Game Politics (gamepolitics) wrote,
Game Politics
gamepolitics

JFK Reloaded Runs Out of Bullets

It is the video game equivalent of an urban legend - oft-repeated but simply untrue.

Numerous American politicians have partially justified attempts at legislating video game content by claiming they were trying to prevent kids from buying a game where the object is to assassinate the president.

The game to which they are referring is JFK Reloaded, a downloadable-only product from U.K. developer Traffic.

Readers may recall that Governor Rod Blagojevich denounced JFK Reloaded in order to help pass the Safe Games Illinois Act in 2005. More recently, State Senator Vi Simpson of Indiana has repeated the assassination mantra in her efforts to create game legislation in her state. Simpson said, "Right now, kids can walk into just about any store and get their hands on a video game in which they can shoot police officers, use drugs, steal cars, rape women or even assassinate a president. That's frightening to say the least."

Blagojevich, Simpson and other pols pushing game sales legislation either don't understand or choose to ignore the fact that no child - or adult, for that matter - ever bought JFK Reloaded in a store as it simply was not distributed through retail channels.

For those who somehow missed the controversy, the idea behind JFK Reloaded was to try and duplicate the marksmanship of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, the loner accused of shooting President Kennedy on November 22nd, 1963. Traffic sold the full version of the game as a $10 online purchase, and sponsored a $10,000 contest for the best "score."

Tasteless? Beyond belief.

With the JFK Reloaded now gone dark, ace GameCloud reporter John Callaham checked in with Traffic's managing director Kirk Ewing.

According to Ewing, the game's concept was to explore whether Oswald - an average shot equipped with a poor quality rifle - could have committed the JFK slaying without help, say from the grassy knoll.

Oddly enough, Ewing claims to have been surprised by the game's bad press. "We did not expect that the game would have that kind of reaction," he told Callaham. "... We had a disclaimer put on the web site that it was not for children and the full version needed a credit card which children are not supposed to have."

Traffic's next game project is a console title called "Learn to Drive." Given the company's track record, let's hope it is not a Ted Kennedy Chappaquiddick simulator.

Tags: blagojevich, jfk reloaded, legislation, politicians, simpson, traffic
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  • 37 comments
"Traffic's next game project is a console title called "Learn to Drive." Given the company's track record, let's hope it is not a Ted Kennedy Chappaquiddick simulator."

Awesome.

We know that politicians will forever twist facts when they don't ignore them outright. The ESA and the developers as a whole need to start doing more than releasing the occational press release. They need to start being proactive rather than reactive.
"According to Ewing, the game's concept was to explore whether Oswald - an average shot equipped with a poor quality rifle - could have committed the JFK slaying without help"

Conspiracy theorist would love that game, I am sure. And I`m sure some people in the CIA would not want that information to fall in some people hands.

I mean, think of the children. Can't have them disbelieve what is written in the history books, right? It's the truth, RIGHT?
Oswald wasn't an average shot. He was a trained marine marksman. Sharpshooter rating twice. Marksman rating once. That isn't average for the military. It's an excellent shooting record compared to civilians.

The rifle was made in 1940 and was originaly made for the Italin military. Not poor quality by any means.

People without rifle training or any familitary with that rifle were able to fire, reload the rifle hit the target in the time Oswald would have had. People can make the shots Oswald would have had.

gamepolitics

11 years ago

longtimelurker

11 years ago

radixgames

11 years ago

Yeah, did you hear Ted Kennedy failed to filibuster Sam Alito?

I bet he went to drown his sorrows/current girlfriend after that.

*rimshot*
Tasteless? Beyond belief.

Is it really though? I've not actually played the game, but from all that's been written of it, it sounds like a rather dull simulation meant more for debunking conspiracy theories than it was for entertainment. Had the game featured, say, the Unreal Tournament announcer cheering "headshot!" or a tacky fighting game/Tony Hawk style combo system for points, that would be one thing. As it stands, is it really any more tasteless than the Oliver Stone film? Or any of the countless Discovery Channel programs vulturing the subject of the assassination?
It's not tasteless at all, but Ewing is a stinky jobby head for lying about not knowing the software would be controversial.

