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September 12th, A Toy World

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JaySeptember 12As the US readies to go to the polls for the mid-term elections on Tuesday, the phones have been ringing off-the-hook from campaigners trying to earn votes for their candidates. I usually try to avoid politics since my single vote seems so minuscule in this world dominated by corruption and greed. As they say, "you can't fight city hall," right?

Wrong (get out and VOTE.)

News this weekend from Iraq is that Saddam Hussein will be put to death for his revenge against a town north of Baghdad, in 1982, after a failed assassination attempt left him unharmed. And while the timing of the verdict was no doubt influenced by the current Administration, for the Iraqi people it is largely being seen as a non-event since it certainly won't mean an end to the violence that has become their lives.

So why is the US even in Iraq? We had no business being there; not then, and certainly not now. Was it WMDs? Terrorists? Oil? And what gives US the right to play the World's police when there is plenty about US that remains unjust and corrupt? As Lauryn Hill sings, "How you gonna win when you ain't right within?"

This post began as a mention of Newsgaming's 2003 Shockwave game, September 12th, A Toy World, which simply and effectively illustrates that "violence begets more violence." And following the wrath of the current Administration, are we really any safer? And at what cost?

Play September 12th, A Toy World

This country has a lot of making up to do with the World after George W. Bush's massacre of our dignity, integrity, and of our own democracy. Let US begin the long and arduous healing and mending process with this November 7th mid-term elections. Save the Republic!

The views expressed above are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the other contributing authors.


Geez, spare us the political satire and just post games...


eloquent post. nice simulation.


That's serious business. The simulation is quite simple, but it's theme is not. Nice to see that moderation exists among the north american folks. Cheers for that, Jay.



This is Jay's blog, that is his opinion. He is doing YOU and all of us a service by using his blog to post and review many great games, but it is not the only thing he is "allowed" to post on his blog.

I appreciate his views, perhaps because I agree with them for the most part, but also because it is nice to hear people speak out in a country that for too long has stayed quiet. Few people can make themselves heard and fewer want to be. The country we live in today was molded by the struggles of dissidents and people with a clearer understanding of what is going on than the average drone of the system.

This isn't just about Democrat or Republican because, unfortunately, there is no black and white here. People on both sides have personal agendas and people on both sides can potentially save us...

Thanks, Jay, for the website, your time and your opinions.


Agreemwnt with Imok20
Thanks Jay for being a person who thinks for themselves.

(hhm, small amount of hipocrisy there, ah well)


I applaud you, Jay, for expressing your opinions in such a forward manner. If only more people would come out and dare to state their opinions in the same way.

The game shows a very important point, albeit in a rather simplistic way. It goes too far to say that every act of violence creates a new terrorist, and if we just leave them alone they will all turn into model citizens.
But it is true that violence and injustice create an atmosphere of hatred, and hatred is vertile ground for revenge.
The only way towards lasting peace is through understanding and acceptance. Understanding and acceptance of a different culture and a different set of believes. If the USA wants to be a leader of the world, let it then lead in understanding.


I applaud you, Jay, for expressing your opinions in such a forward manner. If only more people would come out and dare to state their opinions in the same way.

The game shows a very important point, albeit in a rather simplistic way. It goes too far to say that every act of violence creates a new terrorist, and if we just leave them alone they will all turn into model citizens.
But it is true that violence and injustice create an atmosphere of hatred, and hatred is vertile ground for revenge.
The only way towards lasting peace is through understanding and acceptance. Understanding and acceptance of a different culture and a different set of believes. If the USA wants to be a leader of the world, let it then lead in understanding.


a.k.a. it's not loading for me, the little shockwave loading thing doesn't...load.
Any suggestions?


I have to disagree somewhat with the "Violence Begets Violence" philosophy, as our history is rife with examples that the right kind of violence can end violence. Just look to Post WWII Japan and Germany, for instance.

So though I disagree with Jay's views, I nevertheless respect his right to use his own blog to occasionally make his views known.

