Disengagement - the computer game
Internet games whose subject is disengagement have become a hot item on the Internet.
The "disengagement game" on the Nana Website puts the player into Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's shoes. Sharon, sitting in a bulldozer, has to remove orange-clad children protesting the pullout. Behind him, dozens of cars are waiting to pass. The prime minister has to run into a protesting child with the bulldozer's shovel. Every child caught becomes part of a kind of sticky mass, and Sharon has to move as many of them as possible to the roadside, where a police car will pick them up. Sound effects are a bizarre evil laugh of the horror-movie genre.
The prime minister has a few other tools at his disposal. He can use a club or a kick to disperse the children, or release a herd of pinkish-purple pigs, which puts the pious kids on the run. Sharon's doomsday weapon, after he has collected 75 young protesters, is to "explode" himself from anger, at which point the children fly in every direction. The object of the game is to collect as many points as possible, awarded by the number of children evacuated.
"For me, its the playing that matters," said the game's originator, Alon Shimi. "The settlers always win this game. It's not a political statement."
Shimi said he thought it up a month ago when he heard about the threatened road blockages. "I started thinking how I would unblock the roads, and I figured I'd use a bulldozer with a mattress attached, so as not to hurt anyone."
The first game to deal with evacuation is "Wild West Bank." The player has to evacuate outposts and settlements that pop up on the screen in masses, with every two trailers becoming a permanent home, then a neighborhood, after which soldiers arrive to guard it. The game was originally intended as a marketing tool protesting the occupation; its home-page features a link to a site called "Back to Israel" dealing with anti-occupation activities.
Nissim Duek, owner of the communication and advertising firm Unique, originator of the game, says it was invented as a low-budget marketing tool.
"If the message is successful enough, you turn every person who gets the game into a sales agent," Duek said. "It got a lot of media exposure, and in a week and a half 100,000 people had downloaded it."
The Yesha Council of settlements said in response, "It is shocking that the suffering of the Gush Katif residents can become a source of amusement for political rivals. It is shameful."
Netvision, which operates Nana, said in response, "The disengagement game was selected because of its current-events value and its humor. It was not intended to hurt anyone's feelings or take a political stand."
Netvision said 50,000 people have downloaded the game so far.