A disturbing virtual reality simulator lets players live out the unspeakable horror of the 2001 terror attacks from inside the North Tower — and it’s drawing fire.
Created by a group of student developers in France, the first-person 3D simulator is titled “[08:46]” in a nod to the exact time the first hijacked plane slammed into the World Trade Center.
Gamers assume the role of someone in an upper-floor North Tower office as the two planes crash, the buildings erupt in flames and victims scramble in vain for an exit, video of the simulator posted on YouTube reveals.
Trapped workers make desperate phones calls, cry, gasp for air, break windows – and even jump.
“Why would anyone do this? It’s disgusting. It hurts,” Denise Matuza, whose husband Walter Matuza died in the North Tower.
“I’m sure there are sick people who will get a cheap thrill from this, but people should know it’s not a make-believe thing. In real life, it was someone’s husband or wife jumping and leaving behind a family,” she said.
Matuza and her husband were raising three young sons aged 9, 6 and 3, when the Carr Futures telecom analyst became one of the nearly 3,000 innocent people killed in the attacks.
“It’s not for someone to put goggles on to see what happened,” she told The News.
“If you lose someone in such a horrific way, you shouldn’t have to relive that. We know what probably happened, but we weren’t there,” Dixie Hobbs, who lost her 31-year-old daughter Tara Hobbs in the South Tower, told The News.
“Sometimes I get to a certain point imagining what happened, and I have to stop myself. It’s too painful. It’s too much,” the grieving mom who moved to North Carolina from New York a year before the terror attack said.
“I wouldn’t ever participate in something like this. I don’t see it as beneficial. Maybe some people might learn from it, but I don’t think it’s something I could handle,” Hobbs, 72, said.
One of the simulator’s creators defended the project Monday in an email to The News.
“We hoped to help people build an emotional connection to the victims of the attacks,” producer Pierre-Yves Revellin said.
“We would want people to think about 9/11 from the victims’ internal points of view … rather than the external, tele-visual point of view, which seems cold to us,” he said.
The game allows those wearing the virtual reality set to live out the horrors from inside the North Tower.
“We understand that we probably hurt some people, but as artists, we have a responsibility to talk about what touches us and we tried to do this with all the honesty that we had and without any kind of disrespect for the victims,” he said.
Revellin said he visited Ground Zero after the attack, and his team did extensive research and interviewed a 9/11 survivor from Canada.
The simulator was developed over three months by a six-member team in collaboration with two actors hired for voice and motion capture, its website says.
“We don’t need this,” an avid gamer with the Twitter name @icystorm said on the social media site in response to the release.
Categorised in: Bizarre
This post was written by Nadia Vella