Oculus Rift's new virtual reality game, [08:46], that was designed as 9/11 simulator recreating the tragic events on the morning of September 11, 2001, particularly the exact time when the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center (thus the title 08:46) is creating controversy from victims of the tragedy as well as the virtual reality community.
Creative Blog said that [08:46] is described as "narrative-driven experience designed for virtual reality," and was created by a team of French students who studied volumes of documents, videos and materials and devoted countless hours to recreate the atmosphere on that fateful morning and was designed to "emphasize the victims' point of view."
However, despite the good intentions of the creators of the Oculus Rift's 9/11 simulator game, the public gave mixed reactions with some describing the game as "poor taste" and others saying people should not write a virtual reality game on the 9/11 tragedy.
New ̖́- DB XL writes on his Twitter account, "Gaming enthusiasts call the 9/11 Oculus Rift game as something that will leave you speechless, not question if it's in good taste."
Lauren Hockenson wrote a scathing review about [08:46] on The Next Web aptly titled, Let's not have a VR game about 9/11, okay?
Hockenson writes, "Recreating such a traumatic experience for a video game, even one that calls itself narrative-driven, is already hard to comprehend. It seems illogical in its controversy - manufactured drama at the expense of people who still live the with the scars of that day and its lasting repercussions."
She added, "I won't pretend to be able to understand what the creators of '8:46' - a team of French developers - were intending when they developed this game. Clearly, they were going for drama, and they achieved it. But something like this gives us an opportunity to understand: when and how can we develop emotional or harrowing events for VR without risking trauma, triggering, or damage?
"We're given a whole new set of tools with VR as we inch closer to graphic realism in video games and more authentic controller inputs for the medium. While I don't expect developers to sidestep purposefully any and all forms of violence and dramatic tropes that have become commonplace in modern games, it is worth understanding that those scenes and scenarios have a different impact when they are so close to you."
But Anthony Krafft, creative director on the project defended [08:46]. He told TechInsider, "We worked with a lot of references, from an interview with a survivor to plans of the floors or journalistic works such as '102 minutes' to be precise about the events and the human dynamics in the towers."
"In the team, we are all in our twenties," Krafft added. "And 9/11, on a global scale, changed as much our social interactions as our geopolitical context." "It was essential to us to be accurate, as we could never be obscene or sensationalist out of respect for the victims," he said.