Joyful Executions overarching goal is to appeal to a potentially hostile audience. The developer avoids offending this hostile audience by playing to totalitarian propaganda like that used to persuade North Korean Commissars into killing unarmed traitors. 8-Bit Underpants uses a great heap of satire—among many other strategies, i.e., embracing propaganda by parodying totalitarian manipulation strategies, conveying a rich attitude toward totalitarian leadership (conceit), utilizing euphemism’s (“Joyful” Executions)—all of which aid in the overall diction and dramatic irony of this game. Once completed, the audience will likely feel guilt for enjoying the mass slaughtering of unarmed citizens and traitors for purpose of praise to the totalitarian rule.
Only a video game such as this can manipulate a player’s attitude toward accepting the harshness of totalitarian rule. The developer carefully uses phrases like “Punish the Traitors,” and—in the tutorial—“How to Play Teaching Wisdom!” Also, by using common game lingo like “wave,” “kills,” “rewards,” and “ammo,” 8-Bit Underpants is able to coax the player into killing randomly generated traitors each wave: “All enemies here will be distributed randomly into waves. You’ll never know who or how many will come each wave.”
Upon completion of each wave, the Divine Leader appears either upset at your results or happy that you killed everyone. If you displease him, then there is an option to redeem yourself by shooting squirming enemies. In this pursuit for forgiveness, I found that—although I knew my aim was spot-on, I failed—by the game’s coding—to get credit for my merciless accuracy; instead, I continued to disappoint the Divine Leader. So I think this chance to redeem myself from failures before was programmed to make me lose, get frustrated with the game, and downright lose interest. If not the case, I still closed Joyful Executions. As I played yet another time, I noticed that the Divine Leader’s physical presence dramatically increased my compliance to continue the rewarding process to retain his loyalty. This is the manipulation interactive text and graphic is most noted as being able to alter in any given target audience either for better or worse. In this instance, we get a better feel for more than 24 million people right now in dystopian regimes that understand and relate to the totalitarian propaganda being parodied throughout this game.
8-Bit Underpants delivers the message in a fun, cutesy, entertaining, and challenging way. A rewards system, i.e., gun ammo, weapon upgrades, and chances at redemption, engage the gamer in a matter overlooking the actual deeds being done. Playing this game was hard when thinking about totalitarian rule and what it is capable of manipulating people into doing; although, I enjoyed not so much the gameplay as more the visual direction. Commonly noticed on all screens was Korean characters and English type infused together to create one, cohesive and effective layout that contrasted the brutal acts onscreen. 8-Bit Underpants created a visual identity by using the unspoken understanding an audience would have about elements in design, such as type, color, and verbose language to set the disapproving tone for dystopian regimes.
The illustrations are in no way realistic. The developer’s intention was not to over engage the player by use of 3D renderings and physics models. 8-Bit Underpants wanted to achieve a difficult humor through a storytelling dialect. His use of bright red blood splatters immediately follows the cartoonish “POP” of the totalitarian trooper’s guns. This could have been the developer’s strongest suggestions overall—that violence is disgusting, and that life is taken away every day by these power hungry decisions. The use of caricatures appeals to the inner child in all of us. This game is marked with “High Maturity” in the Android “Google Play” marketplace, so this suggests the developer did not think children would grasp the actual concepts of the game’s underlying suggested purpose. Safety is currently offered to 24 million people in North Korea through totalitarian rule, which is comforting only because of the implied fear people mustn’t be skeptical of—that deviation from the government powers results in harsh sentencing, i.e., unarmed “traitor” punishment like that in Joyful Executions.
As it appears, this game influences a change in awareness. I am in essence implying the developer wanted the target audience to act on the urge to share this bizarre, yet factual, game to friends or just about anyone then “lull” in the oddity that is this serious subject matter juxtaposed with Korean cartoon charters smiling and generally content unless knowingly in bad terms with the Divine Leader.
The most deliberate and successful rhetorical strategy this developer used was euphemisms. Like previously stated, the title implies a certain joy from execution. This joy is based on the various rewards and upgrades given to you by your progress within the Divine Leader’s rule. The game did not suggest failure, though it was possible. When I purposely chose not to kill the traitors, I failed the game. So since I was not killing the traitors and therefore did not please the Divine Leader, I, the Commissar, was in the line of fire. Traitors are not taken lightly. This game raises the awareness of totalitarian rule that affects 24 million people every day with its propaganda and manipulation. The childish graphics, in my opinion, were the perfect personification of leadership that is in need of check.