Of course, if this blog turned into post after post of political views, I'd stop visiting. But I don't think that Jay would ultimately turn his blog away from great games. He's got a good thing going with that.


What a great game. Just killing and more killing, without ever having to worry about domestic dissent, newspapers back home, or claptrap politicians. This is paradise!

What I learned from this game was: it's good to shoot lots of missiles, because then you kill lots of innocent people, and then you create lots of terrists, and then when you shoot more missiles in the future, you are killin more and more terrists! Keep shooting lots of missiles, and suddenly everyone is a terrist! Then you can't miss! Hooray!

Hip Hip Hooray for our Beloved Leader! Hooray for the American Empire! May we kill as many terrists as possible, and enslave the rest (oops, sorry, I meant "liberate")! Three cheers!

On a more serious note, I heard on NPR the other day, from a former pentagon target planner, that the magic number of civilian casualties was "30". If more than 30 innocents were expected to die in a strike it had to be signed of by the SecDef or the prez. Now honestly, who wouldn't mind seeing a few sets of 30 of their neighbors gone to have this whole mafia apparatus removed from DC? Put it in perspective, people! Somebody, come "liberate" us! We have lots of natural resources left, really!!


I would like to be able to play the game... but it won't load. I gave it a good 10 minutes on my 3 mbps connection.


Good Comment Measure. Your name suits you, a very well measured comment, most especially as you disagree. Would that the rest of the country could apply such well measured thought. Disagreements are not settled through emotion but rather calm discussion of the facts and ultimately both sides winning and losing a little.
Though I must admit to being overly emotional on this political subject myself. I try to keep in a rational state of mind.
You are completely correct, Jay has every right to express himself in HIS blog. He allows us the latitude to express ourselves whether we disagree with him or not. We do not pay his bills. Hurrah for the Right of Freedom of Speech!
--- Havent tried the game yet. :-)

Stig Hemmer November 5, 2006 3:32 PM

I don't have Windows, so I can't play the game discussed here, but I wanted to say a few words on politics:

It is good to see that some game creators use their medium to send a serious message occationally. Too many games treat violence as a good thing.

Bush has killed an lot more people that Osama bin Laden ever did. I hope he gets sent to prison for it.


Yep, tis Jays blog, and his opinion... Thank God for america... but i have when I go to Disney world to have FUN, the employees dont go off their left-wing, talk-points retoric before I get on Space Mountain...

Jay, speak freely man... I gave up politics years ago becasue both sides care about one thing... themselves. So, I dont care for either side... just saying I come here for some fun and games (Hence the name of the blog, jayisgames), not the political opinions that anyone can hear if they tune into AirAmerica.

JonDissed November 5, 2006 3:34 PM

Fun game, but not realistic. For example, when you blow up a terrorist, nearby civilians inevitably get killed. In real life, we have "smart missiles" that ONLY kill the bad guys.

Other than that, a very satisfying game. I KNOW I can beat it if I just keep at it a bit longer. Stay the course!


nice post, jay.


There was an article that came out sometime this fall in the New York Times about serious games (and referenced a "game" dealing with a political issue), though I can't find it in the online archives yet.
Could be an interesting read :D.


Great post, jay!
And Jon, in real life, 'smart' missiles aren't nearly as smart as you would hope...


I'm not sure that "treating it as a non-event" is a good description of "dancing in the streets and burning Hussein's portrait." It's your blog and your opinion, and I respect that, but it's always good to look around for other news sources before forming said opinion.


(I agree with Valarauka, me, Rene, and I value Measure's well spoken opinion)
Going deeper, I don't think there is anything such as a "smart" missle. How smart can it be to blow people and places up?


Smart missiles, like any other technology, are only as smart as the people using them. You can put a guided shaped charge into a building in the middle of a block of ten thousand people and only kill the people in that building - but that in no way guarantees that everyone accused of militancy is a militant, or that the information was wrong on the location of the militant, or if the militant is hiding in a hospital.

Smart missiles, not-so-smart people.


