New North Korean shooter game lets player target US soldiers

WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - North Koreans are many things, but they're not subtle.

Which may help to explain the new 3-D shooting game "Hunting Yankee."

It's a "fighting game of shooting and knocking down Yankees with a sniper gun . . . behind enemy lines," according to Arirang-Meari, a state-run news agency.

The game looks similar to other first-person shooter games such as "Counter-Strike" and "Call of Duty."

The twist: Players take aim at US soldiers.

The game was first spotted by the English-language NK News. The developer was not named. "Hunting Yankee" joins a smattering of recently produced war-related games.

A couple of weeks ago, the North Korean Advanced Technology Research Institute released a collection of offerings which can be played on smartphones.

In "Confrontation War," users destroy submarines with "depth bombs, nuclear depth bombs, and anti-submarine rockets."

In "Guardian," users simulate naval warfare with "cannons, multiple rocket launchers, and mines."

North Korean state outlets report that the games are "popular among youth students and workers" and are enjoyable for their "rugged confrontation with the enemy."

North Korean video game designers have unveiled other, less-bellicose options, too, including a soccer simulation game called "Soccer Fierce Battle" and a game designed to lure tourists called "Pyongyang Racer," which lets players drive through an idealised version of the country put through a SEGA filter.

"Hunting Yankee" is just one recent example of North Korea's increasingly visible antipathy toward the United States.

A couple of days ago, Pyongyang released a new round of eye-popping posters.

In one, a dozen missiles fly through the air at the United States, which has already burst into flames.

"The entire mainland United States is within our range!" it brags.

Another offers the "Korean answer" to "Military option. Preventive war. Sanctions": Scores of red missiles fly at the US Capitol, which is in the process of exploding into smithereens.

Posters, as the New York Times explains, are an "important feature of culture and daily life in the North. They are everywhere: on the walls of public buildings, at the gates of schools and at factories and collective farms. They are used to instill in North Koreans the tenets of party ideology and loyalty."

This summer, they also put out a series of very bellicose stamps. In one, a fist pounds a missile labeled "USA," a tattered flag in the background. In another, a target sits over the US Capitol.

This all comes at a moment of escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States.

North Korea has held several missile tests since President Donald Trump took office.

In July, Pyongyang tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit California. Trump hit back with promises of "fire and fury," and the United Nations imposed new sanctions that could reduce the country's US$3 billion exports revenue by a third.