The worst mass shooting in US history took place just over a week ago in Orlando, Florida, in a year that has averaged almost a mass shooting every single day. Typically politicians take to social media in the wake of such tragedies to offer their “thoughts and prayers” to victims—it happens so often that it’s become something of a sad joke, since thoughts and prayers aren’t usually super useful in terms of stopping shootings, or anything else.
The ubiquity of thoughts and prayers led to the genesis of Thoughts and Prayers: The Game, a browser app that lets you take on mass shootings in the US with the power of both thinking and praying. In the game, you tap away at two buttons—“think” and “pray”—as new shootings pop up on a map of the US. Occasionally, a button will also appear for banning assault weapons. Good luck with that.
The game is the work of Everyday Arcade, a company that creates satirical games about current events. Thoughts and Prayers is available on The GOP Arcade, a site where Everyday Arcade has dumped all their satirical games about the Republican Party, since the company says they’ve all been rejected from Apple’s App Store.
Despite all that thinking and praying, the results are about what you’d expect. In fact, Thoughts and Prayers: The Game is interesting in that, in wailing away at those two buttons as fast as you can to rack up a high number of thoughts and/or prayers, you’re probably expending more energy than people do when sending out real-life thoughts and prayers. So that’s ironic. And sad. Actually, just sad.