Recently, Hamstrong the Hamster has made a splash in the video game world as he fights the evils of animal testing, but there’s another game out there that has been doing it for a decade now! Nov. 18 marks the 10th anniversary of “Whiplash” — one of the most popular games to base its plot on animal rights and against animal product testing. The game was produced by Edios Interactive for video game platforms Xbox and Playstation.
The single-player game follows a long-tailed weasel named Spanx chained to an indestructible rabbit named Redmond. Redmond and Spanx are animals at a product testing corporation called Genron. Although there are two main characters, the player only controls Spanx and unfortunately uses Redmond as a tool.
The goal of Spanx and Redmond is to bring down the fat boss of Genron as they escape the clutches of the facility. In the process of doing this, they also try to free as many animals as they can from the facility and cause as much monetary damage to the labs as they can. Upon freeing animals, players unlock new rewards and if they destroy six million dollars in damage by the end of the game, special content is available.
It is interesting that the games message of freeing animals from product testing facilities is paired with the objective of destroying expensive equipment. This is a message that the best way to prevent or shut down these type of facilities is to hurt them financially. Of course, destroying their property is not the right or legal thing to do in the real world but works on our screens as a game.
Although the video game does have some drawbacks, like condoning violence and using animals as weapons, the overall theme of “Whiplash” has brought awareness of the evils of animal testing to a younger population. Not only does the game provide an overall message that containing animals and testing on them is bad, but it makes the issue interactive. By playing the character Spanx, a gamer begins to fight the evil corporation for their unreasonable treatment of animals. Even though this is just in the game, this fight could and probably has translated to the real world, even if just to make the player think about animal testing when he/she turns his/her game system off.
So congratulations to Spanx and Redmond for putting up the good fight against animal testing for a decade! Your message of awareness on a platform of interaction has given children something to think about and hopefully act upon in the real world. Since Redmond is indestructible, I suspect the game will be around for a while in an attempt to continue spreading its message against animal testing!