The creator of Invaders!, an art game that represents the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001 by way of Taito's classic arcade game Space Invaders, has requested his piece be pulled from the GH ART exhibit held at the Games Convention in Germany.
"After three days of a steady downward spiral in public discussion of the piece, I have just given my agreement to the organizers of the Leipzig Games Convention to simply turn off the installation Invaders!" said Douglas Edric Stanley in a comment on his blog. He claims conference organizers did not encourage him to withdraw the game.
Invaders! depicts the two towers of the World Trade Center as being under neverending assault by Space Invaders' iconic alien enemies. The player is tasked with defending the buildings, but the infinitely-spawning aliens make the towers' destruction ultimately inevitable. Its "Game Over" screen calls for players to "Support Our Troops!"
Today, Square Enix-owned Taito said it is "seriously considering all available options -- including legal actions against the infringer and, if necessary, the Games Convention exhibitor involved -- in order to end this unauthorized and impermissible misuse of the Space Invaders content." A disclaimer on the exhibition's program indicated that the game was not endorsed by Taito.
Invaders! has been the subject of a torrent of criticism since its public unveiling, with the controversy exacerbated by its creator being an American expatriate in Paris, who was described as "French-American" in a Games Convention press release.
In October 2001, just a month after the attacks, Stanley detailed an early version of his game concept on his blog. "The whole event [9/11] had sort of taken over my life," he wrote. "I was equally fascinated and disgusted by the whole thing."
The GC description, which Stanley notes he approved but did not compose, describes the game and its futile gameplay as "an articulated and critical commentary about the current war strategy."
Said one poster in response to a recent blog post, "Your [sic] a sociopath Douglas Edric Stanley. I hope God will recall you soon. Better yet, recycle yourself." Another commented, "I hope you die you rotten piece of scum."
"Contrary to previous reports, I am an American," Stanley said in the same comment thread, "and it saddens me that we as a people remain so profoundly unable to process this event outside of some obscure, but tacitly understood, criteria of purely anesthetized artistic representation."