A Virtual Dark Journey Through the Debris: Playing Inside the Haiti Earthquake (2010)
This chapter analyzes Inside the Haiti Earthquake (2010), a free, award-winning online simulation, and the immersive virtual journey inside the January 2010 Haiti earthquake that the game offers. While maintaining some characteristics of disaster tourism and “thanatourism,” virtual dark tourism, the chapter argues, is a novel experience. Through its liminality, the accretive perspective the game offers, and its changing contextualization, the simulation creates a distinct itinerary through Port-au-Prince’s ruins. In effect, Inside the Haiti Earthquake can help to formulate an awareness of the ruinous constructs of aid and humanitarian industries—Haiti’s main disaster tourists—of the ongoing present of the disaster, and the lack of a simple and happy “end” for the inhabitants of Port-au-Prince.