things i don't understand

Conceptual Art Video Game Lets You Arrest Bear Stearns Employees

A regulator (I think) about to arrest Bear Stearns’s pest-control expert, maybe?

The big story in certain Internet circles today was the unmasking of @horse_ebooks, a popular Twitter account many assumed was a bot that tweeted odd sentence fragments, as a long-running conceptual art piece by Jacob Bakkila, a BuzzFeed employee, and Thomas Bender.

Bakkila and Bender didn’t stop at @horse_ebooks, though. Their new project, called Bear Stearns Bravo, is an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure video game in which you, a Wall Street regulator, can choose to arrest or bargain with Bear Stearns employees for crimes committed during the financial crisis. It is … odd.

Bear Stearns Bravo isn’t embeddable, so you’ll have to click here to start arresting (or cooperating with) Bear’s employees. But as the screenshot above shows, its production value is about what you’d expect from the guys behind tweets like “remember and fun to share.” (Though — spoiler alert! — there is a fairly entertaining scene later on in which slick-haired mortgage-sales guys are shown packaging “quad-A mortgages,” which I don’t think is a thing that exists.)

A call to a number listed on @horse_ebooks’s Twitter timeline went to voice mail. The only other information about BSB available at present is on the site, where players are given the following prompt if they wish to join:

The Regulators are illegal tourists in LA’s deadliest zone! Finesse your way through the Gilded Corridor as Franco, or brawl the bullies of East Free Trade as Henri. On LA’s black market, everything’s for sale: ancient secrets, combat mortgages, and love.

So it’s like Grand Theft Auto V, but with bankers or something? I don’t know. I’m very confused.

Art Project With Bear Stearns Employees