Shoot-em Up Game Based on Iraq War

Apr 16

¬†”I think video games are the most powerful communications tools that have ever been created because I can make you that guy.¬† I can put you in the exact dilemma and situation he was in, and when you have to make those decisions yourself, you will get insight¬† you cannot get from any other means. You will understand that situation on a deeper level.”


War video game based on real Iraq battleThis is quoted by the president of Atomic Games regarding the video game, Six Days in Fallujah, to be released in 2010.  As its name infers, the video game is meant to replicate the experience of soldiers during one of the bloodiest battles in the Iraq War by creating a documentary-style video game. 


 Huh?  Let’s try to picture this.  A guy (girls aren’t prone to play shoot-em up video games) sits on his couch after polishing off a soda and a slice of pizza (maybe lets out a belch or two) then turns on his console and unloads his “gun” on his “enemies.”  At least until his mom calls him for dinner (‘cause the pizza was just a snack.)  


The game, no doubt, will do a pretty good job of re-creating the adrenaline rush of killing (fake) enemies in a (virtual) war.  But is it going to humanize the tragedy of war for those who have never fought in one?  If so, would that mean video game junkies will be the world’s leading pacifists in the next ten years?  I wouldn’t count on it. 


Here are some starting statistics on the real effects of war, compiled by Huffington Post

  • Number of troops who tried to commit suicide or injure themselves increased from 350 in 2002 to 2,100 last year. [US News and World Report, 2/25/08]
  • 11.9 % of noncommissioned Army officers reported mental health problems during their first Iraq tour [Los Angeles Times, 3/7/08]

  • 27.2 %¬†of noncommissioned Army officers reported mental health problems during their third or fourth Iraq tour [Los Angeles Times, 3/7/08]

Recreating an event that has caused so much pain and continues to fracture the lives of Americans doesn’t make much sense.  And chances are, those people who do understand the horrors of war aren’t the ones running to Best Buy to pick up the newest shoot-em up game. 


And finally, what the heck has this got to do with parents and their kids?¬† (This blog is, after all, supposed to relate to parenthood in some way!)¬† Well, this apparent ‚Äúdocumentary‚Äù style video game, as presented by the creators, is just the start of a new and disturbing trend.¬† We can expect to see an increase in life-like violence, like we’ve not seen previously.¬† By marketing these games as documentary-style they will angle the games as beneficial to society, as the term documentary tends to convey.¬† Any sensible-minded person will see this as what it really is – a way to irresponsibly create and market games without accountability for its negative effects on individual lives.¬† Hollywood has done it for years – and succeeded.¬†


The game will be rated ‘M’ for mature.  But many parents ignore these ratings either out of ignorance or carelessness.  In my house, war games will be banned.  There are better ways of learning about the horrors of violence in society (like helping the victims, rather than shooting them.)  I’ll be teaching my kids to value real life experiences over the “unreal” experience of sitting on a couch sipping a Coke, killing everyone in sight.  It’s entertainment, I know.  I just don’t get it.    


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