You are Lee Harvey Oswald.
November 21, 2004 2:36 PM   Subscribe

12:30 p.m., November 22nd, 1963. The weather is fine. You have a rifle.
posted by emelenjr (53 comments total)
Scotland-based computer game company Traffic reportedly created the game out of respect for Kennedy and for the findings of the Warren Report, which concluded only one gunman was responsible for Kennedy's assassination. Traffic provides more links to more information about the assassination—a goodwill gesture, considering Traffic is also sponsoring a $100,000 competition to see which game player can come the closest to recreating the Warren Commission's version of the day's events.
posted by emelenjr at 2:37 PM on November 21, 2004

Ugh, bad taste alert. A competition to win a fortune based on an assassination?

Pass the sickbag, Alice.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:45 PM on November 21, 2004

Wake me when the "Sleep With Marilyn Monroe" simulation has been perfected.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:00 PM on November 21, 2004

For some reason this reminds me of those people who re-enact Civil War battles. The addition of prize money removes any good faith, though. This seems inappropriate.
posted by jenovus at 3:02 PM on November 21, 2004

The Kennedy family has already denounced this. I don't blame them.

Next on the list... "Grand Theft Auto, Princess Di Edition"?

just plan bad.....
posted by HuronBob at 3:08 PM on November 21, 2004

Well, I HAVE been working on my sniper skills with "Call of Duty"....

Will this be the first installment of a whole "President's Collection"? Or does the Secret Service frown on that sort of thing....
posted by Balisong at 3:09 PM on November 21, 2004

Balisong: I've actually been thinking about that idea for a while. Care to help me round up some venture capital?
posted by bob sarabia at 3:11 PM on November 21, 2004

I think this is an interesting recreation of the event. What's all the hype about? Could it have happened the way stated or not? A virtual recreation is a great way of exploring this question.
posted by xammerboy at 3:12 PM on November 21, 2004

We have the technology.
posted by emelenjr at 3:18 PM on November 21, 2004

I'm wondering if our individual response to this is related to each of our ages..

I'm betting that those of us that watched this on tv for days back in '63 have more of a problem with it than those for whom it is a comment in a history book...

it bothers me... I was 15 when it happened....
posted by HuronBob at 3:24 PM on November 21, 2004

Now if only emelenjr's link had an option for GWB. . .
posted by page404 at 3:29 PM on November 21, 2004

I'm waiting for the Reagan special edition expansion pack. I hear it comes with a free poster of Jodi Foster!
posted by fatbobsmith at 3:30 PM on November 21, 2004

Next on the list... "Grand Theft Auto, Princess Di Edition"?

pffft. Madonna did that years ago.

i just wanted to state for the record that I visited Dealey Plaza with thomcatspike & met UfezJones there. and you guys haven't. neener neener
posted by matteo at 3:30 PM on November 21, 2004

Why is this worse than any other violent video game, particularly ones based on other historical events? Personally I find the popularity of all of them depressing but not in the least, sadly, surprising.
posted by billsaysthis at 3:34 PM on November 21, 2004

and anyway, if you guys are talking about creepy/tasteless, check this out, instead:

The Madonna-Pamela Anderson Prophecy

also good:

UPDATE (1/17/04): The significance of John Hinckley's "release" from a state mental hospital he has been a long-term patient of since his attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan in 1981 may not be immediately obvious. It is a fact, one reported not only in newspapers but on televised news programs at the end of March 1981, that the Hinckley and Bush families were very close ... both as friends and in the oil business. They still are.
What better person for the current Bush administration to use for an assassination of Hillary Clinton than their own pet zombie, John Hinckley? If he isn't caught, they'll blame it on Muslim extremists. If he is, he'll be made a patsy ... again.
UPDATE (3/5/04): I should add that even if Hillary is on the ticket as a running mate, she will still remain in danger. A Kerry/Clinton ticket would be a more threatening one to the Bush camp than, say, a Kerry/Edwards ticket. But it also opens up the possibility of the presidential candidate, John Kerry, dying under mysterious circumstances, placing Hillary out as frontrunner but also as lead suspect in what would truly be an extraordinary scandal. This is discussed on The U.S. Election of 2004 and Signature of Death for the U.S. President in 2005.

posted by matteo at 3:37 PM on November 21, 2004

Why is this worse than any other violent video game

Hey, yeah! They should totally make a Lincoln assassination game. I'd wager it'd be a hit with the "War of Northern Aggression" demographic.
(What to call it? My vote is for Hitman: Sic Semper Tyrannis.)
posted by jenovus at 3:39 PM on November 21, 2004

No rocket launcher...
posted by joelf at 3:42 PM on November 21, 2004

There's been a lot of good analysis of the JFK assassination show on cable TV lately including simulations and spatial analyses based on all known photographic information.

