THE youth chapter of PETA is behind a gaming app that encourages activism through rebellion and violence.
The 3-D mobile app experience, named ‘Paintball Hero’, is a multi-level game in which activists – or “rebels” – can rescue animals in three settings: factory farms, rain forests and circuses.
As players progress through the various missions, they are given the objective to blast corporate gatekeepers by using fatal “education balls”. The colourful blocks are intended to educate as they kill.
Peta’s youth chapter Peta2, invented the game under the guidance of member and tech developer Skylar Thomas, 17, in a bid to convince gamers they can be activists without even leaving their home.
The description of the game on the app-store says that players “rescue cows, chickens, and the occasional unicorn while destroying enemies with education paint”.
However, researchers are yet to firmly determine how gaming actually imprints itself on our thoughts and behaviour. Attempting to establish a correlation between virtual and real-life selves is dependent upon a number of interconnecting variables, and research on the topic has been largely inconclusive.
Psychologist Mari Swingle, author of i-Minds: How Cell Phones, Computers, Gaming and Social Media are Changing Our Brains, Our Behaviour, and the Evolution of Our Species, has said that the data on the connection between games and real-world behaviour is thin.
Fortunately, it would appear that the game’s violent approach to animal rights activism is likely to have little impact on the real world.