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When Does It Become OK To Make Games About a War?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the measured-in-administrations dept.

The Military 295

The cancellation of Six Days in Fallujah seems to have stirred up almost as much debate as its original announcement. Given the popularity of World War II games, it seems clear that the main concern about a game focusing on modern war events relates to how recently they happened. Kotaku takes a look at some of the obstacles such a game would need to overcome to achieve broad acceptance. "When approaching a game that realistically depicts a modern combat situation, one criticism that often arises is the subject of fun. Can a realistic military shooter be fun? According to Ian Bogost, that's the wrong question to ask. 'We use the word fun as a placeholder, when we don't even really know what we mean when we look for some sort of enjoyment in a serious experience,' he said. Fun and entertainment aren't mutually exclusive, especially when it comes to entertainment based on real-world military conflicts. As Bogost explains, fun isn't the key word in this situation. 'It may not be possible to make a realistic war game that is fun — war is not fun — but it is possible to create an experience that is informative, appealing, and startling in a positive way.'"

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Not even going to RTFA (4, Insightful)

Cylix (55374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976627)

It's pretty much OK to do anything you want to do unless you plan on pissing off the vocal minority.

I'm fairly certain the majority of us really don't give a damn what the next guy is going to do.

It's that small percent who have an extremely horrid tact and shout much louder then necessary.

Re:Not even going to RTFA (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976777)

I'd take you seriously if you douchebags actually try and understand the fundamental issues i.e. RTFA. It is easy to cast aside other people's worry while it is only a "minor" inconience for you. Democracy is not about the will of the majority, it's about compromise. sheesh

Re:Not even going to RTFA (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976937)

When has democracy been anything other than the will of the majority?

Re:Not even going to RTFA (5, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977315)

When has democracy been anything other than the will of the majority?

Every time the winning candidate does not get 50% of ALL eligible voters. Not voting is essentially the same as "none of the above".

Re:Not even going to RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27977331)

Well in ancient Greece democracy was for the free men who were in fact minority slaves being the majority. In modern days democracy is practiced by representatives who are bought by lobbyist which both are minority.

The OK-ness depends on the popularity of the war (5, Insightful)

jowilkin (1453165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976653)

I think time is only a minor factor in this case. The level of "OK-ness" of making a war game is also highly correlated with the popularity of the war IMO. In World War II we seemed to have a clear enemy who was clearly in the wrong. It was cause for celebration to defeat them at the time and thus it's OK to relive this defeat in the form of a game. The Iraq war is extremely unpopular, and it's unclear whether we really "won" anything as a result of it.

Try this. Make a GERMAN war game (5, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976735)

How would a GERMAN point of view in a war game be like. You might say that several all ready did offer you the option to play from the german side, but not on the box cover. Look at the art for games with two sides like the venerable Close Combat series. It is pretty clear who you are supposed to be playing. That you can also optionally play as the germans is just a small side note.

But what is a game like Call of Duty etc had a german theme and worse, did not pretend that the german soldiers did not know what they were fighting for. Notice that most potrayals of symphatetic germans conveniently accepts "ich habe es nicht gewust" for fact. But it was the soldiers who rounded up the undesirables and put them on transport. Who took civilians hostage and executed them.

How would a ww2 game that showed that be received?

Not so good I think.

for that matter, how about a vietnam game in which the americans get to torch houses and kill unarmed women and children? Hell, even make a vietnam war game where the americans are LOOSING. Or a dutch war game about the "police" actions in Indonesia, just to show this is not an anti-america thing.

War games are acceptable as long as they show a clean version of a war with a goodie and a baddie and you are the goodie and the goodie is nothing but good and does nothing a baddie would ever do.

It wasn't that simple (4, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977039)

did not pretend that the german soldiers did not know what they were fighting for. Notice that most potrayals of symphatetic germans conveniently accepts "ich habe es nicht gewust" for fact. But it was the soldiers who rounded up the undesirables and put them on transport. Who took civilians hostage and executed them.

Actually, it wasn't that simple.

1. For a start you have to understand that what the bulshit Hollywood propaganda presents as a one "German army", was actually several branches, some of which weren't army at all. The SS for example was a paramilitary organization, _not_ a branch of the German army, and none too loved by the real army (the Wehrmacht.)

Second, even Hitler understood and accepted that not everyone has the stomach for his racial purity solutions.

The rounding up Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, etc, was done by volunteer groups -- the euphemistically called Einsatzgruppen [wikipedia.org] or Sonderkommandos (special units) -- recruited from the SS, SD, Gestapo (all under Himmler, btw) and local volunteers, _not_ from the army.

So, yes, most German soldiers didn't know jack squat about the extermination, and never rounded up anybody.

If you want to see an example of how the real army felt when ordered to do some atrocity: when a German sub was sunk by airplanes while trying to tow to safety the survivors of a ship it torpedoed, Hitler was furious and ordered that subs machinegun all such survivors in the future. Dönitz argued that doing anything of the kind would cause a massive morale drop, and basically pretty much refused to do it. Hitler actually backed out of that idea. Subs did stop trying to rescue survivors, though.

2. But to get back to the rounding up, you also have to understand another aspect: people are easier to round up when they don't know they're going to end up dead. After all, if you'll be killed anyway, what's your incentive to surrender to the guys with guns? At least running away or fighting back you still have a small chance to survive.

