Most Disgusting Game Ever

IMG_3703-v01No, I’m not referring to the U.S. election. I’m referring to “Bycatch.” The name refers not to fish accidentally caught and killed while trying to catch and kill other fish, but to humans murdered in a game in which the player hopes to murder certain other humans but knows that he or she stands a good chance of murdering some bycatch.

The Nazis never reached this height of banality in the general German public, but had they done so it would be a sinister feature of tens of thousands of Hollywood movies. If Russians sat around playing a board game that involved blowing up Ukrainian children, the Washington Post would have already published several front-page articles.

This is a game that puts you in the shoes of one particular human being, thus far, but imagines several engaging in the same activity in competition. In Bycatch you become Barack Obama going through his Tuesday murder list. But Bycatch imagines as many nations as people playing the game, each engaging in a drone murder spree against the others. Here’s an excerpt from the rules:

“How to strike

“Suspects hiding in other nations can be eliminated by means of a strike. You choose the opponent you wish to target and go through these steps:

“Discard two identical citizens who are not suspects from your hand.

“Remove three consecutive citizens from your chosen opponent’s hand.

“Show these cards to the other players.

“Place them face down in front of you.

“Failed Strike: If none of the eliminated citizens are suspects, they are all collateral damage.

“Successful Strike: If at least one eliminated citizen is a suspect, do the following:

  • Place the current intelligence card face 
down on top of the eliminated citizens.
  • Reveal a new intelligence card.

“The remaining citizens are collateral damage.”

IMG_3688-v01Thrilling! I wonder how one wins such a game of easy murder?

“Add 100 points for each suspect eliminated by a strike. Use the intelligence cards to identify eliminated suspects.

“Collateral Damage: Detract 10 points for each citizen in a strike who was not a suspect.”

So, if you casually murder three “wrong” people, you lose 30 points. But if you only murder two “wrong” people and murder one “right” person, you gain 80 points. I wonder what people will do?

This is a game to be played by well-off people who can afford to purchase such crap and to sit around playing with it. And it’s being marketed to them with a wink by people who know better. The game’s would-be profiteers have this to say about it:

“Appealing artwork helps you empathize with your citizens and the horrors of drone strikes and collateral damage.”

Right. Because tossing lives around on playing cards and making more points the more you murder is a well-established path to empathy.

I thought I couldn’t grow any more disgusted with the human race. I was wrong.<--break->

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  • unheilig

    Ugly yes but why is it worse than video games in which you can murder, rape, rob and destroy without fear of consequences?

    • Hp B

      Uh, because it’s real and video games are not real..?

      • A.T.

        Its still just a board/card game parodying the drone wars.

        Murder, rape, and robbery are just as real as drone strike splatter.

        Its worse than most video games, in that the scoring system is soft on, in fact relies upon antisocial carnage to win, there are no alternative routes to victory such as just sending in tactical agents to arrest terrorists, promotes the false notion of the universality of drone warring, when the U.S. is pretty much the only country in the world who drones regularly, and may promote the idea that drone strikes can be made on sovereign territory without local authority.

        There are lots of bad or otherwise objectionable video, board, and card games that normalize criminal activity.

        • Hp B

          You’re a strange one.
          Ever hear the phrase ‘circular logic’?

          • A.T.

            Since I’m commenting on the culture of circular logic, what exactly do you expect?

            In any case, positing x is true because of y, and y is true because of x, is not my proposition and conclusion.

            My conclusion is that that conditioning acceptance of circular reasoning is the objective of the proposition. ‘Bycatch’ exists to normalize the drone wars; whether as a sponteneous cultural reaction or guided psyop is unclear.

            Reacting in a politically correct aghast manner, and not seeing it for what it is, is willfully missing the point while affirming it with polite noise.

    • I don’t know all the video games and they are certainly evil but I suspect that most don’t involve calculating decisions to murder children in an effort to score points

      • Brockland A.T.

        No, most don’t. Children can simulate performing murder in some of the more open-environment video games. However, online bullying on combat oriented games is probably more damaging.

        In my personal (but outdated) experience, children are often victimized in combat games but anonymously so. That is, its not always crystal-clear if players lured into an open-combat zone of a game to be PKed (player-killed) against their wishes is a child. Or for that matter, if the players doing the luring are children themselves. At best, its a vicious but effective streetproofing exercise on not trusting strangers.