The other day, someone assumed that because I'm a Christian with relatively socially conservative (but economically liberal) views, I was a Bush supporter. He assumed that I agreed with Bush's fiscal policies that have put America into debt, tax cuts for the rich (myself being middle class), and an administration deep-seated in the pockets of big business executives.

I support the presidency, not the president. I respect the office and the tremendous pressures and attention to detail it requires, not the person holding the office. I wish people wouldn't assume I support Bush because I've been labeled a conservative (which I don't even consider myself).

I don't know why I'm rambling about this here. I'm not trying to get into a political debate, don't worry. All I'm saying is that I was offended at that person for making such a strange assessment.

Jay, I respect your opinions (some are similar to my own). I like games that make a social statement or are thought-provoking (see: darfur). I just wanted to let you know.


Cheers to Scramble!


I applaud your self-satisfied, ridiculous conviction that you live under fascist tyranny. Very convincing. Quite dangerous where you live is it? Can't even express your opinion these days (except on your games website.) I suppose we won't live under a true "democracy" until those pesky Republicans stop winning all those dang elections. If only we could force it along, eh? Maybe send conservatives to some kind of de-fascist, re-education camps? If you look forward to some real fascist fireworks, keep an eye on some of those European countries. I have a feeling the French will be getting tired of those marauding suburban "youths" pretty soon.

tallgeese4 November 5, 2006 9:44 PM

"News this weekend from Iraq is that Saddam Hussein will be put to death for his revenge against a town north of Baghdad, in 1982, after a failed assassination attempt left him unharmed. And while the timing of the verdict was no doubt influenced by the current Administration, for the Iraqi people it is largely being seen as a non-event since it certainly won't mean an end to the violence that has become their lives."

I really don't care if you make your opinions known, you should be able to and no one should be able to stop you. But in the above paragraph you make it sound like Saddam is a completely innocent victim.

One thing there actually made me angry. It was the statement: "for the Iraqi people it is largely being seen as a non-event." What makes you think you know what the Iraqi people think and how they feel? I guess if celebrating in the streets is "non-event", then you would be right.


Good job, Jay. Everyone trying to be so reserved and "politically accurate" any more makes me sick. Thanks for speaking your mind. I agree with you as I, also, am American. First this, then taking "Under God" out of the pledge of allegence, and it has even confirmed that on George Bush's Christmas cards he sent out to his christian friends and family, he wrote "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."
It's as if no one cares about the country anymore...


Jay- I've been visiting this games site for a long time. I am sincerely disappointed that you would post such a ridiculous rant on your site, however, the great thing about the US is that you are free to post whatever self-righteous drivel you want on your web site, it's protected by the First Ammendment. Everyone thought that Iraq had WMDs, and we HAVE found some, it's just not in the numbers we thought, and the coverage by the media was so negative that it was almost ignored.

Saddam's death a non-event? I guess those celebrations in the streets were staged... dang those evil Republicans!

lmok20- no black and white??? Saddam raped women, put people through plastic shredders, killed whenever he felt like it. The war on terror in Iraq has resulted in democratic elections for the first time in 30 years. Saddam's prisoners ended up dead or maimed. Guantanamo Bay prisoners gain weight while they're there.

Rene- "The only way towards lasting peace is through understanding and acceptance." That's what Chamberlain thought too. As I understand history, lasting peace has always been achieved by the good guys bombing the hell out of the bad guys until they surrendered.

Stig Hemer- "Bush has killed an lot more people that Osama bin Laden ever did. I hope he gets sent to prison for it." Comparing our President with the leader of a terrorist organization should indicate at least a mild paranoia, it's sad that this even needs to be addressed. Osama bin Ladin fired the first shot- several times. It took 9/11 for us to return fire. You think we would have had peace if we ignored it? More likely, all of us would be greeting each other with Allah Akbar by now.

On a closing note, it's always funny to see people complaining about the price of gas and then the next moment claim that we're in Iraq for the oil.


@Sweet Lei

Overreaction and misinterpretation are hallmarks of people who will not be rational enough to listen to another's opinion.

