Making Statements With Video Games

You may have heard about the recent controversy at the Leipzig Games Conference over a modification of Space Invaders in which the invaders are slowly demolishing the World Trade Center. The creator intended it as an artistic expression, but has since removed the game, saying, “it was never created to merely provoke controversy for controversy’s sake.” Kotaku took this occasion to ask whether “statements” can and should be made via video games, and how it affects the ongoing question of whether video games should be considered art. “The entire issue begs comparisons to Danny Ledonne’s Super Colombine Massacre RPG!, an unsettling and involved title that tasks players on the most basic level with acting out the 1999 Littleton, Colorado school shooting in the role of killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Ledonne told the Washington Post that his intention with the title was never to glorify the tragedy, but to ‘confront their actions and the consequences those actions had.’ Like Stanley’s Invaders!, Ledonne and his title stopped short of providing a direct interpretation – neither artist has been especially specific about ‘what it means,’ or in instructing players on how they should interpret their work or what ‘message’ should be taken away.”

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