On Sunday night, a team of Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden. If all goes as planned, you will be able to reenact that scene in a video game this weekend. "Kuma War: Episode 107 -- The Death of Osama Bin Laden" is planned for a Saturday release, according to Keith Halper, the CEO of Kuma Games.
Kuma Games (www.kumawar.com) is the company behind turning John Kerry's Silver Star mission and the capture of Saddam Hussein into playable video games. It decided this week to return to the mostly defunct series to create this episode.
"I looked back at 106 episodes of 'Kuma War' and understood it was a story without an end, and so it was a matter of personal decision between myself and the development and writing staff to say we can't close the door on 'Kuma War 2' until we've told this absolutely critical last story," Halper said.
In "Kuma War," players take control of the soldiers who fought through some of modern history's most publicized engagements. The free game plays like most modern-day shooters, such as "Call of Duty," with players controlling the movements of a soldier and where and when he fires.
The game even created a past "episode" about Bin Laden, examining the Battle of Tora Bora in December 2001. "Kuma War" features more than 120 of these episodes, each based on information pulled from news accounts, military experts and Department of Defense records. The missions often include briefings by people who participated in the events. Halper has likened what his company is doing to the work of news organizations.
"Kuma War" isn't the only game that includes a Bin Laden appearance.
Newsgrounds (www.newgrounds.com), popular home to free Flash games, often features games created by budding developers looking to make a name. One of the top games on the site hours after news of Bin Laden's death was "Mujahedin." In it, players control a suicide bomber who is targeting a U.S. Army base. The work of playable satire features a cartoon Bin Laden who offers to become a drinking buddy with players if they succeed.
On Monday, iPhone game developer Dedalord Games released an update to its "Falling Fred" that allows players to control a perpetually plummeting "Ogama Ben Ladder" as you try to avoid dangerous objects -- or hit them. The rag-doll Bin Laden bruises, loses limbs and bleeds as he hits objects during the fall, until he succumbs to his injuries.
Ian Bogost, professor of digital media at Georgia Tech and co-author of "Newsgames: Journalism at Play," calls these games "quickly created release valves that capitalize on this event for traffic or attention."
The Bin Laden games also could also give people a "sense of false closure," he added.
"'See, Osama is dead. The war on terror is over. See, I killed him myself on my computer.' Whether that's true or not, it doesn't matter," he said.