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Fair game? Investigating a real kidnapping

- April 10th, 2012

As we learned from B.C.’s provincial budget simulator, games are popping up in unexpected places all the time. And last week, the boundary between news and gaming was blurred by CBC’s: Kidnapped: The Search for Graham McMynn.

It’s a Flash-based game where you gather clues in a police probe of a missing young man. It looks, well, flashy, and it’s kind of fun, but what makes it noteworthy is the fact that Graham McMynn is a real dude. He was kidnapped in 2006 and spent eight days in the hands of captors in Vancouver, and the game is based on evidence from the case.

 

mcmynn

According to a 2008 Canadian Press article, McMynn was “stripped, bound with plastic zip ties, blindfolded with duct tape, threatened with rape and dismemberment and feeling a pistol put to his head.”

At that time, his father said his son might never get past it. (McMynn describes his ordeal in detail here).

The game is part of an interactive package CBC put together for a season finale episode of The Fifth Estate, which aired Friday.

But is the game a cutting-edge experiment in news entertainment or is it a trivialization of one man’s horrific ordeal and his family’s suffering? What’s next – Russell Williams RPG? Or is this any different than the many film adaptations of major crime stories?

But while games have had a long history of challenging ethics and taste, at least Leisure Suit Larry wasn’t based on a true story.