Kuma Reality Games
Available for download from kumawar.com as a free seven-day trial, the game will put players in the combat boots of a 25-year-old Lt. Kerry on Feb. 28, 1969
By Columnist
msnbc.com
updated 9/17/2004 5:46:08 PM ET 2004-09-17T21:46:08

Move over Lara Croft.  Say hello to Lt. John Kerry, action video game hero.

Later this month the presidential candidate's service in Vietnam -- the subject of ongoing controversy -- receives the full video game treatment with "John Kerry and the men of Swift Boat PCF-94." 

Available for download from kumawar.com as a free seven-day trial, the game will put players in the combat boots of a 25-year-old Lt. Kerry on Feb. 28, 1969, the date he earned his Silver Star citation. 

Players will have the opportunity to view and participate in the action from Kerry's perspective, up to and including the point where Kerry beached his swift boat on the banks of the Mekong and chased down the enemy on foot.   

The game comes courtesy of Kuma Reality, a New York City game developer that specializes in creating games -- or what it calls "interactive reporting" -- based on real-life battles. 

Kuma's recent titles include episodes based around medal recipients including Pat Tillman, the former pro-footballer killed in Afghanistan, and Marine Capt. Brian R. Chontosh, a Navy Cross winner in Iraq.

According to Kuma CEO Keith Halper, a game about Kerry's Silver Star actions was a no-brainer. 

"The level of rancor has been so high and what is lost is the details," said Halper referring to the attacks on Kerry's Vietnam service by the partisan group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.  "People want to know, what did Kerry do?  What did swift boats do in Vietnam?  What types of missions did swift boats go on?"

Halper hopes that "Swift Boat PCF-94," which is based on official Naval records, will not only illustrate Kerry's experience, but that of a typical swift boat crew member in Vietnam. 

"You are going to walk away with a visceral sense of how dangerous a typical swift boat mission was,"  he said.

Included in the mission will be several dozen written pages concerning the history of swift boat missions in Vietnam, satellite images and maps, and an interview with the president of a swift boat veterans group.

But in a nod to game play, "Swift Boat PCF-94" will not hue strictly to Kerry's experience.  On Feb. 28, 1969, Kerry was indeed the tactical commander of a three boat squadron that suffered repeated ambushes.  And on that day he is credited with overriding common swift boat procedure by pressing the attack.  But whereas Kerry only beached his swift boat once, players may have the option in "Swift Boat PFC-94" to up the action from Silver Star winner to Rambo.

"Our first objective is to replay that events that occurred in 1969," said Halper.  "But we also want to allow people the chance to experience some sort of free-form play."

After the expiration of the seven-day trial, players have the option to subscribe to Kuma's library of games for a $9.99 monthly fee.  New titles become available approximately every two weeks. 

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