K9 Corps

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K9 Corps

from L. Jacob Harris

Spellcheck Generation

Directions

The object of the game is to protect the community (the park) from dangerous dogs. In order to protect the community, you must impounds dogs that pose a threat. The top left bar shows how much life you have left. The top right cirlce shows how many community protection points you've gained by impounded the dogs and protecting the community. The bottom right circle shows the total number of dogs you've impounded and the bottom left bar shows the clock. You can move the main character cop with the arrow keys into each of the four boards. You can impound dogs by moving toward them and holding down the space bar. You can tell a dog is dangerous because that specific dog is glowing red. The more dangerous the dog becomes, the redder he gets. Impounded a dangerous dog gets you more community protection points than impounding a non-dangerous dog. The risk of dangerous dog is that when you try to impound it, it might bite you and decrease your life. The trick is to reach the highlest level of community protection points without losing your life. Good luck!

Before you play the game you must obtain the latest flash plugin for your browser here. The game works better on Safari and Firefox and the CSS might position the game incorrectly on shoddy Internet Explorer. Wait a tiny bit until it loads.

PLAY THE DEMO

Dogs? Racial Profiling? A Park Near The Ocean?

"K9 Corps" is demo of a future on-line game that will put the user in the shoes of a K9 policeman. This officer will be part of a police squad that protects their community from dangerous and violent dogs.

The objective of the game is to capture potential dangerous dogs and impound them before they hurt anyone. There are three types of dogs in the community: Pit Bulls, Rotweilers, and Dobermans. Each dog stars out with an equal chance of becoming violent.

During the game play, if the user begins to impound one dog consecutively over the other two, there will be multiple programmed consequences. First, the type dog that the user singled out will become more violent. For instance, if I started to consecutively choose the pit bull as a potential threat, then the number of violent pit bulls in the community would increase. The more I chose the pit bull as a threat, the greater the number of violent pit bulls. The second effect of singling out a single dog is that all the members of the officers K9 unit would also target that dog as a specific threat. For instance if I singled out the Doberman as a threat, then the rest of my squad would start to impound Dobermans.

The game will escalate until the user has impounded all of the singled out type of dog and there is no more of that type of dog left.

At the end of the game, the user will be confronted with a few questions. As a person in a position of power, what happens when you randomly identify one of the dogs as more suspicious than the other? How does your targeting effects the dogs behavior? If the dog begins attacking people, should you think of yourself as validated for having chosen the right dog, or does your singling out of that dog make it more dangerous? Also, how does your singling out of the dog effect those around you?

The user can play the game again, picking another dog, and it will end in the exact same results.

K9 Corps illustrates the negative effects of racial profiling by placing it in a different context. By associating negative attitudes of danger with a specific type of people, it legitimizes and normalizes the idea that people should fear those belonging to that group. If you are in the position of power and you make an association with people and something that is inherent, people are going to buy that. If we begin treating any class in society as criminality is inherent in their identity, they internalize that. In turn, some of that group becomes the criminals that you have made them out to be.

The Demo

The Demo features a more simplified version of K9 CORPS that gives the user an idea of what the game will end up looking like. The Demo features only one policeman and no bystanders.

C'mon Luke, Racism is like totally from the 1960s

There is a substantial literature that attributions of characteristics to various racial and ethnic groups (such as dishonesty, criminality, violence, lack of intelligence, infectivity) become self-fulfilling. That is the mere process of arbitrarily marking a group with a characteristic makes the attribution true. Social scientists have found that this process is critical in initiating in perpetuating prejudice, for both the people who make the attribution and the people who are marked as defective come to believe it is true. Although social scientists and economists have come to understand the dynamics of this process, to my knowledge, no one had thus far rendered it in the form of an interactive computer game. Yet this type of social process is perfectly suited for computer simulation and interaction.

The Process

The Demo of K9 CORPS was made using Macromedia Flash 8 combined with Actionscript. I watched a bunch of 16bit and 8bit games on SNES and chose the Zelda format to imitate as the style of my game. After creating the main character, I designed each type of dog and planned to duplicate each type across. It turned out that I could not fit all 14 dogs on the screen so I decided to create a four panel game that the user could travel through and move around from a birds eye view. Next I designed the park and what surrounded it. I need barriers so I chose a simple wall and a forest to bound the park three sides. Next I designed an ocean that takes up the bottom of the board in order give the illusion of a moving breathing park. I also placed a playground in the top right board. The most challenged part of the game was figure out the actionscript that would allow the main character to interact with his surroundings. Once I got the character to bump into the jungle gym and run into a dog, the next step was the place 14 dogs around the board and make them appear to move somewhat randomly. I decided that the easy way to impound the dogs was to run into them holding down the spacebar key. In the demo, when they are impounded the disappear. In the final game, I hope to make represent the action of impounding in a graphically more complex way. Next, I created a counter to count how many dogs were impounded as well as a life bar to show how much life you have left. The final trick was to balance the amount the dogs hurt your life line versus how many community points it would take to win.

Who's Gonna See This?

This type of computer programming has many audiences. One of them are the marked groups such as inner city youth, who need to be taught not to fall into the trap of behaving like the stereotype. Another audience is the people who do the discriminating. Such as employees in the workplace. A program like this could be used as part of diversity training.

Outreach

With respect to inner city youth, I would try pilots with certain programs with inner city youth and some pilots by connected with some workplace diversity programs.

This Is The Future

In the future, I plan to finish the game by adding the other members of the police squad, innocent bystanders and a more complicated graphic game play. After I complete the game I will market it to the audiences described above.

PLAY THE DEMO

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