Posts with ‘ConorOKane’ Tag

Harpooned: 2009 Update

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: February 1st, 2009


Conor O’Kane has released an update to Harpooned, a satirical “Japanese Cetacean Research Simulator” that’s apparently already been all over the place, even though (I’m embarrassed to say) I’ve just now heard of it for the first time.

It’s pretty clever and well put together. I’d give it 3.5 cosmetic products out of 4.
You can download the 2009 update of Harpooned here.


By: Derek Yu

On: January 20th, 2008


Harpooned is a socially conscious shoot ‘em up that puts you at the helm of a Japanese whaling boat. It was created by artist Conor O’Kane as a criticism of the Japanese practice of “scientific whaling.” In the game, you shoot whales for their meat, earning “species” combos by killing two or more whales in a row. Protesters and icebergs are your main obstacles. At the end of each level the meat you’ve collected is packaged into pet food and hamburgers.

In 1982, the International Whaling Commission declared a moratorium on commercial whaling. Since then, Japan, one of only three nations which hunt the so-called “”">great whales," has begun whaling for science, claiming that the meat which they collect is sold only to offset the costs of their expeditions, and that their lethal and cruel approach (which really does involve exploding harpoons) is necessary to understand the animals. Not surprisingly, it’s an extremely controversial topic.

The game definitely argues its point well for the most part, and its message is bolstered by the fact that its production is fantastic and the actual gameplay is challenging and fun. If I had one qualm with it, it’s that the high scores list includes well-known scientists like Darwin, Einstein, Newton, and Sagan, implying that all science is somehow inhumane (or that these men would condone the mistreatment of animals).

It’s interesting to note that developer O’Kane hails from Australia, which is a staunch anti-whaling nation, and recently ruled Japanese whaling illegal. For more information on Japanese whaling, check out its Wikipedia page, as well as this BBC article (along with the links on the game’s website).