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Gaming post-9/11: The virtual war on terror

(Editor’s note: Matt Reed is a Middle-East specialist for a consulting-firm in Washington D.C. With Sept. 11 having impacted his decision to a career in the US capital, Reed shares what he’s observed over the last decade as a gamer.)

Within one week of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, anyone could assume the role of a US Navy SEAL and kill the world’s most wanted terrorist. Kuma Games, a freeware developer with an eye for historical shooters, released the title on May 7, only six days after the Abottabad takedown.

The game made headlines but should have surprised no one. Since 2001, both Western developers and jihadi upstarts have used games to advance their causes. Meanwhile, commercial developers have borrowed from the conflict’s iconography and focused on themes related to it, resulting in a parallel universe that’s allergic to reality but still fun to play.

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