9/11 Video Game Offends in More Ways Than One

The video game ‘New York Defender II’ found on a French web site under the chaos category uses the 9/11 tragedy as a playing field and offends on so many levels it’s hard to keep track.
There was a rule in entertainment that stated, tragedy plus time equals comedy. Unfortunately the time that our culture demands for a respectable waiting period is growing shorter by the day. There are some things however that should always be exempt from this reasoning and have the eternal respect of our nation and culture. Pearl Harbor and the September attacks on the World Trade Centers are just two of the many that come to mind.

Even as the popular Jon Stewart twitters and mugs at the camera with the sacrifice of our brave soldiers as the news backdrop for his comedy (and a source of his income) people still have to be abhorred by the gall of this game’s developers and their amoral approach to entertainment. The designer claims the game is structured to show that it’s impossible to fight terrorism. They offend twice in one statement. On one count, they don’t have the nerve, as some of the French in the past have, to show you garbage and call it art. No, they’re trying to be political or philosophical or some such tripe with their offering. On the second count, they offend the free world by suggesting that we lay down in the face of terror and tyranny.

In an article I wrote a short while ago, I pondered the ability of a futuristic computer or machine using artificial intelligence to make moral decisions. I also questioned the apparent amorality of teen and adult video games that are advertised as having the best A.I. available being sold today. This 911 web game is constructed of very simple programming; no artificial intelligence here and very little human intelligence seems to be involved as well.

The game has one positive output though, since it tries to perpetuate and deepen the desensitization of our culture to violence and tragedy, it may act as a warning. But if you visit a video game or movie rental store and look upon the shelves these days, it wouldn’t appear anyone is paying attention to the alerts already posted.

A Video Game Review: No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.’s Way

This sequel to one of the best first person shooters to be released has been definitely one of the most anticipated games. The game comes in 2 discs. It takes place in psychedelic 60’s setting where Cate Archer, a UNITY secret agent, continues to take on an organization called H.A.R.M. and stop from them from their terrorist acts. Along the way, you will be given a wide assortment of gadgets and weaponry that will help you complete your missions. In this sequel, you’ll meet a number of familiar characters from the first game and the story moves on as well for the villains.
The first game was excellent in the PC platform. The graphics, audio, game play and the story were all top-notch. But one pressing concern in the previous game was the lack of the option to quick save a game when it was ported over to the Playstation 2. No One Lives Forever 2 is only for the PC and the Mac. It was not released for the Playstation 2 as it would have the same effect on the game play if quick save won’t be available.

Going back to the game play, as a secret agent, a major concept of the game is stealth. The AI (Artificial Intelligence) of the enemies is improved and extra movements, even minute sounds can attract them. Aside from that, you’d have to navigate through facilities with security cameras, mountains, snow fields and small forests. You can use the gadgets at your disposal to keep your presence undetected. You can pick locks; sneak behind enemies, disable cameras, shoot tranquilizers, and more. One of the great improvements in the game is the interaction with different objects and the environment. You can now hide better behind big boxes, walls, crates, and sneak up better on enemies. The first game was also plagued with a few glitches where sometimes, you’ll be caught even while you’re hiding behind something.

At the end of each scene, you’ll be graded based on your performance. The most notable aspect is stealth. You’ll be ranked depending on how well you kept yourself hidden throughout that stage. You’d have to be resourceful in finding out ways to be hidden such as removing dead/unconscious enemies from sight and hiding them. It’s not that tough since you’ll have an indicator telling you that the certain spot where you are is a great hiding place. Make use of the quick save feature as it will definitely be a challenge to attain high ranks.

Let’s go into the technical aspects of the game. The minimum requirements for the game is pretty much reasonable at that time, there are already some widely available video cards that could handle the graphics engine of the game. The minimum requirements would be Win 98/2000/ME/XP with a 500 MHz processor, 128 MB RAM, 32 MB Video Card and a compatible sound card. The graphics is crisp. The characters are very detailed and there are a lot of great improvements on the environment and your interaction with them.

With all that said, cheers to one of the best games that has ever been released. If you enjoy first person shooters and a twist of stealth, this is a perfect game for you. It has a very compelling story (I would suggest you play the first game as well) and excellent characters. For other gamers out there who haven’t tried it yet, it’s a wonderful game and will get you immersed in playing until the last mission. It’s worth playing. Have fun!