Coming this summer wherever video games are sold: A product equally offensive to both millennials and senior living residents.
The name of this game? “Just Die Already.”
The premise, according to Swedish developers DoubleMoose: “You are an old retired person in a near future where people aren’t having any children. There isn’t anyone to pay for pensions due to those ungrateful millennials who prefer playing video games instead of doing actual work. …How will you survive in a world that wants you to Just Die Already?”
Players, according to the game’s description, have just been kicked out of the retirement home and have to perform “dangerous challenges” to earn their way back in. Nonplayer characters in the game either will laugh or run away while others get hurt, according to developers. The retirees are described as “angry, fragile, poor and hating the world” and get to “wreak havoc on the millennial and zoomer population.”
I know such words — and the game itself — are meant to evoke a laugh, but frankly, I don’t see the humor in making older adults the butt of a joke (new retirement financing ideas notwithstanding). I’m not a gamer, and I don’t know who this game is intended to appeal to, but I’m saddened that the developers believe a market exists for it.
I suppose I should not be surprised in a world where some openly resent older adults, blaming their physical vulnerability for the COVID-19 restrictions that have affected people of all ages. Or where some believe a simple solution to the pandemic is for retirees to sequester themselves away until a vaccine is discovered, with nobody else carrying any responsibility to ensure others’ safety and health.
But on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, during World Elder Abuse Awareness Month, the existence of products such as this game make it clear that work remains to be done to educate others about ageism, which remains largely accepted — even ignored — in the United States. And that’s no laughing matter.