The Miami Herald
January 29, 2001

Anti-Castro game a hit on Web

Czechs click away to 'free prisoners'


 Millions of times, Eastern European cyberspace heroes are blasting away at Fidel
 Castro's make-believe militia to free two prominent Czech citizens currently jailed
 in Cuba.

 It's no Play Station II staple, but the Internet game is the latest craze in Prague.

 Fueled by the true-life political wrangling going on between Cuba and the Czech
 Republic over the arrests, the game has gotten millions of hits in Eastern Europe.

 With instructions in English and Czech, the game transforms each player into an
 armed agent. The goal is to rescue Ivan Pilip, a member of Parliament, and Jan
 Bubenik, a human rights activist and former student leader, from Castro's jail.

 In real life, the two have been held since Jan. 12, accused of having contact with
 anti-Castro dissidents on the island.

 The game, created by Jan Kottman, Vít Novácek and Tomás Nevrtal, is being
 circulated through the Internet site To start the game, click on
 the box marked ``Novinky.'' Attempts to reach the creators through the Internet
 and by telephone were unsuccessful.

 As the game begins, Pilip and Bubenik are seen in a prison cell while Castro
 gives one of his famous marathon speeches.

 Suddenly, unsavory-looking members of Cuba's militia guarding the Czechs begin
 popping from behind bushes and other hiding places, firing with automatic

 If a player gets a kill, blood splatters. Ill-fated agents see a yellow splatter before
 meeting their maker.

 Players killed off are shown lying face down in a pool of blood, their weapons next
 to their bullet-riddled bodies. And the Czechs stay in jail.

 A player who kills 50 of the guards wins the release of the prisoners -- and a

 In the game's final frame, the Czechs happily float away from Cuba toward South
 Florida atop an inner-tube raft, accompanied by a dark-skinned, wide-eyed island
 boy with a T-shirt with the misspelled name Gonzales.

 Guess who that's supposed to be?