Daily Illuminator

March 18, 2008: Harpooned!

I got some interesting comments on the "Cyberpunk whaling scenario" Illuminator. Several readers ran their own literature surveys and shared their findings, though nobody yet has found the specific list of 43 studies that the Australians were condemning.

Some quotes:
  • "The abstract of the cited (fertilizing cow ova with frozen whale sperm) experiment is here."
  • . . . less mad science than bad science . . . some of the fundamental criticism of the Japanese research is attached."
  • "18 years of research and they still can't tell whales from kangaroos."

But the very best link I got was to Harpooned!. This is a little Windows game that was created, as a completely unabashed criticism of the Japanese whale kill, by a single designer/coder. Few games with a "message" are much fun, but - in an intentionally gross way - this one is. So it's worth a bit of (ahem) scientific study. I enjoyed reading the creator's comments on Gamasutra about how and why he built the game, what worked, and what didn't.

Now, will Japan respond with a game where the targets are kangaroos? Will the next shots in the Meme Wars be . . . freeware games?
-- Steve Jackson

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