Frustrated from weeks spent watching BP's oil spread far and wide across the Gulf of Mexico? Ever wish you could swoop superhero-like to the scene and stop the evil crude in its tracks yourself?
Some independent game developers have come up with a way to let you blow off steam — if not stem the flow of oil itself.
The developers from a company called Super Boise have launched an Xbox 360 game that tasks players with blasting globs of oil from the ocean's waters. And they are not the only indie game makers using current events as gaming fodder.
"" is a tower-defense game that challenges players to stop the oil escaping from an oil rig owned by a company called "DP." After the rig explodes, players must strategically place cannons, torpedoes and other weapons in the ocean — which then shoot down globs of escaping oil.
As the game plays, a news ticker at the top of the screen scrolls satirical factoids and bits of commentary about the oil spill on your game screen.
The game developers from Super Boise describe their game like this: "The Government and Oil Corporations have failed to stop the oil leak. Clearly they haven't tried tower defense!! Do you have what it takes to cap the leak?"
Gaming blog spotted the game on the Xbox Live marketplace. (Check out their video about "Crisis in the Gulf" here.) Xbox owners can download a demo of the game for free or pay 80 points (about $1) to download the whole game.
"Crisis in the Gulf" is part of Microsoft's . Microsoft has created a system in which homebrew game developers can create small games inexpensively, have them peer-reviewed and then distributed through the Xbox Live online market. Xbox 360 owners can then download these games for only a few dollars. These indie games range from humorous bits of amusement to some reasonably polished games. (Msnbc.com is a Microsoft-NBC Universal joint venture.)
But this isn't the first time indie game developers have created games as an entertaining way of .
The last presidential election inspired a slew of Sara Palin-related online Flash games – " ," " " and " " to name a few.
Meanwhile, the financial industry bailout has spawned a veritable flood of games from " " for the iPhone to " " at Newgrounds.com.
Though many of the games based on current events are humorous, amateurish or just plain juvenile, a is taking a serious look at the place where games and news meet.
"Our goal is to identify the ways journalism and videogames intersect, and to offer new perspectives on how those fields might work together in important ways in the future," Ian Bogost, the Georgia Tech professor who founded the project, writes at the project's blog. "Of particular concern to us is this question: Can videogames act journalistically? If so, how so?"
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