Racists Produce High-Tech Hate Games

ByABC News
February 27, 2002, 4:49 PM

March 4 -- New software tools widely available on the Internet are helping hate groups jump on the video game bandwagon with offerings such as Ethnic Cleansing where players become cyber-Klansmen and stalk minorities through a virtual urban landscape.

The technology to produce more realistic and immersive video games helped build what last year was a $6 billion entertainment software industry. And a recent report by the Anti-Defamation League says there is a rise in hate games on the Web.

White supremacy groups are using new software tools which can be obtained for free on the Internet to create video games promoting messages of hate.

The most notable example that has drawn the ADL's attention is Ethnic Cleansing from Resistance Records, an arm of the National Alliance neo-Nazi group. The game allows players to assume the persona of a Ku Klux Klan member or a "skinhead" gang member and kill minorities.

Offensive racial stereotypes and rock music with hate-filled lyrics are repeated throughout the game as the player competes toward the ultimate goal killing a rocket-wielding Ariel Sharon.

William Pierce, founder of the National Alliance movement, defended the games, saying they were no more violent than other video games on the market.

"Do you ever see any video games that don't have violence in them?" Pierce says. "Our games are not for the purpose of sponsoring hatred. They're to give white kids a sense of hope, a sense that they can fight back."

Open Source to Open Hate?

However, critics say it's really a means for the group to spread its message of white supremacy.

"Throughout the whole game, there is information about National Alliance," says Brian Marcus, an Internet researcher with the ADL. "It's two steps beyond what we've seen previously."

That's because previously, it took a lot of computer programming know-how to create games that were of comparable quality to commercial video games such as Quake or Doom. But so-called open-source software computer codes or routines written by and freely distributed among programmers on the Internet has allowed the hate groups to custom-create their own high-quality hate games.