And you can see in the Warsaw uprising what happened when people realized that they're dead in the long run anyway.

So the "final solution" was actually kept somewhat secret, because, you know, the less people know about it, the less the risk that one of them will write to their former friend in Minsk to say stuff like "dude, hide before these guys come haul you to the gas chambers" and that guy tells _his_ friends about it, and it goes downhill from there. You have plenty of historical examples from elsewhere of exactly this kind of thing happening. E.g., the Gunpowder Plot in England failed when some conspirator tried to warn some other catholics to not be in the parliament on that day.

The people rounded up and the population in those cities, were routinely told they're being merely deported to some other province, and encouraged to take whatever they think they'll need in a new home. (Incidentally, that ended up as loot for the nazis.)

Vote up. First poster should have read his history (1)

seifried (12921) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977087)

Vote up. First poster should have read his history

This is the politically correct version (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977167)

You might as well argue that no american soldier knows the CIA tortures prisoners. That no soviet soldier knew about deportations to siberia.

Talk to some real germans soldiers when they are willing to let their guard down. The knew, just didn't want to know and sure as hell couldn't admit to knowing after the war.

When you are reading history, learn the difference between the one that is in the books written by people who wanted germany back in the civilized world as fast as possible and the real history.

The final solution was to big to keep hidden. But hey, keep dreaming baby.

Re:This is the politically correct version (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977385)

You might as well argue that no american soldier knows the CIA tortures prisoners.

Well, that's actually a perfect example, if you're willing to use your brain.

How do you know about those tortures? Well, because there's a free press and Internet and all sorts of channels outside the government control that told you about it.

In a totalitarian regime, with the press controlled by the government, yes, probably very few american soldiers would have had the faintest idea about what the CIA does. The american soldiers would have just seen their narrow slice of reality -- you know, some fighting, some patrolling occupied cities, some getting sniped, some of your pals being blown to bits by a roadside bomb -- and would have had no idea at all what happens to those arrested "terrorists", or in some cases that anyone was arrested at all.

The final solution was to big to keep hidden.

Except apparently it was secret enough that with all the partisans, and resistance, and spies, and captured german officers and all, the allies had no fucking clue about it either until they ran into an actual death camp. You'd think that something which is no secret at all (or so you claim) would leak sooner, no?

Re:This is the politically correct version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27977495)

You might as well argue that no american soldier knows the CIA tortures prisoners.

Learn to read. "Not every soldier knew" != "No soldier knew."

Re:It wasn't that simple (4, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977175)

Mod parent way up.

The healing process after WWII is an interesting topic to study and debate. Although there were some painful moments, the US, Japan, and Europe emerged as economic superpowers, with very few hard feelings left behind after the war.

It was also important that we won the war in a manner that didn't turn the entire population against us. Of course, the warfare techniques used by the Viet Cong and Iraqi insurgency seem to have been designed to drag as many civilians into the conflict as possible.

It also didn't help that the US forces had a very poor understanding of the foreign culture and language in either of these conflicts. Had there been an extensive ground war in Japan, a similar situation would likely have emerged.

Lesson: The reconstruction is just as (if not more) important than the war itself. Also, make sure you understand the people you're invading.

Re:It wasn't that simple (5, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977299)

Of course, the warfare techniques used by the Viet Cong and Iraqi insurgency seem to have been designed to drag as many civilians into the conflict as possible.

Is that as opposed to e.g. the firebombing of Dresden or the two atomic bombs? Don't kid yourself, WWII was always intended to be a "total war".

What made it "relatively" safe for civilians in the occupied territories and in places far from the action such as America was merely the huge distances involved coupled with the limits of technology at the time. If America had been as close as Britain to Europe, it would have been in danger of bombing just as much.

I also think you're off on the reconstruction. It's easy to reconstruct an already highly developed country, it practically reconstructs itself. That's why Germany and Japan are such success stories. The war lasted a handful of years, less than a generation. That's short enough so that people can rebuild their society as it was, and incorporate simple changes in structure like who's at the top. Just give them peace and some money.

If you look at Iraq or Afghanistan, these places have been at war on and off for most of two generations. Those places can't reconstruct themselves to a prior point, because the people who remember how the institutions worked and how society worked are mostly gone, and most young people have experienced only misery and have no idea what a modern developed society would look like.

Lesson: if you have to wage war, make sure it doesn't go on for more than five years...

Re:It wasn't that simple (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977509)

There are other factors too.

Culture plays in to it as well. How do the people see themselves, their culture, etc? Both the Germans and Japanese have a sense of cultural identity, and a sense of duty and importance above ones self. There is an idea that you are part of a larger community and that matters, and that you should work for the betterment of the future generations. That's not so much the case in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a very tribal mentality there. It's about what's good of "me and mine." People outside your tribe (which has varying definitions of course) aren't important, and maybe are even enemies.

Now of course this is not universal in any case, when you have a group of humans you'll find all different types, but it is a strong cultural trend. Well, that makes for differences in rebuilding. When you have people who are more willing to accept the idea of "Work to improve the country as a whole," work along those lines will go better. When you have a culture who's more worried about getting a leg up on the tribe next door, it doesn't go so well.

