Released in 2003 by Newsgaming with a team of around 16 developers from Uruguay the games procedural rhetoric was to use the language of video games to educate the user on current events whilst conveying their overlaying argument that ‘Violence begets more violence’.
“you cant’ win and you can’t lose… the rules are deadly simple. You can shoot. Or not. This is a simple model you can use to explore some aspects of the war on terror” (Flanagan and Nissenbaum, n.d. p33)
At first glance it appears as if the player is aiming down a sniper scope but once you select a target, that being whether you’ve decided to attack or not, the player soon finds that it’s not a sniper’s scope but a missile launcher and in the attempt to target one bad guy or as they’re portrayed in the game, ‘terrorist’ your shots have collateral damage effecting buildings and other civilians surrounding the blast. When civilians mourn the innocent dead, as your missile is reloading, the civilians soon turn into terrorists themselves showing the player that their actions have a sort of butterfly effect cause increasingly more and more civilians to then turn into ‘terrorists’ this is what makes September 12th what’s known as an in winnable game. September 12th has no Win state or Lose state for that matter, if you kill civilians that turn into ‘terrorists’ you get no rewards for killing them again and vice versa is just a vicus circle which is an accurate representation of the current war on terror. The games main goal was not to convince people that the War on Terror was wrong. Instead, it aimed to triggering the social awareness among the players and create discussion around the argument.
Flanagan, M. and Nissenbaum, H. (n.d.). Values at play in digital games. 1st ed.