Outlast may be the scariest video game ever produced. IGN’s Marty Sliva passed along anecdotes last March:
Before my demo, the team at Red Barrels, which is comprised of ex-Ubisoft designers who worked on Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, told me about some of the crazy things they’d seen the brave attendees of PAX East do while playing their game. Some bolted out mid-demo, others stumbled out unhealthily pale, and one guy almost destroyed the entire booth in a fit of panic.
The game pares down the survival horror genre to a single visceral action. No other option exists in Outlast. If you see something intent upon harm, you have but one choice. Run!
The game takes place in a freakish asylum which you enter for reasons unknown. Once inside, a haunting atmosphere manifests. Lights start to flicker and die. Shadows begin to move. Voices dance at the edge of earshot. And the only way to reliably see what lies ahead is through a power-hungry night vision camera that’s always on the verge of dying. Needless to say, you soon discover that you’re neither alone nor at the top of the food chain.
I thought of Outlast after considering last week’s remarks by President Obama which he offered in response to the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Predictably, the president chose to amplify the narrative that the black community was somehow owed a conviction. The threat to liberty posed by our nation’s highest executive suggesting that a criminal case ought to be decided not on the facts, but to satisfy a subjective sense of racial justice, cannot be overstated. However, what specifically reminded me of Outlast was the president’s call to examine “stand your ground” statutes to determine whether they “may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case rather than diffuse potential altercations.”
The clear intent of such examination is to eliminate self-defense supports and create a duty to retreat. In states where such a “duty” has been imposed by law, citizens who feel threatened may not take action to defend themselves while they have any opportunity to escape. In some states, the duty to retreat applies even within a citizen’s own home. Under such laws and while under attack by an assailant, a law-abiding citizen would effectively be in the same survival horror circumstance as a player of Outlast, deprived of any option but to run. What developer Red Barrels designs for adrenaline-pumping fun, President Obama intends to provide thugs with greater protection than the victims they terrorize.
The duty to retreat offers right of way to the brute. It cannot be said that we live under the condition of liberty if we must detour whenever intimidated. President Obama’s job, the task of all proper government, is to protect individual rights. In large part, that means securing the ability of individuals to protect themselves and their property. “Stand your ground” laws fulfill that just purpose. An American president ought to proudly support such statutes, to the extent his federal office has any business expressing an opinion on state law.
Horror awaits us if and when the race-baiting perpetrators of the Trayvon Martin hysteria get their way and impose Chicago’s bloody culture on the rest of us. There young men need not boot up an Xbox to experience the cathartic thrill of being pursued by monsters while deprived of an effective legal means to defend themselves. Chicago endured 61 murders while George Zimmerman stood trial in Florida. National Review Online reported:
… 52 of those killed were black, 43 were black males, and seven were children under the age of 18. The vast majority died of gunshot wounds.
Where is the president’s outrage over those deaths? Which laws will he be examining to determine how his hometown’s horror might end?