JFK Reloaded
(Traffic)
available for download on PC

It was my third shot that got him. After gunning down Governor John Connolly and his wife, after littering the limo with holes, after adding some ventilation to Jackie's forehead, it was my third shot on my fifth attempt that finally killed Kennedy. JFK was dead, and I was the lone gunman.

This is the entire point of JFK Reloaded, an absolutely inane game from developer Traffic. The idea is for gamers to try and recreate Lee Harvey Oswald's sharpshooting; the end result is a game that is not only offensive, but--and this is far more damning for a video game--boring to play.

There is a feeling of detachment to violence in video games, one that's not easily defended from moral scolds. Yes, we gamers like to shoot things--be they people or aliens, monsters or space ships--but, as we try to explain, that doesn't make us violent. We can distinguish between reality and fantasy, even when playing real-life events such as Pearl Harbor and D-Day. So why then should gamers be up in arms about JFK Reloaded? Because it's a single-minded, terrible experience to play--not because the idea is distasteful (though it is), but because so little thought has been put into it. Essentially a one-trick pony, all the game entails is squinting through the cross hairs and tapping the mouse--BANG! Your goal is to match Oswald's marksmanship, hitting the president with the same shot from the same angle, with crowd noises erupting into panic as you open fire on the motorcade. If you hit Kennedy on approach (as the triangulation of firepower theory holds), you get credit for the kill, but you still fail. Your shot must be taken after the motorcade has already taken its sweeping curve, making the back of Kennedy's head your target; if you nail the president as Oswald did (or theoretically did), then you win.

JFK Reloaded may have terrible graphics, it may be a bore to play, but if you're loco in the cabeza enough to devote enough time to it, then one day, just maybe, you'll find yourself on par with Lee Harvey Oswald. Congratulations, freak. You win.