Smuggle Truck App Sparks Outrage

An iPod and iPad application that pokes fun at the perils of illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has angered human rights activities across the country.

In Smuggle Truck, due out next month, players must navigate a cartoon truck over desert creeks, canyons, and highway bumps while losing as few illegal immigrants as possible. Hitting a bump too hard or improperly hopping a creek will send men, women, and children bouncing out of the bed of the truck. Drivers who arrive at the border with the most immigrants in their truck win a green card (view the game trailer below).

Owlchemy Labs, the controversial game’s developer, insists Smuggle Truck is meant to be satirical not offensive. 

"Smuggle Truck was inspired by the frustration our friends have experienced in trying to immigrate to the United States," the Boston-based firm said in an online statement. “With such a troublesome issue being largely avoided in popular media, especially video games, we felt the best way to criticize it was with an interactive satire.”

However, Owlchemy Lab’s statement has failed to convince activists like Jennifer Allen, executive director of the Tucson-based Border Action Network.

“It does no service whatsoever to immigration, nor to an understanding of the border and what the realities are," she said. "Crossing the border is not unfortunately a hop in a pickup truck and a bounce along a desert road. It's actually now become a high-stakes, high-risk venture.”

In 2009, 11 immigrants were killed in southern Arizona after a real-life smuggle truck rolled over while trying illegally enter the United States.

Do you buy Owlchemy Lab’s claims that Smuggle Truck is meant as satire? Or do you find the game tasteless and offensive? Could it perhaps be both?

Source: Reuters

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Categories: iPhone Apps

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