Usually, when we’re talking about video game footage being used to attempt to fool others into thinking it’s real footage, it’s been done by nation states looking to either pretend they’re far better at war than they are, that their weapons are far cooler than they actually are, or to frame their adversaries for doing nefarious things far more than they actually are. Those cases aside, it does also happen that news organizations get fooled by this sort of footage too. And we should probably only expect this sort of thing to occur more often, given the leaps in graphical realism the gaming industry takes every year or so.
And so it’s only with a little bit of meanness that I bring you the following video.
As you can tell from the title of the video, it’s a gameplay video from Grand Theft Auto 5, in which the player is piloting a passenger aircraft and nearly causes an explosion when an oil tanker crosses the runway as it’s landing. Cool. These videos of GTA5 are common and showed off regularly on the internet by players amazed at what they can pull off in the open world game, not to mention the thrilling nature of how relatively realistic it looks.
Realistic enough, it seems, for Pakistani minister Khurram Nawaz Gandapur to retweet the video alongside his now-deleted tweet stating: “Narrow escape of an aircraft which could have ended in a great disaster. Miraculous save by the pilot’s presence of mind.”
He apparently confused a GTA V clip with real life, and tweeted praising the pilot for excellent skills. The video showed a Airbus A380 flying over a city and avoid an oil tanker in the runway as it was about to land. Gandapur tweeted, “Narrow escape of an aircraft which could have ended in a great disaster. Miraculous save by the pilot’s presence of mind.”
I love stories like this. Again, it’s not really about laughing at someone for getting fooled. What interests me more is both how cool it is that video game footage is getting realistic enough to regularly fool people into thinking its real footage, and how terrifying it is to think of the mayhem that might cause in the future. After all, it’s all well and good for a country to promote its military might by using game footage of some terrifying weapon… until it’s believable enough to cause another adversarial nation to react in real life.
Still, I hope whoever the pilot of the GTA5 plane is from that video feels they have an extra feather in their cap over getting a clap on the back from a Pakistani minister, because that’s pretty cool.
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