A Matter Of Perspective: Six Days In Fallujah Cancelled

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Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

All of us are affected by war. Whether it be directly in the service, through a family member, indirectly by actions taken by our governments’, or what we interpret from news agencies; it is reasonably safe to say, most of us will feel the effects of war.

At the beginning of April, a firestorm spread around the videogame/documentary “Six Days in Fallujah”(SDiF). Developed by Atomic Games and slated to be released by Konami, SDiF was to portray the real world conflict as accurately as possible, while still remaining fun to play. Atomic Games interviewed soldiers from Fallujah, reviewed satellite imagery to remain faithful to the actual location and anticipated using material to further develop a training simulation for the military.

However, “at the end of the day, it’s just a game,” tells Anthony Crouts, vice-president of marketing for Konami. “We’re not trying to make social commentary. We’re not pro-war. We’re not trying to make people feel uncomfortable. We just want to bring a compelling entertainment experience.”

“Compelling entertainment experience” struck a chord with military veterans and the general public. A lot of time and attention was paid to making this design accurate. Atomic Games even interviewed Iraqi civilians and insurgents to get their perspective on the conflict.

“War” as we know it is not fun, it can be rather horrific and a traumatic experience for all parties involved. While the essence of strategy games can be drilled down to a war backdrop, the issue doesn’t seem to be war. Some examples of popular war games are Call of Duty, Killzone, and Gears of War. Nor does the issue seem to be violence, though some may disagree, there are many violent games Grand Theft Auto, Left 4 Dead and Silent Hill to name a few. The issue seems to be realism, but what kind of realism? Games like SWAT, Rainbow Six, even America’s Army are realistic to a degree.

I am undecided HOW I really feel about Six Days in Fallujah. I was looking forward to seeing what the final product would become.  I do feel there is a certain amount of hypocrisy surrounding this issue. If there were a game where you battle Somali pirates on the high seas would there be public outcry?

I don’t have any reservations on playing a game like SDiF. And I vehemently oppose nearly all videogame censorship. I consider videogames, games and nothing else. If one chooses to make a game I disagree with, I won’t play it, but I do not believe I should force my viewpoint to be theirs.

I also feel videogames, like movies, provide a place where the mind can wander.  If in allowing someone to commit virtual gaming crimes rather than real world crimes, this seems like good outcome. I do not believe games enable people to commit real crimes, but understand videogames can be used as a training/teaching tool. 

There are definitely ethical considerations when making games, possibly more so with war games. Do you think Konami dropping SDiF was a good call? Think this is utter BS and games are games? Should more attention be paid to the ethics of war?

Share your comments, I’d love to discuss this more. 

[Interview with Iraq Vet – GamePolitics]

[LA Times- Entertainment vs Fun]

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12 Replies to "A Matter Of Perspective: Six Days In Fallujah Cancelled"

  1. Enner says:

    I’m disappointed that Konami got scared and ran away from publishing Six Days. Here was something interesting in an otherwise overcrowded genre.

    However, from the general impression I get from its debut, Six Days played pretty much like any given FPS game. Granted, the game was still a year away from launch, but having regenerating health present didn’t help Six Day’s game-documentary claim.

    • Sol says:

      Agreed, walking the line of fun to play vs. frustrating hard in a “real world” scenario can be tricky. However if they could have a “real soldier” mode ala James Bond Golden Gun I think you could have some really interesting gameplay.

      I don’t think the game will necessary disappear. Atomic has been working on it for quite some time, however they may just need to call is Six Days in Jallufah and make some fictional threat like COD4 did.

  2. robbie says:

    I agree with Sol, it’s hard to walk the line in this territory, so in some sense I can understand why Konami dropped SDiF, but at the same time, I feel like they were cowards for doing it.

    Why didn’t people complain when COD: WOW came out? Why didn’t they complain about Rainbow Six? It’s complete hypocrisy, but I think the truth is that people don’t want to see games made of events that are still going on. That’s too close to the truth, and nobody wants that.

    • Kuroneko says:

      they didn’t complain probably because the others were fictitious enough and this one as its said.. tried to depict the real deal… interviewing soldiers, survivors, people who lived it and whatnot to achieve realism… then calling it “just a game”.. of course its gonna prick a few people to call the very real war an entertaining experience.

      while i do understand that the end product is really just a game… the real war its so hard trying to recreate and make entertaining was not o.o

      like ye said, its too close to the truth.

      i for one am not amongst the offended ones, but can understand how others might be.

      • Sol d-_-b says:

        What then can be a good time period to then begin make a such a game?

        • 60 to 70 years if all the WWII games are any indication…

          • Sol d-_-b says:

            I think sooner than that. Culturally, Americans are transitioning to be more in the moment, looking less in the past and focusing more in the future.

            This war will soon feel like it’s been going on forever and it become an increasingly distant memory even though it’s less than 10 years old.

            I don’t think that the WAR ON TERROR will be over anytime soon. WWII had a clear goal for victory. This just has battle benchmarks for success.

  3. Khaim says:

    How many of you over there have an at least distant relative who died on Hiroshima? I do. On the Japanese side. Anyway, PR and marketing mistakes sure are strong enough to put a hurt in such a project.

    I wonder how the German population feels towards all those Call of Duty, Medal of Honor and anything that involves killing German soldiers…

    • Kuroneko says:

      some of them probably play the games…

      I would imagine its all about cultural idiosyncrasies… i don’t feel offended when the concepts of Spanish conquest in Mexico comes into play in one way or another in a game, or any other kind of invasion for that matter.

      but that’s us… were in a way culturally “built” that way… other nationalities are built differently and react differently i guess o.o

      • In other words: some countries give a shit, others dont.

        • Kuroneko says:

          more or less, nor really about giving a shit i guess, we’re not really a universal culture, and in Mexico’s case we take our pride in rising from adversity, but that’s just us, while the past is important we don’t dwell in it enough to overshadow our looking to the future, yet good ol’ Khaim comes from different stock and i can’t make the same claim for him, even if he was born in this same country.

          I’d personally enjoy the gaming experience over the cultural ‘offense’ for lack of a lesser yet better word.

          Me and Khaim hail from different culturl backgrounds, yet we live in the same city and are actually good friends =)

          being geek/otaku/gamer/whatever… now that’s a bit more universal xD

          • Sol d-_-b says:

            I’d like to think most gamers are in the center when it comes a topic like this. We all have predilections for the types of games we play and I’d like to believe that our gamer-self is different than our real-self. I may be SUPERpwnAge gaming Masta’ trashtalker…but I think I’m pretty relaxed in the real world.

            What I am getting at is I think the gaming sphere generally doesn’t care about this because it is seen as a non-issue. We play games because they are fun or make us think…however non-gamers may look at the “fun” and subject matter and weigh it too heavily…

            For instance look at idiotic controversy over Fat Princess or Resident Evil 5…


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