Thar She Blows (Up): Harpooned 2009

So much stuff from one animal. It's a veritable barg.

Waking up to Radio 4 mentioning of whales – God knows why, I was barely awake – makes it an appropriate day to link to the 2009 edition of Harpooned: Japanese Cetacean Research Simulator. It’s basically Moby Dick meets 1942 as Creative Directed by Jonathan Swift. New features? Online scoreboards, capturing protestors and – er – being on the Mac. Man! The videogame incarnation of Comrade Hobbes and my “Japanese Whalers Research Investigates Crucial ‘How Many Whales Can We Catch Today’ Issue” proto-Onion gag, you can download it from here. Alternatively you can find Whales to hunt here (If you live near Maine). But remember – do it sneakily, as apparetly it’s a bit naughty. Footage and tangential music linkage beneath the cut…

Harpooned 2009 update from Conor O'Kane on Vimeo.

And irrelevantly, friends of RPS The Duloks sing Bad Vegetarian at Maida Vale…

Anyone who notes in the comments that Whales aren’t fish is incredibly clever, clearly. We admire you. In fact, we probably want to be you.


  1. Jonas says:

    That is awesome.

    “…and 1 scientific paper.”

    Love the music too. Suitably evil.

  2. Tei says:

    there was a “clubbing the baby seal” game for the commodore 64
    a cute white baby seal. in horrible 320×200 high res.

  3. Hypocee says:

    Proto-Onion joke indeed, but also in Gaiman+Pratchett’s Good Omens.

  4. Kua says:

    I recently made the switch to Terry Wogan for my early morning listenage. I recommend you do the very same. Because, on the Today programme, despite the odd reportage on how Japanese whalers pwn Greenpeace, its all Credit Crunch and it gets a tad samey.

  5. MacBeth says:

    Obviously the Mexico-is-in-North-America uber-pedantry was more irritating than I thought…

    Doesn’t mean I won’t do it again though. Be warned.

  6. Chris Evans says:

    No Wales jokes Kieron? I am dissappointed :(

  7. Heliocentric says:

    Allow me. I harpooned wales once. But sneaked out before she woke up.

  8. Pags says:

    Anyone who was awake this morning evidently didn’t watch the superbowl and therefore fails at being a man, and no amount of illegal whaling will make up for it.

  9. Oak says:

    Working title: World of Daggoo?

  10. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    And here I thought it was just the most well endowed of mammals. Yay, a penis joke!

  11. Him says:

    @ Pags.
    Sir, I submit to you the game of Rugby. Real men neither need, nor wear body armour. Much like whales (to their seeming detriment)

  12. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Reminds me (tangentially) of the GreenPeace game wot we played as kids on my Amiga (more a collection of slightly rubbish mini games).

    Personally I’m a Radio 6 man me self, being to old to put up with radio 1 any more but far to young to put up withthe rubbish on radio 2 and not serious enough for radio 4.

    ++Him: real men do indeed not wear body armour and are only sent off when they are bleeding too much.

    PS tried to show the video to my mum, she found it too sickening to watch, I can kinda see why, still, we need more games like this.

  13. Kieron Gillen says:

    Pags: Sorry, was having crazy sex.


  14. Heliocentric says:

    By himself.

  15. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Whilst thinking about your mum.


  16. Pags says:

    Sir, I submit to you the game of Rugby. Real men neither need, nor wear body armour. Much like whales (to their seeming detriment)

    If rugby tackles were more than just squeezing a guy’s legs together, I might be inclined to agree.

    On topic: This game makes me sad. I’m more than happy with harpooning humans in games, lord knows there’s more where they came from. Twinges of guilt are unavoidable when kebabbing endangered sea beasties however.

  17. Heliocentric says:

    @phuzz pags mum is a very classy lady!

  18. Pags says:


  19. Heliocentric says:

    Phuzz you are so insensitive! Go stand in the corner and don’t come back until you are sorry.

  20. Rei Onryou says:

    @phuzz: interesting idea for new sport: American Rugball. 1 team of American foot-to-ball-ers versus 1 team of British-ish rug-to-by players. No point to the game, I’m just sure we’d enjoy one team getting (physically) slaughtered by the other.

    In other news, watching that game video made me feel kinda wrong. But not at wrong as the thought of crazy Kieron solo mum sex. Zing!

  21. jonfitt says:

    Aaaw. I was hoping for a modern remake of Harpoon!
    Oops wikipedia tells me they’re still making Harpoon games.
    I must confess to only having played the original many moons ago. The only tactic I had was as soon as I spotted the enemy I’d immediately phone the PM and ask for nuclear release! Nothing like Cold War overreaction!

    … and Kieron, don’t lie.

  22. DBeaver says:

    This is giving me goosebumps…

  23. Korgan says:


  24. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    On the mac! Yeah!

    Um.. Sorry, what game was it, again?

  25. Nilocy says:

    This game makes me feel so sad… sooo sad…

  26. Idle Threats and Bad Poetry says:

    I found the video for the game disturbing. Oddly, I have no qualms about violent games like L4D, but I have this little voice inside that complains, “Who would want to hurt a whale?” I won’t play the game, but it did make me painfully aware of the issue.

  27. DSX says:

    So this is technically a sim right?

  28. DigitalSignalX says:

    needs more blood to be realistic simulation :( And seagulls.

  29. Laukei says:

    I agree with Idle Threats. The trailer was too much for me.

    The game looked innocent enough, but cutting to shots of actual whaling is just poor taste.

  30. Skwizzal says:

    Ah I remember when Deceased Crab Let’s Played this game. Very, very humerous indeed.

    Offtopic: Both Rugby and American “Football” (The british-ness inside of me scoffs at calling such a awful game by our national sport, when it doesn’t involve that many feet) both fail in the wake of Bloodbowl.

  31. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Then they got the reaction they wanted out of you, but at least you pass the ‘decent human being’ test.

  32. AbyssUK says:

    Whaling is for Chums

  33. windlab says:

    It would seem by the trailer that it’s created by protesters, in which case I admire them for allowing you to “capture the researchers”. :P

  34. Calabi says:

    Well I’m all for whale harpooning, to many of thems eating our fish and planktons(which we might have to add to our diet soon).

  35. Conor says:

    Laukei – if seeing whales getting harpooned disturbs you, perhaps you should do something about it (other than looking away).

    Thanks for the link Kieron.