WHAT IS JOYFUL EXECUTIONS?
[I redid this page to explain the thought behind the game better. The following is taken from an interview with GameWoof.com]
Joyful Executions is a satirical game about totalitarian propaganda, violence in video games and how games manipulate gamers.
Even though the message of the game isn’t really controversial, I try to use a certain type of humour, which is tricky. I did absolutely not want to offend Koreans, nor do I want to force my game on anyone. The game is also not suitable for children, that’s why I set the rating to highest maturity in Google Play.
A PARODY OF NORTH KOREAN PROPAGANDA:
I could have used another political setting, but I chose North Korea because I wanted to point out that dystopian regimes are an unpleasant reality for 24 million people right now.
My game does not parodize bizarre leader cult, but builds on “enemy” stereotypes and the justification of brutality through propaganda indoctrination. B. Demick’s book “Nothing to envy“, has been my inspiration and factual backdrop for this game.
But Joyful Execution is a game that requires active participation in the questionable acts the game demands of the player. So I asked myself if I could shape this parody into a little satirical experiment about how video games can manipulate a players acceptance attitude.
A SELF EXPERIMENT ABOUT PLAYER MANIPULATION BY GAMES:
What if a game could make you accept anything if the reward mechanics are gratifying enough?
What if you would actually enjoy playing “Joyful Executions”, despite the topic?
Here’s the idea for achieving this:
In my game, the player is constantly challenged to outsmart the game -to overcome the time pressure, to beat the calculation odds and the player’s own hand-eye coordination. In between, the game showers the player with seemingly hard earned and cherished rewards, campy unlocks and excessive graphical violence. More and more, faster and faster. In the end, you have played for hours and forgotten the moral implications of what you’re actually doing: killing as many civilian prisoners as possible and concentrating only on your efficiency.
If you then put down the game and look at the start screen and the only thing you care about is that you lost the game in round 42 because you chose the wrong weapon in wave 25 – that’s my joke/message.
I’m not an experienced game designer, though. “Joyful Executions” can sadly never be more than an attempt – or a tribute to thoughts and games much better than mine. The game is quite convoluted and the whole first 15 minutes are a drag – but if you hang on until after round 20, it does become interesting.
In summary “Joyful Executions” is supposed to be a curious commentary on disturbing realities that need awareness and addressing. The game is also an example of what video games can be and what games as a medium can be used for (for better or worse).
Because someone asked: Is this game funny or entertaining to myself? Yes, of course. You can’t work on a cynical joke like this (for hundreds of hours) if you’re not in on it yourself.
Isn’t this a bad time to do a game about North Korea?
This game has been in development before the crisis on the Korean peninsula (earlier this year). I thought a lot about whether to launch this game or not. In the end, I came the conclusion that ridiculing the North Korean government is always an important task for us all. Now more than before.
It’s important that we’re not scared by North Korean threats and that we don’t take them seriously. Because if we do, we’re cementing the legitimacy of the regime with our respect.
The DPRK leadership’s tactics of bullying their way to concessions by use of aggressive threats must not be tolerated. I believe it is imperative for us to not grant them the respect they demand by acknowledging them as equals.
That’s why any parody on North Korea’s regime reminds us what they really are. And that’s why I’m releasing this game.