        Even though most people are able to separate real from make-believe, the sheer malice of some players is quite real, amplified by the cloak of anonymity. If an online account does develop a universally bad rap, the real person can start over under a new account, no penalty in the same game or a different one. Even losing the level attained by the abandoned account is softened by buying another account.

        There have been precedents for killing child NPCs in video games. Dying Light,
        No more Room in Hell, Fallout 1 and 2 (Fallout is a very popular game).

        The poor gameplay value of ‘Bycatch’ is unlikely to attract child players. In fact, its not clear if this game has any real market potential at all. Only the final sales figures will say for sure who buys and plays it. Card games for kids are a niche market, and this isn’t Magic: The Gathering level material.

  • Hp B

    If there was any doubts before as to who and what we’re dealing with here, it’s gone now. This isn’t some Hollywood slasher/sadist movie, it’s the real thing. Real demonic evil.

  • Brockland A.T.

    ‘Bycatch’ may be immoral, but its based on a historical precedent for normalizing amoral behavior with gaming. In fact, the author seems to be completely out of touch with key segments of popular culture.

    Gamers are very often tech geeks, no small number of which glorify the military and participate in it.
    The most famous wargamer ever associated with a real war scenario was Sean ‘Vile Rat’ Smith. Famous not just because he died at the Benghazi attack, Smith was a notorious player on the ‘Eve Online’ MMORPG wargame. Smith orchistrated a deep-cover infiltration and annihilation of a rival team (clan) in that community. Game clanning is not just a team playing a game; its very damn-near like a cult. Or a good team-building exercise for a spook shop.

    The modern roots hearken back to the still infamous ‘Monopoly’ game Monopoly (Parker Brothers) and its antecedent, ‘The Landlord’s Game’ (Elizabeth J. Maggie Phillips), was played in various formulations before Charles Darrow sold a version to Parker Brothers top be come the dominant industry standard. Lizzie Phillips originally intended to teach the dangers of monopoly and rentiers, since the whole object of the game was to own all the property and bankrupt the other players. Parker Brothers emphasized the gameplay elements which succeeded in obscuring the educational element.

    Everyone enters a new game expecting to win. As in real life, people dream of having the privileges of the 1% of 1% and only till retirement do the majority realize, they aren’t winning. Until then, they play the game, confident of a long-term payoff, as long as they are paid off enough to keep playing. Monopoly games usually end in rancor over cheating and brutal take-no-prisoners attitudes. Which can make for fine spectator’s sport.

    The genre of the ‘knockout game’ continued into the Cold War era as various war games found life on game boards like Axis and Allies and Risk. Tens of millions of virtual men (and countless unrecorded civilians) have died in the imaginations of more or less innocent gamers. Many aren’t inherently violent, but internalized the particular worldview that wars of aggression are somehow normal.

    Enter the video game era. Boardgames were an isolated geek subculture, that became mainstream with the advent of popular video gaming. Most people may recall the odious ‘Custor’s Revenge’ game, where a pixel General Custer assaults an Indian maiden to win the game. That’s crude child’s play. The real head games are in the ‘4X’ and MMORPG genres of video gaming. Try and follow the money, and you will find hints of the CIA’s In-Q-Tel and like shops buying in via venture capital ops.

    4X games and many Multiple Multiplayer Online Games are imperialism distilled. Many war-themed board games came to life and found a new audience with video gaming. 4X means, Explore, Expand, Exploit, and Exterminate as the player attempts to build an empire. Famous for dumb AI combat and dumber AI diplomacy, these games exalt the mafiaboy in thou.

    Whether tactical such as Medal of Honor or strategic such as Civilization, killing off the ‘other’ has never been so much fun. One can even take imperialism the the stars against make-believe aliens; video games are the hard sci-fi war novels of a new generation.

    This piffy little card game was probably dreamt up as a psy-op by people so immersed in the culture of sociopathy it never occurred to them it needed a bit more fig leaf to cover its assault-the-world attitude problem.

    Its sad only insofar as its as unidimensional as ‘Custer’s Revenge’, and doesn’t bother to gloss over the inhumanity of humans.

    The redeeming factor of most of the best 4X games is that the player can assume a defensive posture and pretend to be responding to an act of aggression, not instigating one. Civilization, for example, has two distinct player types; warmongers who want to win by war, and builders, who seek to outbuild a warmongery AI.

    So, yes this is a cultural significant card game, but no, its not beyond the pale as far as gaming goes. That award goes to whomever thought serial killer collector cards were a good idea.