No your eyes do not deceive you. You are in fact looking at a screenshot from an upcoming military operations game entitled Episode 107: Osama 2011 by Kuma Games. Mere days have passed since news of the Navy SEAL mission tasked by President Obama to infiltrate the complex housing the Al Qaeda leader. Responses have ranged from outright celebration in the streets of D.C., solace in the homes of the 9/11 victims, and sporadic protests by Taliban supporters in Pakistan. In the midst of all this expelling of emotion is there really a place for the entertainment industry to take advantage of this? Apparently Kuma Games has made quick efforts to ponder this question and already is planning to release its answer this Saturday May 7th.
The game could be seen as a cathartic effort to release the pent up feelings many Americans have had regarding this decade of terror induced by Bin Laden. It also perhaps is an attempt to feed off of the pure shock value and absorb the popularity from a very high profile killing. In the words expressed by Kuma Games CEO Keith Halper, during an interview with Kotaku, the motivation to create the game came after he “looked back at 106 episodes of Kuma War and understood it was a story without an end and so it was a matter of personal decision between [himself] and the development and writing staff to say we can’t close the door on Kuma War 2 until we’ve told this absolutely critical last story.” Now before you go saying “he’s just trying to disguise the fact that he’s in it for the money,” Kuma Games are released free of charge and with no subscription fees.
Those with prior experience with Kuma Games are most likely not shocked about this news at all due to the fact that the company has released several games covering military campaigns such as World War II, purple heart missions from war heroes like John Kerry, and unsurprisingly; the capture of Saddam Hussein. Their realistic approach to gaming has brought on partners like The History Channel, Biography, and Animal Planet to further enhance the true-to-life components found in every game release. As admirable as it is to see such zeal in Kuma Game’s approach to portraying the real world, does correlating a game in such a visceral sense to the events that took place this past weekend push the proverbial envelope a bit too much?
This question perhaps is better suited when directing it toward the human revenge complex. Interestingly, this issue is examined by Dr. Pamela Gerloff in her article entitled The Psychology of Revenge: Why We Should Stop Celebrating Osama Bin Laden’s Death. Gerloff identifies how this knee jerk jubilation over the death of Osama reveals our “impulse to celebrate ‘justice being done’ … [and] a certain pleasure in revenge ‒ not just ‘closure’ but ‘getting even.'” Are we possibly buying into that mindset when we download games like Episode 107: Osama 2011 or Call of Duty? How much of it can we truly say is motivated by entertainment and not influenced by the desire to enact our own form of retaliation against those who have wronged us? So if you are looking forward to try out this shooter come Saturday, reflect on whether you are really just playing it “for the fun.”