Re: Tasteless?

jabrwock

11 years ago

Re: Tasteless?

gamepolitics

11 years ago

Re: Tasteless?

jabrwock

11 years ago

Re: Tasteless?

radixgames

11 years ago

Re: Tasteless?

longtimelurker

11 years ago

Re: Tasteless?

jabrwock

11 years ago

Re: Tasteless?

mrfalcon

11 years ago

Re: Tasteless?

nortelrye

11 years ago

, "Right now, kids can walk into just about any store and get their hands on a video game in which they can shoot police officers, use drugs, steal cars, rape women or even assassinate a president. That's frightening to say the least.

just for that this women deserves to be hit. Doesn't she know the game isn't in stores, and any game in which you shoot police or steal cars does have negative results. and what game can you do drugs or rape women? I want to know. last time I checked rape automatically put a game in the AO section.

Benjain McDowell
Enmity.Within@gmail.com
Http://www.defieddreams.net
I know you can do drugs in the recent NARC game (which is, sadly, not nearly as awesome as the original). How realistic the effects of taking the drugs are is.. um.. debatable.

The Fallout games involve drugs, too. They are a bit old though. Relatively speaking.

Plus, if your (over)zealous enough, things like stimpaks and such in a game could be called "drugs".
I recognize what video games kids can reenact all those bad things except one. Which game can you rape women? I'm not building a shopping list here, but i dont know if i have ever seen a game where you can do that.
Uh... Custer's Revenge? That's about all I can think of from the mainstream shelf.

healer1422

11 years ago

mrfalcon

11 years ago

mrfalcon

11 years ago

healer1422

11 years ago

As controversial as the game was, it was actually a very accurate, and incredibly hard game. It was also a pretty quality title too (the tracermap etc in the game was cool). It wasnt some horrible game where you try to take the president out, it was more of a homage title.
I have, and let me just say it has great bullet physics. Also, killing Kennedy is very hard...

And it's not just Kennedy you have to kill in three shots. You have to injure the governer, but NOT injure the first lady or governers wife...

And you do this with just three shots. You get deducted if you go over three.

Not a good 'game', but interesting enough to make it worth a download. It's now abandonware, so it's free, if you can find it.
*cough*HomeoftheUnderdogs*cough*

Must look into some medication, nasty businesss these colds...
I too refute the notion that JFK Reloaded is tasteless. If it had been classed as "art" and made playable in a museum, then it may have been contreversial, but people would have accepted it. The mistake is in thinking that it's a "game", a toy or some piece of frivolity. It's designed as a simulation of a historical event, to place you in the middle of it and allow you to experience how it might have, or could have, happened. I don't see the difference between it and an Oliver Stone film - it's not like you're getting points for making an accurate shot.

Furthermore, I really wish GamePolitics hadn't turned into a political commentary website. It seemed at the start that it was mainly about objective reporting, and that the readers made up their own minds based on the obvious evidence in front of them. But increasingly it's been leaning towards commentary in the news posts themselves.
The makers by choosing to release it on the day they did however could be considered tasteless. They should have just sold it to a museum or had a documentary use it. They would have avoided controversy and odds are would have made money without threats of a lawsuit etc.
I played it. It was a relatively boring game, and it was actually pretty hard to make the mark. Usually I ended up shooting nothing, or a Secret Service agent. I get the controversy, but it takes a lot to tick me off enough to declare something controversial. I don't know why. I've given up on this planet so I just let things like this pass and they normally do. I just wish politicians would stop substituting fact-checking with broad generalizations in order to push their narrow-minded agendas.
That's why I will never play it. I wouldn't play it even if you paid me to play it.
IT WAS BIGFOOT! AND ELVIS!
AND JESUS!
The impression I got from playing this was about the same as the impression I got from a documentary on the same thing. I didn't find it offencive, actually I thought it was kind of neat, using a video game as a reconstructive demonstration.

Taking out the president in Destroy All Humans was far more fun, though.