Also, the extent of defeat is important. You mention some famous bombings and there are more (Tokyo was firebombed, for example about 100,000 dead). Germany and Japan weren't beaten, they were crushed. Their militaries had been totally destroyed to the point Germany was fielding 13 year olds as soldiers near the end of the war, their industries destroyed, and their spirits broken. This wasn't a case of "Well they beat us this time," this was a case of being pushed to the brink of total destruction. Goes double given that the US propaganda said they had warehouses of atomic bombs and, had that really been the case, they could have laid waste to a country with ease.

Much easier to get cooperation out of a people when they've been defeated to that extent. Any large amount of resistance is hard both because there is just no materials for it (weapons and such), and in terms of having the morale to do so.

Then there's the situation of outside support to consider. In Iraq certianly, many of the resistance elements are not coming from the country itself. They are foreign, sometimes even backed by foreign governments. That makes it easier to keep a fight going. When you've got someone else supplying weapons, personnel, supplies, training and so on makes it easier to keep the fight going. That didn't happen in Germany or Japan. In both cases, the nations around them were none to happy with them, and weren't going to be helping out. Also, the allies wouldn't have put up with any shit. Trying to fuel a German resistance would have been a good invitation for an ass kicking.

I could keep going, there are many more differences. A whole lot of it just relates to the way war was done. WWII was a no fucking around conflict, the allies went all in and were willing to do whatever it took to win. If that meant leveling multiple cities and killing millions, then so be it. That's precisely what was done, too. That really changes the aftermath.

Re:It wasn't that simple (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27977223)

The issues about the sinking of that submarine are actually rather interesting, and more info is available here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laconia_incident [wikipedia.org]

In short, here's the message transcript:
From Laconia, a British ocean liner, indicating a submarine attack:
1942-09-12, 2222h: SSS SSS 0434 South / 1125 West Laconia torpedoed

U-156, German submarine under command of KaLeu Hartenstein, sent an encrypted message to the German CINC of Submarines, Admiral Dönitz:
1942-09-13, 0142h: Sunk by Hartenstein British "Laconia". Grid FF 7721 310 degrees. Unfortunately with 1500 Italian POWs. So far 90 fished. 157 cubic meters (of oil). 19 eels [torpedoes], trade wind 3, request orders.
Followed by an unencrypted, English message:
1942-09-13, 0600: If any ship will assist the ship-wrecked Laconia crew, I will not attack providing I am not being attacked by ship or air forces. I picked up 193 men. 4, 53 South, 11, 26 West. German submarine.

Quote from Wikipedia:
The next morning, September 16, at 11:25 a.m., the four submarines, with Red Cross flags draped across their gun decks, were spotted by an American B-24 Liberator bomber from Ascension Island. Hartenstein signalled to the pilot requesting assistance. Lieutenant James D. Harden of the U.S. Army Air Force turned away and notified his base of the situation. The senior officer on duty that day, Captain Robert C. Richardson III, replied with the order "Sink sub."
Harden flew back to the scene of the rescue effort and at 12:32 p.m. attacked with bombs and depth charges. One landed among the lifeboats in tow behind U-156 while others straddled the submarine itself. Hartenstein cast adrift those lifeboats still afloat and ordered the survivors on his deck into the water. The submarines dived and escaped. Hundreds of Laconia survivors perished, but French vessels managed to re-rescue about a thousand later that day. In all, some 1,500 passengers survived.

Under the Hague Conventions, hospital ships are protected from attack, but their identity must be communicated to belligerents (III, 1-3), they must be painted white with a Red Cross emblem (III, 5), and must not be used for other purposes (III, 4). Since a submarine remained a military vessel even if hors de combat, the Red Cross emblem did not confer automatic protection, although in many cases it would have been allowed as a practical matter. The order given by Richardson has been called a possible war crime, but the use of a Red Cross flag by an armed military vessel would also be a violation. There is no provision in either convention for temporary designation of a hospital or rescue ship. Under the informal rules of war at sea, however, ships engaged in rescue operations are held immune from attack.

My 0.02$: Whoever opens fire at anything marked with a Red Cross emblem is a fucking bastard.

Re:It wasn't that simple (3, Interesting)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977513)

> The rounding up Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, etc, was done by volunteer groups [...] _not_ from the army.
> So, yes, most German soldiers didn't know jack squat about the extermination, and never rounded up anybody.

It is in a way simpler and more complicated as you put it. The guilt is not easily divided by branches.
The Wehrmacht actively participated [wikipedia.org] in the genocide and committed other atrocities and war-crimes.
While parts of the Wehrmacht displayed various degrees of opposition against the orders of the regime and sometimes even some humanity, it doesn't negate the war crimes executed, tolerated and even ordered by the Wehrmacht, such as rounding up and summary execution of civilians as retaliation for guerilla acts. Torture and rape was also common.
And that was on the western front, were the Nazis due to their racial ideology wanted to show some restrain. I leave it up to either your curiosity or imagination, what happened on the eastern front, where the people were deemed as being lesser, and the Nazis wanted Lebensraum.

> So the "final solution" was actually kept somewhat secret, because, you know, the less people know about it, [...]

A common excuse of the German people in the '45-'68: We didn't know about it. There is only as much truth about it, that next to no one wanted to know about it.
There were some KZs near major German cities (the ones in remember: Buchenwald near Munich, Sachsenhausen near Berlin), and people were complaining about the stink the crematoria were producing.
People killing Jews in the Progrom were not prosecuted. People resisting deportation were shot. Under these circumstances, the children of the war-generation in Germany didn't wanted to believe the lie, that the general populace did not knew about the genocide.

