International information this week has been fixated on the lacking Titan submersible, with rescue groups racing towards time to discover a vessel containing 5 folks that has gone lacking throughout a vacationer dive to the wreck of the Titanic. It’s a story that in some methods is made for 24-hour rolling information protection, with the fatalistic ticking of the clock on the craft’s oxygen underpinning fixed updates that each one quantity to the identical factor: They have not discovered it but.

One notable ingredient within the response on social media has been frequent comparisons to a breakout indie hit from 2022, Iron Lung, to the extent it turned a Twitter pattern. On this game you play the only crewmember of the titular craft, navigating an alien seafloor with analogue devices and a black-and-white digital camera on the sub’s exterior, whereas one thing stirs outdoors. The game units out to horrify and, helped enormously by the confines and limitations of the sub itself, is a terrifying expertise.

Among the references are merely mind-boggled comparisons to the game’s premise, and the way related it’s to parts of what is been occurring with the Titan and the character of the craft (resembling Titan’s occupants reportedly being bolted-in from the skin and unable to open the craft from inside). Others are black humour, resembling one tweet I noticed saying “new Iron Lung teaser lookin’ sick” with a hyperlink to how a lot oxygen the craft is estimated to have remaining. Others level out that each craft could be piloted utilizing a game controller (the Titan craft apparently makes use of a Logitech pad in its setup).

The game’s developer David Szymanski has clearly seen some of these things, and appears to really feel as bizarre about it as you would possibly count on.

“I undoubtedly see the darkish humor on this entire Titanic sub factor,” mentioned Szymanski. “It is simply… like, I made Iron Lung essentially the most nightmarish factor I might consider, and realizing actual individuals are in that state of affairs right now could be fairly horrific, even when it was their very own unhealthy choices.

“Like all of the jokes I have been seeing are hilarious but in addition good lord no person ought to should die like that”.

Szymanski additionally shared a graph of gross sales knowledge that confirmed Iron Lung spiking over the past two days, including “this feels so incorrect” and later “I really feel kinda uncomfortable about it tbh”.

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I haven’t got any difficulty with black humour, and evaluating the state of affairs confronted by the Titan to Iron Lung’s premise is so apparent it is no marvel so many immediately began making the connection to one of many solely items of media that displays this unsettling expertise. Video games can legitimately assist us embody and discover a measure of understanding for various, even horrifying, experiences. However this occasion additionally brings to thoughts the idea of catastrophe tourism—is it someway voyeuristic to discover one thing like this by means of the lens of a game, even because it’s nonetheless unfolding?

Szymanski was requested after the above if he’d primarily based what occurs within the game on any actual ocean incidents and mentioned “Naw I simply made up a situation involving a sub that was as nightmarish as I might dream up”. Which definitely appears like a number of the stuff being reported in regards to the Titan. As of April, the game is already being made into a movie.

Rescue efforts to search out the lacking submersible stay underway. The BBC Information’ stay protection has extra element.