Future Games of London recently released a shark-themed game for Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. “Hungry Shark,” by the looks of it, does nothing to dispel the myth that sharks are mindless killing machines, but is this something for conservation-minded shark enthusiasts to get bent out of shape over? After all, it’s just a video game created for mindless fun. There are plenty of video games out there that depict humans/aliens/hedgehogs/etc. going around destroying everything in sight. Personally, I won’t be losing any sleep over a game in which a caricature of shark is going around eating everything in the water and the air, especially when the feeding frenzies are accompanied by comical animated text that looks like something out of the old Adam West Batman television series.
There’s a difference between video game companies (as well as advertising companies, movie studios, and other outlets of fictional entertainment) capitalizing on over-the-top shark sensationalism versus educational-based or news media outlets doing so. The difference being that the target audience typically knows they’re getting a heaping slice of fiction with the former. I doubt that playing Hungry Shark will result in somebody believing that a real shark is going to fly out the water, eat a pelican in mid-air, knock a person out of a boat in the process, and then eat the person. Then again, sometimes I give people too much credit.