> But to get back to the rounding up, you also have to understand another aspect: people are easier to round up when they don't know they're going to end up dead.

And you have to understand, that in the face of an armed squad, where resistance means certain death of you and your family, people will not only be easily rounded up, but even bury their own grave, as they clasp for the little bit of hope, that every second they live, they still have chance to survive, regardless how irrational this hope is. The Nazis certainly did their minimal part to support that vain hope.

All the people knew, they would be killed. They just didn't want to realise it.

Re:It wasn't that simple (2, Insightful)

Sausage Nibblets (1469103) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977533)

It feels like you're missing the parent comment's point over semantics. Regardless of which members of the German military were responsible for extermination, his point remains valid - we're only shown the clean, good, "let's have a go at this jolly old war" point of view in video games. Video games about war are where movies about war were in the 50s and 60s. It's unrealistic, idealistic and naive. But this presents a problem: I personally don't want to play a game where I'm torturing people, or killing civilians, but I also don't want to play a game that is supposed to be a realistic account of war where morality and right and wrong slide into a gray area. And to further the point - games are starting to or have addressed this, but exactly in the way that the grandparent comment specify: The latest CoD game starts with you being rescued from being tortured by some 'faceless evil nip.' Games always place you on the side of the good and the righteous fighting against the evil.

Panzer General Re:Try this. Make a GERMAN war game (1)

QuessFan (621029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977307)

While it's not a first person kind of War game, and you have the ability to play on the Ally side, it's pretty clear the focus of Panzer General series is to command German force for world domination. And it was pretty popular without much bad PR at all.

Re:Try this. Make a GERMAN war game (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977473)

How would a GERMAN point of view in a war game be like.

Well for one thing, there won't be many jokes.

Re:The OK-ness depends on the popularity of the wa (3, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976963)

I'd also argue that accuracy is also a key element. "Old School" wargamers took pride in analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of each side, presenting the simulation with at least a semblance of impartiality.

In this case, however, the game is biased, jingoistic and unrealistic. And, as you observe, it supports a cause that has been largely rejected.

The first part will have alienated the old school wargamers, the latter part will have alienated a lot of gamers who are not far right-wing.

I guess, ultimately, that's the true test of the OKness of a game - if you alienate the audience, it's not ok.

Re:The OK-ness depends on the popularity of the wa (1)

tigersha (151319) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977527)

The problem with WWII was that one of the partners that defeated "the clear enemy", the Soviet Union, was even more clearly in the wrong.

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was responsible for more deaths during its reign than the NSDAP.

WWII was basically a titanic showdown between TWO evil regimes where the west got involved and won because they funded a very dubious partner.

Most of the fighting that led to the downfall of the Third Reich happened on the Eastern Front. Hitler committed a third of his army in the west and fought there 1 year and 2 months after D-Day. The fight in the East lasted 4 years. The USSR suffered 20 million casualties, the US about 400000. There is an order of magnitude of a difference here.

The USSR survived the first onslaught of the Germans in 1941 to some extent because the US rushed in a lot of supplies. They fought with US trucks, cars, ammo and US industrial might and expertise to build stuff. And used that same expertise to hold a much heavier hand on their own population than the NSDAP ever did.

There is a lot more moral ambivalence about that war than meets the eye.

Re:The OK-ness depends on the popularity of the wa (1)

Admiral Ag (829695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977557)

Americans trying to take credit for the Soviet victories yet again.

Why can't you just accept that they were good enough to kick Hitler's ass. Even if they never did anything else good, that's a gold medal right there.

It is okay to make a game about a war... (2, Insightful)

Ann Coulter (614889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976657)

... where every single person who participated in it is dead.

Re:It is okay to make a game about a war... (1)

fbsderr0r (601444) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976733)

I can see that selling well. Call of Duty - Rough Riders or One Hundered Twenty Six Days of Philidelphia

Re:It is okay to make a game about a war... (1)

American Terrorist (1494195) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976955)

Is the sequel a zombie war?

Re:It is okay to make a game about a war... (1)

Ennui-DH (1459049) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977197)

Just about everyone who participated in WWI is dead. Only a handful are still alive. But that game would suck. Who's going to want to play a game with ten levels of being bored in a trench and then running headlong into artillery and MG fire to your death as the last level?

Re:It is okay to make a game about a war... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977493)

WWI != western front. There's the Palestine campaign not to mention naval stuff.

Call of Duty 4, anyone? (4, Insightful)

someonehasmyname (465543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976675)

I think Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is a perfect example of a modern war game that hasn't gotten too much flack.

Re:Call of Duty 4, anyone? (3, Insightful)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976743)

I think Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is a perfect example of a modern war game that hasn't gotten too much flack.

Yes, but it wasn't based as strongly on a real life conflict, this game was based strongly on a conflict, and it also presents it from the non-American view from what I can make out from the feature article

Re:Call of Duty 4, anyone? (1)

salparadyse (723684) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976797)

I had CoD4 for a while - it made me extremely uneasy. I'm not sure if the Middle East or the Balkans are suitable arenas in a game. There's too much recent history, bad blood, generational resentment etc. WW2 is far enough back to be comfortable, with the added bonus of the now almost universally accepted mantra that it was "a good war", perhaps the last good war we (US/UK etc) have been engaged in. It has the potential tactical scenarios that WW1 didn't. A WW1 game would be mostly pointless unless one wanted to show the mindless horror of it. I also had the game "Vietnam", again, made me uneasy. Too recent a war perhaps but mostly too immoral to celebrate with a game version however "clean" it might portray it as. Making a game of a "war" that's still underway? Bad taste - extremely bad taste.

