'This guy killed JFK!': A conversation with Kirk Ewing
Chatting with the creator of infamous 2004 video game 'JFK Reloaded'
My guest today is game developer Kirk Ewing. Back in 2004, at the height of the debate about video game violence and its influence on society, Kirk and his team at Traffic Games published JFK Reloaded, a ‘docu-game’ which utilised a (then quite advanced) physics and ballistics simulation to allow players to recreate the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The game kicked off a brief firestorm of global media controversy and was condemned by the Kennedy family and US politicians across the partisan divide.
I spoke to Kirk for a retrospective on the game for VICE, published next week. For readers of The Terminal, the full interview is below, lightly edited for length and clarity. We talked about the development of the game, his experience of the backlash, and where he thinks it sits in video game history.