Games By Aug. 28, 2014 5:28 pm
Landlord calls cops on game developer for planning global thermonuclear war | Games |

At one time or another, we’ve all been accused of something we didn’t do — telling a secret, or stealing a chocolate bar. But one game developer from Bristol in the UK was recently hit with maybe the worst false accusation possible: that he was planning to start a global thermonuclear war. Now, to be fair to the landlord who originally called the cops, developer Henry Smith was in fact planning Global Thermonuclear War — but note the caps.

It’s easy to look down on the poor letting agent who first saw Smith’s walls were covered with maps and a whiteboard showing inter-continental trajectories, but I think we have to give the guy at least a bit of slack — the maps did say “global thermonuclear war.” Additionally, Smith’s idea was to build his game using data from Google Maps, which right away makes the whole thing seem more real. That’s probably the point, and the attention this “bust” will bring to the game will probably end up being the best thing that ever happened to it.

Landlord calls cops on game developer for planning global thermonuclear war | Games |

The damning evidence.

Smith himself isn’t holding grudges, stating that the letting agency was just trying to act responsibly. Still, he did take the time to point out the basic idiocy of the claim: “Nobody is planning an intercontinental ballistic missile attack by Russia on Washington from a rented house in a Bristol suburb,” he told the Guardian. “And definitely not by drawing their missile trajectory freehand on a whiteboard.”

Leaving aside who and where this “plan” was discovered, the fact that we view the idea of global nuclear war as quite so absurd speaks to a fairly new global situation; transpose this misunderstanding into the 1980s, and it would have felt much more sinister. Today, nuclear war is such a lighthearted idea that we can sell video games setting ourselves as the button-pushers. Sure it’s meant to be macabre, but even so this wouldn’t be possible in a world more nervous about the threat of apocalypse.

Though there was obviously no consequence to this mistaken call to police, the alleged militarization of police forces has been a major topic in the news over the past month or so, owing to a number of high-profile shootings and deaths. Gamers would seem to risk misunderstandings due to the violent subject matter of most games and the anti-social connotations that still pervade much of society.

Landlord calls cops on game developer for planning global thermonuclear war | Games |


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