Boise-made "Harambe Kong" video game has some calling foul

A new retro-style arcade game that can only be found in the City of Trees has many dropping their quarters while othe...

Posted: Dec 20, 2017 4:30 AM
Updated: Dec 20, 2017 4:31 AM

A new retro-style arcade game that can only be found in the City of Trees has many dropping their quarters while others are dropping their jaws. "Harambe Kong" lets you play as the gorilla who was shot and killed by a Cincinnati zookeeper after an infant fell into his cage. The game's creators hope to take it worldwide.

"It's a little fun it's a pretty simple concept but I'm entertained," said Tara Lombardo after she played the game.

You play as the famous gorilla and run and jump around to catch food for points with the hopes of getting a high score, but if you touch a kid, it's game over with a zookeeper appearing on screen and shooting Harambe. Programmer Tyler Saling has been working on the game in his free time for more than a year under the name "Digital Berzerk." Tyler partnered with friend Zack and Spacebar Arcade in Boise to give it the full arcade experience complete with a custom arcade cabinet.

"It's cool, it's fun to produce something that people enjoy, it does validate my work and I want to continue that," said Tyler Saling of Digital Berzerk.

Tyler hopes to soon sell the game on the app store, Xbox, and Steam. Not everyone is as thrilled as Tyler, some telling the creators the game is offensive.

"I guess it's too lifelike," said Keith Breon after playing the game. "Other arcade games are fictional, but this one did happen."

Tyler and Zack say they aren't trying to offend anyone and they're not shying away from the controversy. Tyler says he's using the game as a way for him to express his dislike for zoos, which grew from Harambe's death.

"I think someone who is ultimately offended by this game may need to question themselves a little bit and maybe question their morals," said Saling. "Why am I offended by a pixelized gorilla being shot?"

"There is a lot of video games out there that are politicly incorrect I think this game is pretty tame considering a lot of the other more modern games have a lot more realistic violence," said Zack Rowland of Digital Berzerk.

One of the co-owners of Spacebar says he does find the game provocative, gamers are lining up for a chance to play it.

"It's a fun title, it's a fun game and I think they did a great job with it," said Will Hay co-owner of Spacebar Arcade.

Spacebar plans to have a release party for the game Tuesday night. Tyler hopes to have the game online and ready for people to download by February, He also plans on making other games, calling "Harambe Kong" the first in a trilogy.

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