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Sept. 11 Version of 'Space Invaders' Draws Fire at Video-Game Convention

Well, it's definitely eye-catching.

Attendees at the Leipzig Games Convention in eastern Germany were startled this week to come across a modification of the classic "Space Invaders" video game — one in which the relentless crab-like aliens are blowing holes in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

The work of digital artist Douglas Edric Stanley, who was born and raised in California and now works and teaches in France, the piece is part of a larger exhibit commemorating the 30th anniversary of "Space Invaders."

"In his interactive large installation, the players must prevent the catastrophe by controlling the well-known cannon at the lower screen border with their bodies and firing it using arm movements," read the official Games Convention Web site. "Like the original, this trial is ultimately unsuccessful, thus creating an articulated and critical commentary about the current war strategy."

• Click here to visit FOXNews.com's Video Gaming Center.

Stanley's actually been working on the 9/11 edition of "Space Invaders" since soon after the attacks, according to his long-running blog.

"Recently, I've built a flashlight-controlled Space Invaders in response to World Trade Crash of September 11th," reads a posting dated Oct. 13, 2001. "The whole event had sort of taken over my life, I was equally fascinated and disgusted by the whole thing, as well as by the (lack of) response."

He's gone through several versions since then; you can watch a YouTube video of an installation in Spain last year here.

Through the video-game blog Kotaku, the New York Daily News got wind of the Leipzig installation Wednesday and hit the phones to ask relatives of 9/11 victims what they thought.

"It's very, very distasteful," said a firefighter whose twin brother was killed in the Twin Towers. "I think he's just using that as an excuse to help promote his game being it comes out so close to the remembrance of the attack."

It's not clear if Stanley aims to make any money off the concept, since the ultimate rights to "Space Invaders" really belong to Taito, the Japanese company that developed the game.

Perhaps the best take on the whole brouhaha came from a wry commenter dubbed "wholenuther" on Kotaku.

"It's better tha[n] last year's commemorative 'Frogger: Hurricane Katrina' edition," he or she observed.

• Click here to read the Kotaku posting that got the whole media ball rolling.

• Click here to read the Daily News' outraged take.

• Click here for Douglas Edric Stanley's official Web site.

• Click here for the press release on the Games Convention Web site.