Oswald was obviously not the lone gunman. And the world has a lot to thank LBJ and the sensibility of the US government at the time for commissioning a poorly trained team and closing the book so suddenly on this. No I am absolutely not being sarcastic. Can you imagine how a shocked, proud, uninformed American public would have reacted if it was proven the assassination had direct Cuban and/or Soviet connnections?

Sometimes telling the truth to a democratic citizenry is just far too dangerous.
posted by DirtyCreature at 3:44 PM on November 21, 2004

Wow. Sort of reminiscent of that 9/11 game from whenever back. Except with a prize. And I was more willing to allow it when I thought the prize was being offered in the conspiracy-minded spirit of, "what they say happened that day was clearly impossible, so go on and take our money if you can actually pull it off."

But looking at the site itself, it seems more glib. Which is too bad. Still, I find it interesting that it even exists. Wish I could try it out on this iMac...
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:46 PM on November 21, 2004

Sometimes telling the truth to a democratic citizenry is just far too dangerous.

What a noble lie. Strauss agrees.
posted by The White Hat at 3:52 PM on November 21, 2004

I was a JFK geek in my younger days, and I find this pretty disturbing and tasteless. I mean, crosshairs on the guy's head? If you really want to get your kicks playing around with computer simulations of the day's events, I'm sure there are other options than taking part in this shooting contest.
posted by gubo at 3:53 PM on November 21, 2004

12:30 p.m., November 22nd, 1963. The weather is fine. You have a roffle.
posted by chrid at 3:58 PM on November 21, 2004

And I was hoping it was an Infocom game.
say "Hello, shooter."
posted by jmccorm at 4:20 PM on November 21, 2004

Eh. I'm keen on the manhole theory myself. Makes a lot more sense than Oswald.
posted by ehintz at 4:22 PM on November 21, 2004

When I went to the 6th Floor Museum, this is what I was looking for.
posted by Jart at 4:29 PM on November 21, 2004

Like jmccorm, I was more excited by this when I thought it was a text adventure.
posted by frenetic at 4:32 PM on November 21, 2004


It isn't as simple as that, kid.


Rifle: Taken.

Ammunition: As you pick up the shells, you see the motorcade come around the corner in front of the Depository. You'd better hurry.




You pull the trigger but nothing happens.


Done. The rifle is now ready to fire.


Shouldn't you take aim first?

The motorcade goes past your window. You see Kennedy
in the back seat. Jackie is seated next to him.


Through the rifle sight, you see the President's head in your crosshairs.


You pull the trigger. Oops! You've shot the Governor instead!

posted by neckro23 at 4:46 PM on November 21, 2004

The Kennedy family has already denounced this. I don't blame them.

Yes, because when I think "moral fiber," the Kennedys spring immediately to mind.
posted by jonmc at 4:50 PM on November 21, 2004

posted by dougunderscorenelso at 5:04 PM on November 21, 2004

Far more low-tech, but far more interesting, is "The Eternal Frame," the 1975 re-enactment of the Kennedy assassination by the Bay Area-based Ant Farm art collective. Shot (sorry!) on location in Dealey Plaza and featuring frame-by-frame choreography and Jackie in drag, the film was an early milestone in video-based art and features the appalling and hilarious reactions of tourist/pilgrims gathered on the grassy knoll.

JFK was also prominently featured in Ant Farm's 1975 "Media Burn" spectacle at San Francisco's Cow Palace, which featured artists (in ensembles that were equal parts Evil Knieval and George Jetson) driving a reconstructed Cadillac through a pyramid of flaming televisions.

For all Metafilter New Yorkers, the International Center of Photography has a great show up now on Ant Farm, the perfect complement to their exhibit of JFK photographs by Cornell Capa.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 5:06 PM on November 21, 2004

Yes, because when I think "moral fiber," the Kennedys spring immediately to mind.

