The game in the story

First, my fiery soul acted up as I read the words of a GTA FB fans who thinks it is completely acceptable to state that he kills hookers in real life to get his money back. Now the Toronto Star is reporting a new video game, describing it as a game where you can “tar and feather the Canadian prime minister… you can at least the first half online”?

Toronto Star, March 23rd, 2010

Tar and feather involves hot burning tar. It is cruel, painful, and tortured many many people, in “real” life! Either this article is mocking this piece of news, does not understand “tarring”, or is exaggerating on purpose. What ever the reason, it is a horrible play on words.

Tarring: a hateful act, as per wikipedia:

Wikipedia, March 23rd, 2010

Now here is what the Toronto Star worked with as they covered this story, the press release from the founders of this game, the Polaris Institute:

For Immediate Release:

Canada’s First Tar Sands Video Game Released TODAY

Tar Nation the game takes-on Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff

OTTAWA, ON – Today the Polaris Institute and Insidious Design are launching Canada’s first tar sands video game – Tar Nation – to highlight Canadian politicians’ support for the destructive tar sands. The flash driven game is visually set in a tar sands refinery and allows players to spray oil at Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff to get them out of the tar sands.

Included in the game is an electronic letter tool directing players to send emails to the Prime Minister and Michael Ignatieff. “With three times the greenhouse gas emissions as conventional oil, severely damaging environmental and social impacts, and negative economic consequences for other provinces, the tar sands are taking Canada in the wrong direction,” explains Tony Clarke, Executive Director of the Polaris Institute. “All Canadian political leaders have a role to play in this discussion, but right now Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff need the most help in re-thinking their support for the tar sands”.

Tar Nation is being launched today on facebook, online video game sites, and numerous websites including http://www.tarnation.ca .

“Canadians of all ages increasingly play games and conduct political advocacy online,” says Edward Newell of Insidious Design. “Tar Nation is a new development because it combines the two in a creative and engaging format”.

Play the game online at: http://www.tarnation.ca

They do not make mention nor make associations of this game to tarring and feathering anyone! They do not push the envelop that far. Why did you Mr. Bryn Weese when you wrote this piece? Does it make your article sound that much more “badass”? And if this game is indeed referring to tarring and feathering, could someone please clarify this because if it is the case, it would surely get the “worst activist campaign” of the year award.

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FB GTA fan states he kills hookers in real life

Where do you draw the line between justifying what you are saying or doing when you play a game? Some might say well everything can be justified when you play a game because that is exactly what it is a “game”, it is not “real”. But isn’t everything we participate in this life real in one way or another?

When someone choses to get breast implants, their breast don’t suddenly become unreal. They become modified breast (some would say improved), but they are breast nonetheless. Albeit breast implants are not a game per say but my point is everything we experience is real whether it’s a transformed state or not.

When I encountered this facebook group called: I USED TO KILL THE HOOKERS IN GRAND THEFT AUTO TO GET MY MONEY BACK

I felt rage. I felt sadness. I felt agitated. I felt discouraged. These were utmost real emotions. This is what some of the 188 647 fans of this page had to say:

Screenshot of facebook fan page

“I kill hookers in real life to get my money back” and this has 2 thumbs up?? How can you feel that confident to make such a statement and get away with it in public view for everyone to see? If this game never existed would people shoot their mouth this way with complete disregard of any consequences for making such a statement? This would never be accepted as a reply to a news article of a serial killer murdering sex trade workers, yet because this is a “game” it is acceptable? Key word being acceptable.

It is almost like these type of “games” make things acceptable. If that guy gets away from stating this on this page with no consequences what is to stop him from saying this in his circle of peers? If that is acceptable, what is to say he doesn’t actually start thinking this way, or worst yet start acting this way -for “real”! It becomes a domino effects that feeds into itself and can potential go down a deadly road, literally.

Killers BECOME killers. Somehow, someway they got to that point in their life. They weren’t born a murderer, their genetics may have been predisposed and their soul ill intended but their environment also played a role in nurturing them.  And I’m certain these type of games can trigger ill souls. And thing is, these games, these fan pages, being a part of our culture, could very well have something to do with it.