Re:Call of Duty 4, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27977005)

WW2 is far enough back to be comfortable

As evident in the after effects known as Israel and Palestine...

I also had the game "Vietnam", again, made me uneasy

Sounds like your uneasy about most of the genre

Re:Call of Duty 4, anyone? (4, Insightful)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977363)

Making a game of a "war" that's still underway? Bad taste - extremely bad taste.

I am seriously not trying to be rude, but do you even realize how warped your point of view is on this? The GAME is NOT the problem here. If anything it's a product of our society coping with an amazingly fucked up series of events. Only in America would we complain about pixels while real people are dying.

So skip Iraq for another few years (1)

fbsderr0r (601444) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976681)

Skip Iraq or Afghanistan for a few years and go with a Korean or Vietnam era theme. WWII has been beat to a pulp.

Re:So skip Iraq for another few years (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976745)

WWII has been beat to a pulp.

That's because WWII is easy: Nazi's == Evil. It's satisfying to kill Nazi's because deep down you think of them as inhuman monsters. It's worth noting that the only FPS genre currently more common than WWII is alien invasion, I think it's pretty clear what that says about our culture's current level of xenophobia.

Re:So skip Iraq for another few years (1)

msormune (808119) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976879)

So when do I get to play as Japan? Because it would probably be a fresh approach to WWII.

Maybe US would not approve players bombing Pearl Harbor... Some wounds are tough to heal.

Re:So skip Iraq for another few years (4, Informative)

Admiral Ag (829695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976971)

Buy a copy of Battlestations Pacific. You can play as the Japanese side. I think you even attack Pearl Harbor. You definitely can do Kamikaze attacks.

I'd be rather pissed off if I couldn't play as both sides in a historical wargame I'd bought. I certainly wouldn't mind playing as Rommel, whom I admire.

These games aren't really about approval of one side or the other, but about re-enacting history and thinking about alternative outcomes. For example, I've often imagined that Lee won at Gettysburg, not because I wanted the Confederacy to win, but because I'd have liked to see him win it.

I wouldn't say that the people who are Civil War re-enactors on the Confederate side are racists. They are just fascinated with the (as I am) and love the history. Same goes for video games.

Re:So skip Iraq for another few years (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977529)

It's more fun to play as the side that historically lost. Extra smugness factor if you win, and if you lose well so did Napoleon (or Lee or Varus...).

P.S. If you like alternative history, you should try some of Harry Turtledove's books.

Re:So skip Iraq for another few years (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976959)

It's worth noting that the only FPS genre currently more common than WWII is alien invasion, I think it's pretty clear what that says about our culture's current level of xenophobia.

It's anything but clear. You need to also analyze player's reaction toward friendly, harmless, helpful but ugly monsters. And you need to do the same for cute, lovable, adorable, merciless killers of humans. Then you will know exactly why alien menace is so popular in FPS. Prior to this study I'd guess "the menace" is the key word here.

it's ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976683)

when you win it.

competition (1, Insightful)

CheshireFerk-o (412142) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976691)

http://aa3.americasarmy.com/ [americasarmy.com] - AA3 is the most authentic military game ever. We don't just say "every detail counts" because it sounds good. We mean it and Army Experts checked every aspect of the game to ensure it's as authentic as possible -- from weapons to sounds to player movement.

maybe it has to do with competing in the same game market as the us army? I've played america's army since 2004 it is both fun and entertaining. this game would be able to take off if they simply called it 'desert battle sim' instead of trying to pull actual battles from RL. I must say it is a neet idea but dumb, considering its exactly what AA3 is doing.

Re:competition (4, Insightful)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976943)

does this game put you in a situation whether you don't know if the child in front of you is armed or not, and you have to choose about his life in a split second?

if not, then you have your answer. One thing is about having a realistic war against unrealistic foes, another is to actually portray what the horrors of a war is, as being forced to kill, maim, torture, burn down villages, drop bombs on hospitals just because some snipers are in there and so on. With the players to take those decision and the moral consequences of that. That is the meaning of controversial, and even it's related to realistic is more about realism in the setting than realism in the effects.

It's always okay (4, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976701)

The problem wasn't the controversy, it was that Konami buckled. Anytime a company gives signs of backing off, you'll have a bunch of groups charge in like pack animals to set their agenda. Jack Thompson has been trying it for years. He would have loved that type of weakness in companies. So Konami pretty much blew it.

You can't tell me beating up prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto is better than a modern day war simulation. For every person saying "but that's someone's son" in regards to the war game, you could say "but it portraying someone's daughter in GTA"...

If recency were such a controversial thing, you couldn't have documentaries of events newer than 20 year old, let alone what is happening in the world today. The subject matter isn't all that different from any other game of its type, and I'm sure the soldiers in the "soldier groups" protesting the game have played their fair share FPS/GTA/Survival_Horror, so there probably is a fair bit of hypocrisy going about trying to make this or that topic sancrosanct and taboo.

Re:It's always okay (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976739)

The general gist of this is true. It looks great to be able to claim victory in any arena as a special interest group. It's what gets supporters to write checks to your cause.