That's funny, because when I hear assholes preach about morality, I think of a bit of the old ultraviolence myself.
posted by Busithoth at 5:10 PM on November 21, 2004


That's not the least bit funny - aren't you aware that there are some things which shouldn't be done in Dealy Plaza? This is supposed to be serious. A man, the President of the United States of America, is about to be murdered in cold blood.
In spite of that, you seem preoccupied with your sub-juvennile preoccupation with tastelessness. Try showing a bit of class for once in your shallow little life,
and show some proper respect for history.

Looking once again through the rifle sight, you begin to line up your target.


posted by Smart Dalek at 5:12 PM on November 21, 2004

Busitoth, I grew up Irish Catholic, hearing all the time about how fucking wonderful they are. So whenever I see them deified, I have to pipe up with the truth, that they're basically the Democrat version of the Bush family. And I spare nobody based on politics.
posted by jonmc at 5:15 PM on November 21, 2004

Oswald was obviously not the lone gunman.

It's not obvious at all. Show us some real evidence, please. Anything.

Oswald was a trained sharpshooter who was good at 200 yards, more than twice the distance in Dealey Plaza. The time was sufficient to get off three shots. And the angles line up perfectly with the 6th floor (don't believe those "it must have been a magic bullet" claims).

And the world has a lot to thank LBJ and the sensibility of the US government at the time for commissioning a poorly trained team and closing the book so suddenly on this.

The Warren Commission's biggest error was attempting to define the order of the shots. They debated about whether they should even try, and decided that they would. That doesn't invalidate their other work.

People don't want to accept that a lone nut with a gun can kill a president, even though it's happened before and could still happen again.
posted by pmurray63 at 5:46 PM on November 21, 2004

posted by angry modem at 6:28 PM on November 21, 2004

I think that's the catch on the "Up to $100,000" challenge....

It can't be done.

The Warren Report assumes a single gunman, but the bullets do some pretty eratic, unusual behavior...
One of those once-in-a-lifetime, lucky, crazy shots..

The challenge is to re-create the the incident that leads to the Warren Report's conclusions, but you'd really need another vantage point (grassy knoll)...

Unless the $100k will be given to the contestant who COMES CLOSEST... In which case, I'm in!!
posted by Balisong at 6:46 PM on November 21, 2004

I thought I remembered reading that Oswald wasn't as good a shot as you're saying, pmurray63. It's been a while since I read High Treason (the second link apparently the sequel, which I didn't know about) and I have not scoured the Warren Report recently. And I definitely do remember there being an issue with witnesses in the TSBD seeing Oswald in a break room a few floors (?) below the 6th floor, sometime after the shootings, drinking a Coke. Not out of breath, etc. I don't know how many shooters there were, but I do think there's something to the theory that Oswald took the fall for someone else when he was arrested and later murdered.

Oh well, I wish I'd titled the post "Back and to the left."
posted by emelenjr at 6:59 PM on November 21, 2004

jonmc, I hear you. I'm from Mass., and heard plenty of laudations about them. Also plenty of nasty accounts. I loved the Dead Kennedys, but I didn't begrudge the family for resenting their name.
posted by Busithoth at 8:16 PM on November 21, 2004

neckro23, that was awesome.

(Long-time Infocom fan)
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:23 PM on November 21, 2004

People don't want to accept that a lone nut with a gun can kill a president

"People" couldn't really care either way. Don't let your own prejudices about how you want "people"s minds to think get in the way of the ballistic, eyewitness, audio and physiological evidence that fits very poorly with any lone gunman scenario.

As a matter of fact, I don't believe there was a conscious conspiracy at all by anyone involved in the examination to hide what was known to be the truth. The government wanted a particular answer, those involved were chosen and then encouraged to give that answer. There was enough doubt at the time to be satisfied with that and for the country to move on without having to think of the uglier consequences of the alternatives. They'd recently narrowly escaped nuclear war in the Cuban Missile Crisis and weren't about to face the prospect of the public demanding punishing Cuba militarily.

Actually a second gunman isn't even needed to accept that some Cuban or Soviet elements were involved in the assassination planning. The Warren Report was rushed and sloppy, witnesses and examiners were coerced into accepting a story and the government wanted to move on for the good of the country. I don't think many informed Warren Report-supporters would dispute that.

