Gangbusters

gangs
(image courtesy Mayz, Bad Day LA concept artwork)

While creating Bad Day LA we tried to come up with a variety of interesting and unique enemy characters for the player to fight against across the city. Included in the final list you will find: terrorists, zombies, mutant cos-players, angry homeowners, rabid dogs, and finally, lots of street gangs. Lest anyone think that the game is picking on gangs or making an issue out of something minor, take note of one of today’s news headlines:

U.S. arrests 582 in nationwide gang crackdown
More than 25,000 gangs, comprising some 750,000 members, are active across the United States, according to the Justice Department. Lawmakers and law enforcement officials have been especially alarmed at the spread of extremely violent Central-American-based gangs such as MS-13, a group originating in El Salvador now present in 31 U.S. states.

Look at those numbers! 25,000 gangs? 750,000 members? Unless someone somewhere misplaced a couple of zeroes those are truly huge ranks. That far exceeds the estimated number of insurgents (30k?) currently causing our 140,000+ US soldiers so much trouble over in Iraq. And our guys there are armed with tanks and machine guns, which apparently they are allowed to employ quite liberally. The article goes on…

In April, Victor Ceara of the Department of Homeland Security testified that in fiscal year 2004, his division removed 84,000 criminal aliens from the United States. However, he said an estimated 400,000 were still at large.

Wow. 400,000 criminals still at large.
This reminds me of something said to me just before I moved to Hong Kong, “You shouldn’t move over there, it’s not safe. The city is run by the Hong Kong mafia and it’s too dangerous.” To be honest, since arriving here I’ve never felt safer. There is literally a cop on every corner. The gangs are still here, but unless you’re involving yourself in something illegal you’ll never notice them.

From personal experience I know this is not the case in the states. There, while I was in high-school, I was unceremoniously jumped by a gang of ~30 young Mexican guys. They gave me a near-death beating that sent me to the hospital, laid me up for a week, and caused damage to my teeth that I still have to deal with by visiting an oral surgeon at least once a year. Wrong place, wrong time. And they were never caught.

When playing Bad Day LA you might think, “Man, American really doesn’t like Mexicans…” You’d have to look past the fact that one of the main characters (and one of my favorite characters in the game) is Hispanic, but whatever, go with me. To your allegation I would respond: No. I don’t have anything against Mexicans. In fact, while it was Mexican kids who jumped me and nearly killed me, it was Mexican adults in a nearby church who came outside and saved me. It all balances out. What I *do* hate is gangs. Any time you have to bring your friends to a fight you’re a loser in my book. Not that you would care… but at least now I’ve been able to create a cathartic game play experience that allows me to mow down lots of gang members from the comfort of my living room without ever harming a real person. I can tell you honestly, this is the best therapy ever.

Hey, maybe the Department of Homeland Security should use Bad Day LA to train their agents like the U.S. Army uses America’s Army to train their soldiers?

You can read the full article here.

One thought on “Gangbusters”

  1. I totally agree with this. It’s pretty much the same over here in the UK too these days. A gang’s all well and good in some ways, sometimes it’s like a group of friends or people you can hang out with, however, when they start to become a public nuisance and threaten or hurt others then that’s wrong, though I guess that’s rather stating the obvious a bit there.

    I really liked the one point you made though… about how everything balanced out, reminded me of something from a comic-book (Serenity Rose it’s called…), where two characters are discussing things they dislike, and the phrase “ideas, not items” is used. I guess it was because of how you were explaining how you didn’t hate Mexican’s but what you did hate was gangs, and how it seemed sort of similar. Ah well, ramble over…

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