A video game based on the popular Steven Spielberg horror film “Jaws” is now available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. While the trailer for the game might make some shark conservationists cringe with its “mindless eating machine” mentality, others might argue that it’s a harmless video game. “Jaws” the game certainly isn’t doing anything to dispel many of the largely unwarranted fears about sharks, but as a video game based on a fictitious horror movie, I have to wonder if anybody would really expect anything different.
If the game were billed as an educational app about sharks, I would certainly have no trouble crying foul. However, “Jaws” is a horror movie about a 25′ rogue great white shark who hunts down humans mercilessly. When you see the name “Jaws” attached to a video game, you pretty much know what you’re getting into.
“Jaws” (the film and its video game incarnations) catches a lot of flak for creating the mindset that sharks are mindless killers, but is the movie itself really the problem? For whatever reason, “Jaws” is simply very effective at scaring people, and the fear associated with the movie gets carried over into the real-world for many people. I would argue that the the inability to discern reality from fiction is far more to blame for misconceptions about sharks than a movie or a video game.