But let's say you don't even accept that there was more to the assassination planning than just Oswald's. Try convincing "people" that the government could have been beyond doubt about that conclusion at the time, and that they were willing to accept the prospect of a military strike on Cuba demanded by an outraged public.
posted by DirtyCreature at 8:43 PM on November 21, 2004

posted by Krrrlson at 9:38 PM on November 21, 2004

Neckro, that's awesome, but you're going to have to share the prize with Smart Dalek, since he made the Infocom experience complete.
posted by Planter at 9:39 PM on November 21, 2004

Dammit, I have a Mac.
posted by jefbla at 11:31 PM on November 21, 2004

The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race
by J.G.Ballard
Oswald was the starter.

From his window above the track he opened the race by firing the starting gun. It is believed that the first shot was not properly heard by all the drivers. In the following confusion, Oswald fired the gun two more times, but the race was already underway.

Kennedy got off to a bad start.

There was a governor in his car and its speed remained constant at about fifteen miles an hour. However, shortly afterwards, when the governor had been put out of action, the car accelerated rapidly, and continued at high speed along the remainder of the course.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 4:27 AM on November 22, 2004

I love that GoogleNews has 246 articles about this.
"Here's something we can be morally outraged about that doesn't affect or alter our lives one iota!"
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 6:54 AM on November 22, 2004

A buddy of mine once sent me a post card he made by taking the image of JKF's head exploding from the Zapruder film and photoshopping it. When he was done it looked like the JFK assassination was taking place inside a vodka bottle. Above this he added the words ABSOLUT ASSASSIN.

That's called Using a National Tragedy to Parody Consumer Culture.

I'm not sure what to call this.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:38 AM on November 22, 2004

emelenjr: Try Gerald Posner's Case Closed.

the ballistic, eyewitness, audio and physiological evidence that fits very poorly with any lone gunman scenario

DirtyCreature: Again, such as...?
posted by pmurray63 at 10:21 AM on November 22, 2004

Can I mod a level where theres scary chains and machinery hanging from the ceiling? Can we pimp out his ride?

COMING SOON: " 'The Passion' : can you navigate the Crucifixion the way the King James version depicted it?"
posted by buddhanarchist at 1:00 PM on November 22, 2004

Washington Post article from 2001:
A new, peer-reviewed article in Science and Justice, a quarterly publication of Britain's Forensic Science Society, says the NAS panel's study was seriously flawed. It says the panel failed to take into account the words of a Dallas patrolman that show the gunshot-like noises occurred "at the exact instant that John F. Kennedy was assassinated."

In fact, the author of the article, D.B. Thomas, a government scientist and JFK assassination researcher, said it was more than 96 percent certain that there was a shot from the grassy knoll to the right of the president's limousine, in addition to the three shots from a book depository window above and behind the president's limousine.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 4:44 PM on November 22, 2004

Whats more important: naming who actually pulled the trigger, or naming the forces at work that it benefited? Does the game cover this part?
posted by buddhanarchist at 5:15 PM on November 22, 2004

pmurray63 : Plenty of research out there for you to examine. The magic bullet theory is still one of the major problems contrary to what you claimed above. The key is shut out the tone of the author's explanation - an author's conviction in one explanation can make the improbable sound probable and the rational appear deluded.
posted by DirtyCreature at 8:26 PM on November 22, 2004

I can't figure out why everyone thinks this is in poor taste. Computer reenactments of crimes and accidents are commonplace in today's world. Why is it this one that garners the "bad taste" label? It's not even the first time the Kennedy assassination has been done on computers. Of course... it's the first time control of the simulation has been put in YOUR hands, but how does that translate in to "bad taste" as opposed to "extremely valuable forensic tool"?
posted by Sir Mildred Pierce at 9:02 PM on November 22, 2004

This isn't bad taste in comparison to the Zapruder game a buddy of mine made in college. He programmed a (not so sophisticated graphically) game of Dealey plaza where you could change perspective (be in the grassy knoll or across the way in the park), weapons (e.g. instead of a rifle you could have a flame thrower or rocket launcher) and change victims in the car. For some reason you could not only slot out JFK for Elvis, but you could slow out JFK/.Jackie for a huge cow (literally) in the back seat. He was so afraid it would get uploaded to the Net and ruin his (hypothetical) law career, he refused to let anyone play it beyond his desktop so they couldn't upload it. Dammit.
posted by jbielby at 6:02 PM on November 23, 2004

« Older Advertising bigotry   |   Dan Dare concept art Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments