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.
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