Notes on the Bin Laden schadenfreude industry

With books now quickly being updated, the upcoming Kathryn Bigelow movie and commentary from everyone from Michael Moore to the Dali Lama, Bin Laden schadenfreude has become a mini-industry.

So you probably could have guessed there would be a first person shooter game, KumaWar Episode 107: Osama 2011, which will be the last mission of the series, and the guy wasn’t even dead a week.

You figured there would be joke video games online, like the Lizzy Grubman game where you run over pedestrians in your SUV, or the bowling video game on YouTube that goofed on the infamous climax of There Will Be Blood, but this is a real legit game from a real company, Kuma Games.

Of course opinions will be divided on all this.

Many will consider it in bad taste, exploitive, opportunistic, and it’s doubtful this will set the gaming industry on fire now that something needs to fill the void left by Guitar Hero.

Some jokes against evil Middle East dictators have proven to be funny, like Homer Simpson selling his Ayatollah Assahola t-shirt at a Simpsons garage sale, the Qaddafi Duck shirts (“He’s Death-Spicible”), and the toilet targets they used to sell in the classified ads of Rolling Stone you could float in the bowl and take aim at for certain world tyrants. 

Looking back on those, they’re silly by-products of a xenophobic decade, though the moment on the Simpsons was great cause it was so hilariously Homer.

In the Hollywood Reporter story on this game, there were a lot of complaints from readers, most of them anonymous for whatever reason, and many (which could be the same person posting over and over), argued hunting down and killing people in games isn’t right, citing the tired old knee-jerk argument these kinds of games riles people up to commit real life violence. 

The comments in favor of the game are pretty asinine as well. (One called the complainers “Pacifist pussies,” another says, “USA! USA! This game ROCKS.”)

This game is obviously not going to ease anyone’s pain, or bring any closure to what happened on 9-11, and it’s doubtful killing Bin Laden over and over again will make anyone feel that much better, or alleviate anyone’s anger. It’s also doubtful this game will get any attention for long after the initial novelty wears off.

This game was probably inevitable, and I initially thought this would be an easy thing to blog about, (something like this writes itself right?), but it’s hard to write about something like this and not trivialize the catastrophic events of ten years ago, and you can make the argument this game could possible do that as well. 

Then to argue against it goes against the first amendment, which covers video games as well.