New Videogame: Burmese Pythons in the Everglades

You know you're in trouble when your only defender is a company named "Bigglesworth."

"It will draw attention to the fact this animal doesn't belong here."

Welcome to the sordid existence of South Florida's most hated species: the Burmese python. This creature is so hated that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission last year assembled a ragtag crew of untrained python hunters whose only objective was to kill as many of the snakes as possible. The best method, the state cautioned, was decapitation.

The beasts, however, proved surprisingly resilient. Though 1,600 blade-wielding hunters romped through the Everglades, only 68 snakes were ultimately slain.

Burmese python
Interfase via Wikimedia Commons
Burmese python

The reason behind that miraculous yen for survival will now be explored — and digitized.

The Orlando company Bigglesworth Studios announced late last month that it'll release a videogame, Invasion of the Burmese Python, that will take players inside the snake's insidious mind. "Controlling a Burmese python with their fingers, players will navigate the swamp, which is populated with plants and native wildlife, attacking and eating as they go," the company said in a news release.

It's Myst meets Oregon Trail — except with one of the most destructive creatures on the planet.

The most important mission, Bigglesworth spokesperson Necole Pynn says, is to engender some degree of sympathy for the reviled creature. She thinks of the pythons as misbegotten, "beautiful" beasts wrong for the South Florida terrain. "The game is about navigating this difficult and unfamiliar environment," Penn says, adding the production is intended to be as much documentary as videogame. "It will draw attention to the fact this animal doesn't belong here. They have to eat prey that isn't their natural meal."

Pynn pauses. "This beautiful animal is causing chaos."

So why create a videogame that glorifies it? The idea is akin to creating a videogame that takes players inside the mosquito's mission to suck human blood — which could be Bigglesworth's next enterprise.

Nonetheless, if ensuring the survival of the Burmese python is the only way to win this game, players must kill the Everglades.

Which, all things considered, seems an easier objective than exterminating the Burmese python.

 
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