You have stated facts, true facts, but with no point to them. Yes, Saddam perpetrated these horrible acts, but was that the reason we went into Iraq? No, we assumed they had WMDs, which they did NOT have. They had old, outdated chemical weapons that would perhaps have asphyxiated a rat.

I think the black and white of the situation turned grey as soon as we left Afghanistan and sidestepped into Iraq for weapons that did not exist. That is a non-issue right now. So, they messed up, it can happen. But, next, we want to spread democracy, just like in Vietnam. Any excuse to just stay in Iraq. Saddam did horrible things and the world, especially Iraq is a better place without him in power, but right now we are killing people by the thousands, non-militant people, and we are also losing our own brave soldiers.

"Dang those evil Republicans!" you said, but as far as I can see no one has said a word about them. Making everything about the inter-party rivalry is a great way to blow off the real issues. I love how both sides do it, but seeing as the Republicans are the ones in power and under fire, they are doing it quite a bit more.

So much is going wrong now and all our administration is doing is pointing fingers. This isn't about the party to me, this is about sheer incompetence, and anyone not blinded by some pseudo-nationalist fervor can see that.

It is NOT black and white, it is very grey.







What can you tell me about this?


@tallgeese, Sweet Lei: The numbers of Iraqis "dancing in the streets" about Saddam's execution are in any case far lower than the numbers who are six feet underground because of the war. Doesn't that bother you?


Haha, as soon as politics come into the picture, every one gets so tense.

Your opinion and your site is greatly greatly appreciated, Jay.


(From The Root's new album's single "Don't Feel Right")

Ya'll just gots to make that livin/sex drugs murder politics and religion/ forms of hustlin...

I like the idea that political discourse can get out of the ivory tower and saturate the "lively arts" of hip-hop and Flash/Shockwave games.


well I do hope in real life the reloading is faster

Jack Burton November 6, 2006 2:26 AM

Interesting how people go hot or brag about others opinions sooo fast.

We get people from those countries here in Brasil once in a while and what they say about this subject never matches whatever news from the US or Europe, it is actually a completely diferent thing.

We all tend to defend our ideas as hot and fast as we can don't we? Like If I come around telling the earth is not round, I would probably get flamed by everyone, though I bet no one here has ever being outside the planet to check, we just believe in a bunch of school books, pictures and tv, and this we all know could be fake. Of course the point is not about the earth's shape, but if anyone's opinion about something strikes you really hard, best do some research to find out for yourself and peace your mind. On this Iraq subject, good start point is African history. And no, don't go for the wikki or net, look for books(old ones) and some of them you will have to read more than twice.

Have fun!


Thank you, Jay, for posting the rant :)

Its so good to see not everyone have been completely brainwashed by media and government.

Sweet Lei, you can get people dancing in front of cameras any day if they get payed well for it. Of course there are people in Iraq who did not like Saddam, same way I am sure if Bush were to be hanged you could find people dancing in US too.


Hey, let's get back to the game (or simulation as its makers said)...

Have anyone tried removing only buildings and without killing any people?


By the way, this is what I have got to say for everyone who have spent their time writing whatever opinion you have:

If you have so much time, why don't you speak on the other games as well? Or even better, write a review on a new game, which is certainly much more constructive for JIG in general?

(I have submitted mine already, by the way. :) )


Politics aside, this game is a wonderful example of what added values a simple game can deliver... A rather old game but it's never too late to post a specimen like this.


all I can say is WELL DONE, you've got the right to express your opinions, feelings, emotions; as everyone else does, but certainly on your OWN SITE. I love your site, appreciate all the work you do for it (for us!), visit daily and will continue to do so! Just wish that some people wouldn't feel so personally attacked when someone shares his opinion... sometimes that is exactly why wars start in the first place...


tonytheloony November 6, 2006 9:04 AM

Sweet Lei
Actually the "put people through plastic shredders" has been debunked, which shows how melodramatic some people are willing to be to justify this war.


i want to use nukes not those small things..


This is kind of unrealistic. It takes way too long to reload, and I'm pretty sure in reality the missiles have a much wider range of effect. Hopefully they'll consider that for September 13th.


