DescriptionHarpooned, the Japanese cetacean research simulator, is a satirical game where players control a research vessel to do scientific investigation on whales. This is just a cover however, as the game carries an environmental message and aims to capture the hypocrisy of the Japanese whaling program. Shown from a top-down perspective using vertically-scrolling gameplay, players shoot whales with harpoons for points and collect the meat. Killing multiple whales in a row leads to ultra-scientific bonuses. At the end of each phase, the meat is loaded onto a larger research vessel for "further study", showing how it is processed into cat food and whale burgers.
The player needs to avoid icebergs, while steering away of protesters' ships, helicopters and other vessels that try to get in the way. Sinking them leads to legal fees. The ship can also be damaged, mainly through the icebergs. The gameplay is interspersed with sarcastic messages:
Whale numbers seem to be decreasing in this region. We must kill more whales to determine the cause of the decrease.An update (as well as the first Macintosh version) was released in January 2009. It adds the ability to capture protesters and kidnap them when they get too close to the research vessel and there are also online leaderboards to compete for the rank of top scientist with other players from all over the world.
- "Harpooned: Japanese Cetacean Research Simulator" -- Tag-lined title
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Related Web Sites
- Harpooned (Official game website)
- Whaling Game Uses Outrage to Spread Environmental Message (an article on GamePolitics.com (18th January 2008))