Even celebrities like to wave the flag of victory when they really have no say so but simply state their opinion. If their opinion is in line with future movement of any type they like to claim they played a part. We know that it's hardly true, any one of use who isn't blind seen the momentum that ensured a victory before some of these people ever got involved.

It's like betting on the baseball game when it's 12-0, bottom of the 9th and 2 men out.

Re:It's always okay (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977389)

It's like betting on the baseball game when it's 12-0, bottom of the 9th and 2 men out.

And that is why the rest of the world doesn't understand baseball terminology.

One day later... (1)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976703)

One the 7th day of Fallujah, they could have released the game.... as long as they had changed the title, the media blackout would have made the game "fictional"

i just got off the toilet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976709)

i shit out an obama.

plop!

Who cares? (1, Interesting)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976723)

I didn't read the article, but I will assume it's some bleeding-heart bullshit about how insensitive it is to make games about current military endeavors where people are losing their lives and whatever else. I say, as long as the game is well-produced, politically unbiased (it's hard to be 100% this case because there has to be a winner), and, above all else, fun, I couldn't care less which war the game was about. Frankly, I wish there were MORE games about the Iraq war. It gives me something that I can play that relates to current events. It shows that the devs that made it have some balls and aren't afraid of hurting the feelings of a very small select group of people. It also gives me an alternative to the ten WWII games that come out every year which are becoming extremely stale.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976779)

It's impossible to get anywhere near "politically unbiased" while the conflict is ongoingï¼OE and while the game might "have to have a winner", the winners of the actual conflict might not be very clear. (Did we win in Fallujah? For how long? When we leave will it erupt into civil war? If so, can we still say we won?)

As for the article's wishy washy "blah blah blah we can't define fun", what a load of crap. I know what's fun when I'm having it, stop trying to over-analyze a basic experience. If the game is too realistic I probably wouldn't find it very fun just because of personal preferences. If I want realism I read non-fiction, if I want escape I read fantasy, if I want an adrenaline rush I play online FPSs. My guess is the ultimate reason they canceled the game was that they couldn't find a way to make a depressingly serious topic fun.

Re:Who cares? (2, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977237)

(Did we win in Fallujah? For how long? When we leave will it erupt into civil war? If so, can we still say we won?)

It'll probably be like Vietnam. US soldiers will win all the battles and then US politicians will decide the US has lost the war.

Re:Who cares? (1, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976981)

I would have guessed it was some right-wingnut complaining about how disrespectful it is to turn such a thing into a game.

Perhaps the problem is the extremists on both sides. What we need more than anything are some real freedom loving elected officials with a backbone. Except for one or two outliers, the notion that anyone in DC, right or left, is there for the good of America is fat ass pipe dream. It's all about what they can steal.

I wish there FPSs called "Rampage Through Congress", "Lobotomize the Lobbyist", "Make the President Eat His Words" etc. etc.

Re:Who cares? (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977183)

If you had looked at fine article instead of just posting garbage you would see that the "bleeding heart liberals" are mostly US Military types. You'd also know that this isn't a developer but a publisher decision. It points out, for example, that the US military is the largest purchaser of video games and no publisher can afford to annoy them. Jeeesus don't you know that your Slashdot postings are read by thousands of the most important people in the world. The cost in lost productivity from postings like yours is astounding. Can you not just spend a few minutes to read the attached posting before you put up your commet? Show some consideration. Sheesh.

It'll be fine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976737)

...once the Chex Quest [wikipedia.org] total conversion comes out.

When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976749)

The question starts with when, but it really isn't asking when. It's asking the 'What' 'How' and 'Why.'

When is a different question. and the answer is tomorrow. That is when.

When it's over (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976753)

How about you first start out by not developing a game based on an on-going war. For example, had the technology existed, I would not be developing a WW2 game in the middle of f-ing WW2!!!

Re:When it's over (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976845)

When it's over

Why?
Your solution is self-censorship, yet you present no reason or logic to back it up.

Re:When it's over (1, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977099)

Because war is a serious event in which people die (for better or worse). We shouldn't let the fantasy of a video game with unlimited continues diminish the value of those who put their life on the line.

To put it bluntly, it's a slap in the face. How would you feel if you were serving in Iraq while someone that same day is replaying similar events in the comfort of his home on US soil.

But hey, that's just my opinion.

Re:When it's over (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976887)

How about you first start out by not developing a game based on an on-going war. For example, had the technology existed, I would not be developing a WW2 game in the middle of f-ing WW2!!!

So it's okay to wage a war, kill thousands or millions of innocent people etc., but it's not okay to make a game about it. Personally I think that's fucking ridiculous. I'm sure the first thing a soldier's concerned about is whether or not someone's made a game out of their hellish experience when they're fighting that war. The explosions and bloodshed are just a minor point.

Just because YOU weren't part of WW2 or Korea or Vietnam, that doesn't mean there weren't vetrans of those wars alive to see games and unfair one sided documentaries made about them. I didn't hear much complaint from these people. Once again perhaps its because they fought a real war and have a grasp on what is and isn't important. They are therefore uninclined to waste time bitching about a video game.

Re:When it's over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27977251)

So it's okay to wage a war

[Citation Needed]

oh wait, GP never said that, nice tryyyyyyyoll

Rommel (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976999)

Although the wargames he used were not computer-based, he relied extensively on wargames and battle simulations to plan strategy and tactics. The main reason he lost in Africa, according to what I've read, was that the people he had feeding data into the simulations were nationalists who preferred jingo to honesty. Garbage in, garbage out. If not for that, he might well have stalemated his opponents or won.

