and neo-Nazi overtones. Ironically, the presentation followed a discussion of ethics in game design and alternatives to violence, and Bas gave a few nervous chuckles as the demo proceeded, finally cutting it off in the middle of a scene showing kneeling prisoners being executed with head shots.

Next he showed us Eccky, an online game where two players create a "virtual child". The child combines the "DNA" of the two "parents" as determined by the results of filling out a questionnaire, combined with some randomness. The children cry and nag you to buy things for them, allowing for nice commercial tie-ins on which the business model is built. You can also have the dubious pleasure of having your "child" SMS you if you're not giving him or her enough attention.

This is online design in 2005.

1 comment:

William W. Cohen said...

Killzone sounds pretty icky. Then again, maybe it's better to have Nazi wannabes all wasting their time with computer games, than out in the real world?