EVERYBODY? VOTE. thank you. that is all.

tallgeese4 November 6, 2006 12:33 PM

Valarauka: Every person dead is a terrible thing. My problem is that Jay seems to think he can speak for the Iraqi people.


The gameplay-mechanism is a bit like Vigilance:
you might want to check it out.

ducatisti November 6, 2006 3:48 PM

wow. excellent demonstration of what may happen when you use violence to try and solve a complex problem.

Yes, it's overly-simplified - but gets the creators' point across without browbeating the player.

Jay - I appreciate your fearlessness at posting your opinion here. Folks need to get back to a reality that lets divergent opinions peacefully co-exist.

Seems like knee-jerking is about the only exercise some of us have had over the past few years.


Tallgeese: That particular statement was linked to an article in TIME magazine, titled "Saddam is Senteced to Death, and Iraq Shrugs" - it's not just Jay 'thinking he can speak for' all by himself. I suggest you read the article ...



The above link, an essay by a liberal, takes an objective, well informed, look at world politics.

If you cannot review a dozen pages of text, then politics is outside your objectivity.

Thank you,

Doc (A Grandfather, Husband of 37 years, and a highly paid ecologist)


Orson Scott Card is a totalitarian socialist. He believes in aggressive nanny-statism, absolute gun-control, the mixture of church and state, the subjugation of individual liberty to the whims of government, and bloated and expansive federal government.

The true American moderate has long been described as a fiscal conservative/social liberal. Orson Scott Card is a fiscal liberal/social conservative.

I can see why he supports George W. Bush.


Unfortunately, the political message here is spoiled by the failure of the simulation to include attacks on the civilians *BY* the terrorists in their midst.

Because that is, even more unfortunately, how it usually goes. . .literally, in fact, by definition.

But perhaps that would have been *too* real, and thereby provided the opposite message intended -- namely, that if one doesn't do something about terrorists, they will, well. . .continue to attempt to terrorize.

Its inclusion would have made for an actual game, though, rather than something better characterized as banner spamware, as this is.

So I think it's fair to say that this one, as a political message, backfires.

Because due to the absence of that critical real-world element of actual terrorist behavior, all it really indicates is that the leftist/liberal/democrat position on the subject continues to be willfully blind to reality.


@Acksiom, do you think terrorists are born evil?
Or have you ever thought about what raises terrorism? Why they are forced or drawn towards such extreme groups?

BTW: The Iraq war has nothing to do with terrorism!!! I don't know how many 1000oooo... US-People don't get that.

Nothing about the Bin-Laden organisation was in Iraq. Iraq had nothing to do with 11. September. But alas, it was on one hand a good reason for the republican US-government to start a war they wanted for a long time, on the other hand they had the feeling they needed to do something - better anything - so the people think, it is something done about that...


I put people through plastic shredders when I am angry. Grrr.

Vinnie from Yonkers November 7, 2006 10:00 PM

i sit here and laugh insanely as i realize that the flying hamster of death rains coconuts on your pitiful city. POW!!!


There are two sides to every issue. On Bush's side, when Osama struck, most or all of America was in shock. Bush did not lash out in five minutes and say "Let's go kill all of the people in Afghanistan and Iraq to get our revenge." He, representing the entire United States of America, chose to declare war on terrorists. In a state of war, we go to find the enemies of the country and we destroy them. We are trying to destroy the terrorists who threaten not only the safety of our little portion of the country, but those who threaten freedom and who would destroy any country that allies itself to the cause thereof. We voted Bush in office, but in the past three years, we have relaxed. Many citizens have forgotten their horror as they watched the deaths of so many. We hoped and prayed (yes, I said prayed, as a nation, under God) that our loved ones and those who we did not even know would be found. Many people have forgotten the loss as thousands of dismembered body parts were recovered in the weeks trying to recover from one incident. Yes, many Iraqis have died in this war. They have died over time. Would you have us sit on our hands after declaring war? If your child punches you and you tell them they are going to get a spanking, would you then change your mind? Your child will remember that you do not go through with your threats. You are not a danger to them, neither is disobedience.