This example is cited in a number of books on the history of wargaming that I've read on why it is essential that wargames be completely impartial and unbiased.

Re:When it's over (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977011)

True, that's pretty risky. But if you absolutely can't wait, at least make sure that the player can control either side of their choice. Nobody wants to pay $80 for a game that turns out to back the wrong horse in the end.

Re:When it's over (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977241)

When it's over

So... when 'Terrorism' surrenders, then? Don't hold your breath.

Never (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976761)

  As long as we have the generation of whining and entitlement egoists called USAnians who think the world should revolve about their ignorant and uneducated points of view

Re:Never (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976835)

I'm an american and surprisingly I agree with you.

That's a pile (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976765)

That just sounds to me like the biggest pile of circumventing, euphemistic bullcrap I've read in a long time. If you want to make your game, go ahead and do it and don't pretend that the people who play it aren't having 'fun'. If you get to deal with the consequences then man-up and face the music. Don't try to explain away with fancy words that what's just controversial and that what's just human nature. Bah.

I have an idea (2, Interesting)

stemcel (1074448) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976769)

How about when kids born during are old enough to play? Seems like a safe bet ;)

Re:I have an idea (0)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976775)

Kids do not play war games, that what the M-rating is for.

Re:I have an idea (1)

elvesrus (71218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977107)

I think 2 words can sum this one up... Jack Thompson

askslashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976783)

So, then, what ARE some fun war games?

I disagree (1)

fbsderr0r (601444) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976789)

I disagree. I can confirm kids playing COD, Halo, etc.. I usually end up getting my ass kicked online by some cackling 12 yr old.

Always? (1)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976799)

It will always been too soon to make a game about any real war to some group. There is a sort of logarithmic scale to the number of people offended by a particular war being depicted in video games.

Also, the accuracy of the war is important. More specifically, less accurate representations of wars that favor your market's culture's "good guys" will be more acceptable than highly accurate depictions. Even if your side won, you want to keep the image that they completely won, with as little difficulty as possible.

Real life "bad" events will always be a touchy subject to depict in any media. Pictures of the planes hitting the WTC buildings are generally only used when necessary. Songs about unfortunate events are highly criticized if they aren't ultra sympathetic. Games about war are either dumbed-down as much as possible, or they're about fictitious scenarios. You'll always have someone complaining about reminders of things they want to forget or move passed, it's just a question of how many you're willing to put up with to release your work.

Whenever you want (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976807)

Let the market decide. If people buy it, it's the right time. If they don't, chances are, your game just sucked anyway.

Re:Whenever you want (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977161)

Indeed. If there was a law against poor taste or crassness we wouldn't have any popular culture at all.

Games may not be art, but they are free speech. (1)

cryptogryphon (547264) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976825)

Personally I have always been disgusted by any wargame based on historical events, and I don't play them. However, free speech is one of the many things these real men and women died to defend (to take the WWII example so oft cited), and so no 'war' or war should be off-limits, IMHO.

Re:Games may not be art, but they are free speech. (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976907)

However, free speech is one of the many things these real men and women died to defend (to take the WWII example so oft cited), and so no 'war' or war should be off-limits, IMHO.

Its not off limits. But if you make one in perceived 'poor taste' people will make a big fuss about it, and stand on their soap boxes and shout about how awful it is. The poorer the taste the bigger the uproar.

There is no shame in this. That's part of the "free speech these real men and women died to defend" too.

They have the right to make their poor taste game. I have the right to put ads in the paper explaining why I think your an insensitive ass. Walmart has the right to refuse to carry it. Etc, etc, etc. As long as the government doesn't get involved and start passing any laws or arrest anyone over it, we have the freedom we fought so hard for.

My point is there is just as much freedom of speech exercised with protesting a game you don't like, as there is in making one.

When you can get away with it. (1)

rusl (1255318) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976831)

It's never OK to trivialise War in such a way. The real question is when can you get away with it: At what point is opposition small enough to not matter or (better yet) to help drive sales with the illicit thrill of controversy? As others have pointed out it depends a lot on popularity and the politics. If the group are really still being demonized then often the video game can even precede the conflict. Games about "terrorists" etc are examples of this. Realistic games are always going to hit a nerve though, because realism isn't what is usually popular about war.

As soon as ... (0)

esten (1024885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976833)

"Mission Accomplished"

Well (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976867)

One quote from the article really stood out. It kind of bothers me.

" The former Army colonel was quite clear on his opinion of that matter.
"If you're working with the enemy, that's called treason. The jihadist killing our people today would love to get a larger audience to perpetrate their hate."

This is precisely the same argument that is being kicked back and forth over the torture photos. Basically, the colonel is saying it's treason to even ask the insurgents why they are trying to kill us. He's also saying it's treason to ask them why they stayed and fought in Fallujah against the world's most powerful military.

That, despite the fact that these people are willing to kill themselves to fight us, we can't even publish what they're thinking that leads them to this.

From a military perspective, propaganda is important to winning wars. It's evidently the correct strategy to tell lies and half truths about your enemy in order to incite your side into fighting. But we have plenty of American troops willing to fight - the problem is that it doesn't seem to be accomplishing anything.

