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Play Some Slots, Catch A Bad Guy

| 17 Nov 2008 14:56
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Police in Japan aren't too thrilled about the launch of Slot Detective, a free online slot machine game which forgoes the standard cherries, lemons and bars in favor of mug shots of the country's most wanted fugitives.

Famista, the company behind the game, says the idea is to take advantage of Japan's "obsession" with games to help fight crime by publicizing photos of wanted criminals. "We thought this could be a way to contribute to society," said company representative Takashi Saito. "If you play the game, you'll remember their faces." When players match three of the mug shots, the game goes into "Fever" mode, displaying information about the fugitive's crime and any rewards offered, as well as launching into a funky musical celebration of your mad slot machine skills.

Saito claimed the game has been quite popular so far, with 100,000 people playing it during the first few hours of its launch, enough to "briefly stall" a company server. But the National Police Agency said that while the company may be well-intentioned, the use of mug shots for entertainment is "inappropriate," adding, "The mug shots of the suspects should be used in a more socially acceptable manner." In spite of those misgivings, however, the police won't be taking steps to have the game pulled offline.

At least one victim of a fugitive portrayed in the game is deeply displeased with its release. Julia Hawker, mother of murder victim Lindsay Hawker whose alleged killer appears in the game, told Sky News, "We have not been consulted about this - the first we heard about it was through the Sky News website and we are not happy about this. I also want to know if this is a commercial venture, as if it is, then it is in extremely poor taste. The whole thing is distasteful and not befitting Lindsay's memory."

Distasteful it may be, but turning crime into entertainment is one of the oldest tricks in the book. And is this really all that different from trashy television shows like America's Most Wanted? Set the wheels of Japanese justice spinning and decide for yourself here.

Source: Yahoo Singapore, via Kotaku

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