You know you're in trouble when your only defender is a company named "Bigglesworth."
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.
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."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
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 -- and then allows the mosquito to kill that human.
Because for the Burmese python to thrive in the Everglades, the Everglades must die. Which, all things considered, seems an easier objective than exterminating the Burmese python.