America voted Bush into office. Yes, the first poll was close. However, at his second term the numbers were staggeringly different. We (the nation as a whole) wanted him to continue. Three years later, we are saying that he should not have ever been in office. Are we regretting our decision?

In this situation, Bush and Clinton are a good comparison. Clinton won his way into office his first term. He did a lot of things right (though I won't say "everything"). We voted him back in. He did something deserving of impeachment. Does this mean that he was a bad President? Not at first. Does it mean that somewhere along the lines he got his mind messed up, stopped caring about the American people as much as himself? Probably. Bush listened to the outcry from the American people when the twin towers toppled. Through that whole situation, I never heard one person who didn't care, or thought we should shrug it off. When his second term came around, we voted him back in. Now some feel that he has carried the power of war too far. Does this mean that he should never have gone to Afghanistan? No, he was right to find the murderer and bring him to justice. Does this mean that he was right to extend this war to Iraq? We can't say one way or the other. We haven't found the war we expected. We have found a dangerous criminal. If hundreds of hostages die while we are searching for a desperate criminal, does that mean that we are wrong to search for him?

Of course, this does not mean that I think Bush is perfect. He's human. He's become caught up in politics, and he quit listening to the American people. Do we know that anyone else would listen right now? No, we can't know that. On the other hand, do the American people know what is best? We have forgotten the pain and agony. Have those who lost a loved one? What about people who felt ashamed of their nationality because others pointed fingers at them and said it was their fault? Americans did that to Japanese-Americans for a long time after Pearl Harbor. Does that mean that we were right? No. Does that mean that many Japanese-Americans struggled with their nationality and felt it for years? Yes. The school I attended at that time is about 25% Middle-Eastern student population. Many of them were my friends. Some of them quit coming to school because they felt ashamed that Osama was from their side of the world. Yes, there is a distinction between countries, but most Middle Eastern countries come from Ishmael. The students felt that brotherhood very strongly. They still feel it, even though many of them feel it less.

Is Bush wrong? Who knows. We don't. But we did vote him in, and we should respect the position of President. We should also respect the man. He is the President. We must respect that. When he is no longer the President, we should respect the fact that he was a good President. When someone dies, we do not immediately announce that they were a swindler, we usually refer to their good qualities. A forward-looking nation will always find the best in someone and try to bring it out. A backward-looking nation will always point the finger, even if it is at ourselves. Bush wanted to do the right thing. If you feel that he hasn't, send him a letter. Let him know. Do not write hate mail, it won't reach him and will do no good. Write him and congress letters that support him, the position of President, and the United States of America. Then you will be heard and we, as a country, can change the world for the better.

By the way, Jay. I am glad to see someone try to get people stirred up about politics. It is good to see someone encourage discussion, even if I don't agree with your perspective.



* Last election more Americans voted for Kerry than for Bush. So to say "we" voted him, is not quite correct. Its due to the elector - plurality voting system he got president, as the vote of a rural guy counts several times more than a vote of an urban. (for political correctness, guy also includes womans ;)

* Please explain me the direct link of September 11. to Iraq! You also seem to suggest. I don't see anyone.

* BTW: Where are the weapons of mass destruction we attacked the iraq for???? Do you remember the reasons that we were being told for going to war?

((My personal theory to the indirect link: The Al-Qaida have major headquaters in Saudi Arabia. Iraq + Saudi Arabia a the major oil reserves in the world. While Saddam was punished by embargos, we can't attack/bother Saudi Arabia, since then both major oil sources would run dry. So the grand plan was, to remove Saddam to get a free oil flow from Iraq, with which you can attack Saudi Arabia after that, because you we switched over to rely on Iraq oil instead of Saudi Arabias. However the war in iraq went not as easy as the US expected, so the saudi arabia thing is defered, and since we get a change of power in the US , Saudi Arabia war will never come true.))


Thank you all for your comments. I believe this post served its purpose, and the resulting discussion has gone far enough. =)


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