Criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot, right? Right? Apparently not, if a simple little browser game is to be believed.
Pick the Perp is an unassuming little game, a few lines of text, a few pictures and a crime. All you have to do is pick the person who was charged with the crime. Sounds simple enough, but play it even for a few minutes and you begin to see that it isn't simple at all.
Turns out it wasn't the scary looking guy with the tattoos that got charged with battery after all, it was the blond girl who you'd have thought would have been more at home at a library.
The game is the brainchild of Maximillian Hill, who works at an advertising agency by day, and dabbles in web design in his free time. Pick the Perp was the product of a long weekend after Hill discovered a site that posted mug shots of people arrested in the last 24 hours.
The game allows players to put their own prejudices under the microscope, an impressive feat for such a simple game, although some don't see the game quite that way. "There are a lot of people who think that the game promotes racism or stereotypes," said Hill, "and I don't see it like that. I'd say that the site provides the user with an opportunity to make a snap judgment: if they choose to stereotype the five people they're looking at, that's actually quite interesting, and hopefully the site allows for some self-reflection."
So go give it a go, see what you find out about yourself, and about others too.