A professor at Abertay University has modified one of the world’s most popular – and Dundee-invented – video games to reflect the horrors of gun crime culture.
Grand Theft Auto, the video game phenomenon which has sold more than a quarter of a billion copies, was initially conceived by Dundee video games designers Mike Dailly and David Jones.
The latest iteration, GTA V, has now been modified by a professor at Abertay University, to mirror how gun violence in the US has escalated in recent years.
Professor Joseph DeLappe, who identifies not just as an artist but an activist, has created a modified version of the game to create a regularly updating scene of slaughter.
The video, which plays on a 24-hour loop, was launched on July 4 – US Independence Day – and will portray 7,293 killings, the number of people killed by guns in America since the beginning of the year.
Regarded as a data visualisation, Elegy: GTA USA Gun Homicides also has an “eerie” rendition of God Bless America as its soundtrack – using the first radio recording broadcast in 1938 and sung by Kate Smith.
San Francisco-born Prof DeLappe said the number of US gun deaths is anticipated to hit more than 15,000 by the end of the year.
He said: “I’ve dedicated much of my work over the years towards exploring the violence of war and its consequences on civilian populations.
“The Iraq war claimed nearly 5,000 US soldiers and it struck me that each year nearly three times that number of US citizens are killed in gun homicides.
“The plague of gun violence in the United States is a long-term and seemingly intractable problem.
“We made Elegy as a way to take what is an abstract number and make it more immediate – ironically, using a gaming simulation the data of gun homicides perhaps becomes more real.”
Abertay graduate Albert Elwin worked as collaborator and coder on the project with fellow graduate James Wood acting as a project consultant.
A live stream of the game can be viewed here.