Late last week 08:46, a Virtual Reality game that allows the player to experience the horror of 9/11 terrorist attack came into the spotlight.
Created by 846 studios, a small team of six created it in three months, collaborating with two actors for both voice and motion capturing. The game allows the player to relive the moment of horror that was the 9/11 terrorist attack.
“[08:46] is a narrative driven experience designed for virtual reality, which makes you embody an office worker in the North Tower of the World Trade Center during the 9/11 events.” – 846 Studios
Unsurprisingly, the game quickly caught the attention of the online world and was torn apart by trolls and keyboard warriors alike. Unfortunately it is human nature to be curious about things and apparently atrocities such as the attack on the twin towers is no exception, but some may argue that it is misuse of the technology and experience that Oculus Rift offers.
“Of course, where cinema can be classed as ‘passive entertainment’, the active involvement that a VR experience requires could start raising some ethical questions.” Jordan Gold of Konbini wrote.
But has everyone forgotten how everyone was totally okay with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 allowing the player to walk in the shoes of a terrorist and hatefully gun down innocent civilians? Perhaps this is because this is relayed to us as a fictional event but a good proportion of the Call of Duty games have been set in real wars; obviously we’re all just over that now…
It’s true, 9/11 is still a fresh wound to the modern world but 08:46 is a narrational experience designed to shock the player through portraying the horrors of terrorism. It is in no way glorifying it.
It’s not like the team has gone out of its way to produce the most pristine visuals to suppress the player with sheer realism and brutality. Perhaps this is due to the size of the development team but if they had access to better graphics would they choose portray it in this way to create an even more controversial game, still?
Some are saying that it is good to expose people to the horrific events that occurred that day, suggesting that it would deter younger minds rather than inspire them.
It is apparent that the game is not about stunning graphics or fancy animation but instead about storytelling and accuracy.
“We worked with a lot of references, from an interview with a survivor to plans of the floors or journalistic works such as ‘102 minutes‘ to be precise about the events and the human dynamics in the towers…” The Creative Director on the Project Anthony Krafft told TechInsider.
Judging by the introduction, 846 spends no time developing the character but instead gets straight to the point, suggesting that the journey itself will allow the player to discover who the character is. The sound of the plane hitting the tower at the end causes me to jump every time and that is exactly what this game is about; shocking the audience.
We are seeing an entire new breed of gaming. A video game that is used as part of a movement instead of entertainment. Could this be the future of video games?
Try it out for yourself, 08:46 is available to download for PC (Sorry Mac users). We already have games about war and murder, is this really any worse?
You can watch the introduction to the game below: