In an attempt to raise money for charity a modification of Grand Theft Auto (GTA) V has been created, which involves the creation of an indestructible deer. The character of the deer is not actually being controlled by anyone directly, it is being given a series of computational commands to follow. The deer interacts with the other AI characters in the game, with some choosing to just ignore the deer and some responding by attempting to shoot it.
The deer is ‘playing itself’, with all activity unscripted… and unexpected
The deer is available to watch by clicking here through a live video stream using Twitch TV. This follows the deer has it moves through the fictional world of San Andreas, it is routinely picked up and dropped into new places to avoid the risk of the deer becoming stuck.
In the time that I sat watching the deer cam, it appeared to get stuck in an old mining entrance and was failing to run down a busy road, getting mown down by other drivers. The latter is precisely what I imagine the deer was created to emphasise, GTA is a satirical game that aims to exacerbate and humorously critique everything that is wrong with society in America. The game ridicules characters that engage with inappropriate or illegal activities, ranging from intrusive paparazzi all the way up to serious organised crime. GTA V allows the player to hunt and kill the animals in the game environment, with at least one of the small game missions involving hunting elk and other wildlife for money. Whilst hunting is present and legal in American society, hunting as a practice is globally disputed, with the several versions of practice banned in the UK.
Not only does the game allow the hunting of animals in the game environment, but the player is free to engage with animal abuse in the sense that players can intentionally run animals down and subject them to continual abuse before they die. This indestructible deer demonstrates how animals can be subjected to a huge amount of abuse in the virtual world and in the real world. The fact that this deer can’t die, means that it is almost constantly being attacked by the other ai in the game. If the deer walks down a busy road it gets continuously knocked down by other traffic, stands back up and gets knocked down again. Although this deer could be considered as virtual animals hitting back and gaining power, this deer isn’t programmed to try and defend itself, or run out of harms way. Which means it is continuously shot, run down and even has abuse yelled at it by the other ai characters. This deer represents the way that animals are being constantly abused in society and whilst the abuse of ai in the game environment doesn’t actually hurt anyone, there are so many animals in the real world that are suffering neglect and abuse.
So although this indestructible deer appears to be comical and is quite amusing to watch, it makes a larger statement about the treatment of animals in society. As GTA V is a satirical game, the way it teaches is through humorous critique, therefore the apparent slapstick humour of a deer getting hit repeatedly by cars on a busy road can also be considering as a moment of teaching in relation to animal abuse. However it’s not enough to just watch, laugh and perhaps think about the wider context. Suffering animals need help, this deer was created to support a particular charity that helps care for and rehome animals in Seattle. So if you live in the surrounding area, this would be a perfect charity to donate to. However I’ve assembled some more choices below for people to donate to for people who, like me, live in the UK.
RSPCA – this charity cares for all sorts of animals, it works on the recovery, treatment of neglected and abused animals in the UK
The Horse Trust – the charity is responsible for the long term care of horses that have been recovered by other charities and ones that have retired from services like the police
Dogs Trust – this charity cares for dogs that have been neglected and abused, they also try and find new homes for the rehabilitated animals
Prince Fluffy Kaleem (PFK) – PFK is a UK registered charity that operates in Egypt, PFK cares for horses, donkeys, camels, cats and dogs in the area around their base. Treating animals in need and educating owners about the suitable care of their animals.
I haven’t put all of the UK charities below, just the ones I have been following on social media and/or have donated to, but if you think that I’ve missed a really important one let me know in the comments and I will add it onto the list.