Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / JFK: Reloaded

Go To
JFK: Reloaded is a controversial 2004 first-person shooter that challenges the player to recreate the assassination of John F. Kennedy scoring on how closely the attempt matches the report of the Warren Commission. The opportunity to cause mass mayhem instead is just a bonus.

The game was developed by independent Scottish game studio Traffic Games, directed by studio founder Kirk Ewing, whose previous work included directing 2002 Beat 'em Up State of Emergency with VIS Entertainment. Following his departure from VIS, Ewing was interested in doing smaller-scale projects, including a simulation game based on a major historical event, with it being a toss-up between the Apollo 11 moon landing or JFK's assassination, settling on the latter due to the high amount of information about it released in the public domain. According to Ewing, JFK: Reloaded was not made as an archetypal Murder Simulator built on sadism and shock value — rather, it was created to challenge and disprove the many conspiracy theories surrounding the event, using the virtual recreation as a test platform to see if the events of JFK's death as documented in the Warren Commission were plausible. As part of the test, Traffic Games held a $100,000 bounty for the first month after release to see if anyone was able to recreate it with 100% accuracy — for better and for worse, the closest anyone got while it was active was 60%.

Regardless of the intentions, the game was naturally subject to a lot of backlash. Ted Kennedy (John's then-surviving brother and senator) was personally informed of the game's existence by Ewing, and simply responded with "It's despicable." Politicians and pundits thrashed the game for its highly questionable taste, and Ewing responded that the controversy was "understandable given the fact that many people were alive at that time and still have vivid memories of the event", but still held firm that the game neither condemned nor glorified the event — it just simply is.

This game provides examples of:

  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: When players go out-and-out psycho with a sniper rifle, it is possible to shoot pistols out of the hands of all the cops who are obligingly standing around facing at right angles to your window, provided you're a quick enough shot. Due to their motions, it is possible to remove the hands as well.
  • Dead Foot Leadfoot: Happens if you kill the limo driver. Sometimes he manages to turn the steering wheel a little bit too, most often resulting in the presidential limo crashing into the side of a building, killing everyone else in the vehicle and tossing their bodies out onto the sidewalk and street. The game even accounts for this, listing the occupants as having died in a car crash in the final tally.
  • Disaster Dominoes: A possible outcome.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Due to the the game's wonky physics engine, it is possible to crash the game by exploiting said physics engine a little too much, like scaring the two bus drivers that come later into mowing down the pedestrians lining the street. If that doesn't crash the game, you can expect them both to be sent flying into the distance!
  • Hat Damage
    • You get consolation points for shooting Governor Connolly's huge Stetson hat out of his hands or shooting Jackie Kennedy's hat into the air provided that you do not injure them in any way.
    • You can shoot cops' helmets off their heads or shoot off the shades of Secret Service personnel, albeit without consolation points.
  • Off the Rails: When you decide to shoot other people instead... chaos ensues.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Possible as long as the same bullet passes through the heads, necks or chests of one or more people.
  • Police Are Useless: Depending on who you kill first, the cops can dismount their motorcycles and draw their revolvers to protect the president, however, they will never fire it, even when they are looking straight at you.
  • Ragdoll Physics: Despite its controversial nature, the game's wonky physics is the sole reason most people play it.
  • Real Footage Re-creation: The game is clearly inspired by footage like the Zapruder Film.
  • Sniping Mission: The entirety of the game.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: If the point of the game is to kill JFK (and/or his wife), why not cause extra historical carnage by killing the Governor of Texas (and/or his wife), the VP (and/or his wife)? You also have the freedom to shoot cops, FBI agents, dignitaries, drivers and Secret Service Agents (but, sadly, not their wives).
  • Too Dumb to Live: One can shoot the driver (fatally or not fatally) of the car full of FBI Agents that is right in front of the President's limo, causing said car to stop and also causing the limo and all following vehicles to stop behind it. This makes it easy to kill as many people as possible.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The game is generally used simply to see how many people you can slaughter and how much of the rag doll physics you can enjoy. And, of course, there's killing JFK by sniping out the Innocent Bystander driving the car in front of him, then scaring JFK's driver with a few rounds, then taking him out just as the car speeds up. Presidential car slams into the back of the stopped bystander car. Secret Service agent sprints into the back of the car, almost certainly ruining his chances of ever breeding. It's also possible, should you hit the driver at the exact right time, to end with the Presidential car embedding itself in a distant wall. Also, you can shoot Governor Connolly's hat off.
  • Villain Protagonist: Seeing how you play as Lee Harvey Oswald in the JFK assassination, this is a given.
  • Who Shot JFK?: You did! Several times!
    • It's very easy to pull off the Warren Report shots, even the so-called "magic bullet".