Via gameplay Lethal Strike explores the morally questionable extrajudicial use of semiautonomous drones by global powers to kill surveilled individuals.
Participants familiar with video game interfaces will first see Lethal Strike as a standard video game; indeed, the first minute of gameplay operates identical to a game. Engaging with the piece reveals more than the surface level similarities. The lack of a traditional control and the formality of documents in front of them convey establish a deeper message. Players need to actively enter a target code to initiate the lethal strike in the game; not just pressing a button.
There is no guarantee that the intended target individual will be the one actually hit.
In our techno-positve wealthy society we engage with surveillance technologies everyday (mobiles, Facebook, etc.), in other parts of the world these same technologies are used by our militaries to track – and kill. Similarly, video games created in these wealthy societies portrays this violence in a hyperreality experience. Lethal Strike juxtaposes this connection of this technologically-powered immoral killing with the appeal of video games.
The ending of the short game forces reflection onto the participants; therefore playing with expectations of what a game is. Once the target has been eliminated a select quote appears on the screen related to the use of drones for targeted killing.
Ultimately, the game ends with contradictory feedback. After they launched a missile strike they see a high score list (positive reinforcement); however, the list contains names of countries instead of players. The high scores lists the estimated death toll of drone strikes in those respective countries to date (providing negative reinforcement).
Lethal Strike automatically reloads and awaits another drone strike to be launched…