The Twitterverse was astonished by a link that was going around last week, which you can view here. Samir Mezrahi, the Social Media Editor for BuzzFeed was one of many to tweet.
Just consider the concept before even checking out the link and react for a moment—juxtaposing the words Iron Dome and game seem almost insulting—not to mention a total oxymoron. What’s more is that a kid in Israel should never play that game, it hits too close to home, and a kid outside of Israel should not view the Iron Dome as a game.
Reading about rocket after rocket and siren after siren all over Israel, the name of the game really struck a chord.
The website has a simple layout and design, but appearances can be deceiving. The directions are simple enough as any other computer game: Use you “Arrow” missiles batteries to destroy Qassams rockets before they hit the city. Use the 1, 2, 3 keys on your keyboard to switch between batteries. Note: ammo is limited but one “Arrow” can destroy more than one Qassam.
Disturbing, but fine. And then the gripping reality of this “game” hit: the 3 levels of play, Easy, Beer Sheva, Hard, Ashdod, Impossible! Sderot, are legitimate levels of difficulty that the Iron Dome faces on a constant basis—especially now.
The message being sent here is even more terrifying that it is horrifying: there are rockets falling all over the south and, as the instructions say, “the only one who can stop it is you!”
How can this be a legitimate game? Is the creator insane? Why is he turning the lives of innocent civilians into a game?
Naturally, I emailed the creator:
Izzy Ray Lee, the creator of the game, explains that his motivation for creating the game was and still is purely informational—not because he was “insane,” as I termed it, at all.
IronDome Game, created in January 2009 during Operation Cast Lead, is, “unfortunately,” says Lee, “still relevant these days.”
The game was actually created during Operation Cast Lead in response to a more violent, offensive game that was prevalent at the time. The initial game, Raid Gaza!,
Lee recalls that he started work on this game a few days after the Gaza war started. “At first,” he explains “my only motivation was to create a cool Flash game which relies on current events.” However, everything changed a few days later when the game Raid Gaza! started gaining popularity
Lee (like many Israelis) didn’t like the message in the game: “kill as much as possible Palestinians, destroy hospitals etc.” Lee “felt that the “Raid Gaza!” game describes Israel as blood thirsty evil country which seeks to kill innocent people, whereas in my opinion, Israel was going on a self-defense act.”
At that point, Lee became significantly more conscious of media biases: He “felt that many of them (BBC for instance) were biased and didn’t present all the facts” These biases are what ultimately “motivated me to change my plans a bit and make my game a platform for presenting some facts as the Israeli side sees them.”
There are those who claim that the game, besides for being horrifying, is propaganda. Lee links websites on the side on the site that lead to Israeli “propaganda sites.”
Lee believes that “this is a problem – because people might think that the information there is biased, but as an Israeli, the information there sounds true to me, and I’ve really tried to put there dry informational facts – just to try and show the other side and let people judge.”
The game then, is actually meant as a force of good for the Israelis. It serves to depict the IDF and Dome Operators as a defensive people protecting civilians constantly under attack. It serves to depict that it is quite literally “Impossible!” to stop every rocket fired at Sderot.
This game is a powerful tool to begin to depict exactly what it takes to protect cilians from constant attack.
Lee really, isn’t “insane,” he understands one crucial thing: a successfully campaign is really all about PR.
Rachel Benaim | Elite.