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"The like to get the landmarks," Jeff Goldblum warns as the aliens from Independence Day: Resurgence descend on our planet, targeting the monuments in our greatest cities. So from a certain perspective, it makes sense that a game designed to market the global-disaster pic would allow people to do just that. Only, the gimmick is being described as insensitive, because of the imagery it allows users to recreate.
Described as an alien simulator, the program Independence Day My Street allows you to enter your home address, and using a combination of Google maps and special effects, alien ships will fly down your street and destroy your neighborhood. For real, here's my street, in the world of Independence Day.
And this is my house, with a giant mothership crashed next to it.
Admittedly, it's kind of cool to have your neighborhood Roland Emmerich'd. Except, as the NY Post points out, typing in an address like 1 World Trade Center creates horrifying imagery that calls to mind the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. And similar scenarios play out when you type in the locations of recent terrorist activities, including Café Bonne Biere in Paris or even Brussels Airport.
That's not to say that every complicated location is covered by the Independence Day My Street game. The NY Post says that it tried to search on The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, as well as La Guardia airport outside of New York City and found that the locations were "not found." The paper says it reached out to the studio, 20th Century Fox, for comment but have not yet heard anything back.
I think it's safe to understand what the marketing team behind the app were going for. The Website blares Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" in the background as you enter your address and create intergalactic havoc in your own neighborhood. Part of the draw of the original Independence Day was the sequence where alien ships destroyed everything from the Empire State Building to the White House, and I'm sure the new movie does its fair share of damage. This game wants viewers to play along. At the same time, it's understandable how the game, when used in a different way, can be viewed as insensitive.
What do you think? Is the game harmless? Or did the marketing team go too far?