9/11 virtual reality app disrespects victims and rescuers

The attempt of game developers to simulate an office worker's experience on the 101st floor of the WTC North Tower is offensive

A new virtual reality app simulates the 9/11 attack on the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Even conceptually I find this offensive and troubling.

In the app a user plays the role of an office worker on the 101st floor which was occupied by employees from Cantor Fitzgerald, Kidder, Peabody & Co and other tenants. The people, yes, real-life people who were moms and dads, on the 101st floor were above the floors impacted by American Airlines flight 11.

Those real people, sisters and brothers, were unable to escape.

The first-person view of the app, in a preview video, is the fake office worker's desk and computer screen. As expected, it is a rather mundane view of a reconstructed office.

Until American Airlines Flight 11 slams into the tower.

The sounds effects, quaking screen are jolting and revolting.

We know what happens next. The people on the 101st floor did not survive. Why do we need to simulate those final traumatic minutes of life for the people who survived the initial impact into the WTC?

For most EMTs, paramedics or firefighters we only have one or two degrees of separation from someone that died on 9/11. My good friend Dave lost his partner that day. Nearly all of us have co-workers and friends that responded to Ground Zero, working tirelessly for weeks and weeks to find the victims and return personal effects to loved ones.

Perhaps that gives us a closeness and personal connection to the event that the app developers and game players lack. Creative director Anthony Krafft said they wanted to be as accurate as possible out of respect for the victims.

This project was disrespectful and dishonorable from the moment it was conceived.

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