| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Feb 2 First came the heroics of
landing a crippled passenger jet on the Hudson River in New
York City. Now there are the video games.
"Hero on the Hudson" challenges players to steady a plane
nosediving towards the busy river. In "Double Bird Strike," the
goal is to evade flocks of birds -- a suspected cause of the US
Airways jet's near disaster on Jan. 15.
Both are free online games created by units of MTV
Networks, a division of Viacom Inc VIAb.N. Free games, which
make money by selling advertising, are seen as a promising
segment of the $22 billion U.S. video game industry.
Players can try to emulate the skill of pilot Chesley
"Sully" Sullenberger, who won acclaim for his smooth emergency
landing on the Hudson River that saved all 155 people aboard.
"Hero on the Hudson" has been played more than 1.4 million
times since it was launched on Jan. 21, said Kate Connally,
spokeswoman for its creator AddictingGames. Average success
takes three tries.
"If you land it correctly like the pilot did, then the
passengers come out and cheer on the wing," she said. "The
payoff is the joy of having saved all the passengers."
The plane sinks with burbling sounds if you fail.
"Double Bird Strike," which launched on Jan. 18, may be
trickier. Scott Roesch, general manager of creator atom.com,
said it took him at least a dozen tries to succeed.
"The decision to launch the project was made within 24
hours. It really is a story of heroism," Roesch said. "The more
we started to think about, the thing that the plane was hit by
birds was amazing."
Among those conducting 147,000 tries on "Double Bird
Strike," he said, are mothers at home. Before playing the game,
viewers must watch a laundry detergent commercial featuring
models on a catwalk.
In the 2008 election year, politics mixed with online
Several of the most popular games, Roesch and Connally
said, featured Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah
Palin, the outdoorsy governor of Alaska. "Hunting with Palin"
by atom.com drew more than 1.6 million tries.
(Editing by Daniel Trotta and John O'Callaghan)