An immune system doesn't care if the invaders have good intentions or not - they fight off anyone who doesn't belong. We're a foreign body to these people, and they feel they have to fight us off.

 

Always -- if marketed properly (1)

jasprov (1521977) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976901)

A game (or even a simulation, in this case) is always fictional and biased.

Even a piece based on "fact" or historical information is still, at best, a commentary on a single perspective of the event (usually that of the developing body expected to appeal to their target audience -- not to discount satire, antagonism, or other secondary aspects).

The only issue here is the marketing and, more specifically, the target audience of the game.

Properly marketed -- suggesting an 'M' rating at a minimum, and an author's full disclaimer as an indication of bias -- any 'game' is valid.

Better question... (2, Insightful)

Nekomusume (956306) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976905)

Is it possible to make a realistic war game?

I vote "no" due to the fact that you really can't get hurt and probably won't develop PTD after watching your buddy's face explode in a shower of blood and bone, leaving you to wash his brains out of your mouth.

Not to mention that most wargames don't involve the player having to realistically deal with other people on their own side comitting war atrocities - never mind comitting them themselves.

it's ok any time you please. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976951)

that's what freedom is. anyone who is opposed is a freedom hating commie.

More stupid contraversy? (4, Interesting)

Akir (878284) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976987)

Now it's time to reveal to the world a part of my philosophy. There is no such thing as controversy; controversy is simply an illusion that an issue is so big that it will effect everyone. The truth is that while there are events which can cause effect a great deal of people, there isn't really much that can effect everyone - all I can think of is someone accidentally creating a virus that kills everyone on the planet or nuclear holocaust.

Now as I mentioned before, people are illusioned into believing that something is extremely important. The reality is that most of the controversy is simply caused by stupidity. Sadly, I'm wrong when I say it's caused by stupidity; it's usually caused by willful ignorance in the form of religion. Though I do admit that there are some caused by bigotry, idiocy, and normal ignorance as well.

Think about it - What are the big controversies today in America? I'll list some for you:
  • abortion
  • evolution vs. creationism vs. intelligent design
  • stem cell research
  • civil rights for gays, especially marriage
  • pornography.

Those are all caused by religious institutions; the pope hates them all. and there's such opposition to these issues because, guess what? They hurt their feelings. And they remain controversial because of bigotry. But there are some very minor controversies out there that aren't caused by Christianity; gun control and the war on drugs, for instance. These issues are caused by sheer ignorance.

How does this relate to the topic in hand? It's hard to say. Games based on real, current wars aren't controversial because of people's bigotry, idiocy, stupidity, or willing or unknowing ignorance.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say that this type of game isn't controversial at all. What it is, however, is stigmatic. People have different views on the war, and because not everyone agrees with it, and even though it's a subject that people can have differing opinions on it without getting upset, it instantly becomes taboo.
So the real problem is that people and organizations have become so incredibly afraid of being politically incorrect, they're not even willing to go along with anything that people won't agree on. Which means that the shelves of the game stores will continue to be filled with endless sequels, because someone might be offended with anything new, and in an overly-sensitive global society, that's enough to get your game banned.

To sum up what I was trying to say, current-war games aren't controversial, but are simply too new of an idea.

I hope my message got across well; I'm actually doped out on sleeping pills right now. I'm not even sure that I wrote about the point I was trying to make.... I'm a very confused man at the moment.

P.S. I think I meant to say earlier that controversies are caused by intolerance. Ex: Fable was controversial for being able to play a gay character.

Remember "Shock and Awe" (3, Insightful)

Davemania (580154) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976991)

Remember that one of the game publisher decided to cash in on the term "Shock and Awe" and realize that there was a public back lash at the attempt to cash in on the Iraq war. I think people need to realize one thing. This is not a freedom of speech issue, they're a private company and if they tick off the people that generates their profits, they'll probably do what it takes to protect that revenue source.

Re:Remember "Shock and Awe" (1)

Suzuran (163234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977123)

That's not what happened. This game was shut down by anti war protesters because they were scared it might generate some sympathy for what the troops have to deal with over there. Much better for us that we think of them as the baby-murdering hospital-bombing demons the press tells us they are.

Fun and entertainment? (4, Interesting)

jandersen (462034) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976997)

Fun and entertainment aren't mutually exclusive, especially when it comes to entertainment based on real-world military conflicts

Eh? Could you run that one past me one more time? It would make sense if you said something like "Fun and education aren't mutually exclusive", but as it is stands it is a tautology.

When it comes to war, what is acceptable and in good taste depends on whether it allows people to come to terms with what has happened. WWII ended a while back, AFAIK, and people in Europe are still trying to come to terms with it - which is why in UK there is hardly one night when there is not at least one programme rehashing the events, or a comedy series or whatever. In UK we haven't even quite come to terms with WWI yet, and perhaps one shouldn't really expect to get to the state where it is just the subject of idle fun.

In my opinion, coming to terms with events of this magnitude means facing up to all aspects of what has happened, and for Falluja we aren't even close to that yet; this is not just a question of showing a bit of tact and respect for the tens of thousands innocents that were allegedly slaughered by Americans troops, but also a question of our integrity and moral standing. On a personal level I find it revolting and deeply disturbing that a bunch of soldiers - possibly henchmen in a horrifying crime - are now trying to milk the story for what it is worth. Talk about military honour.

And before anyone begins to spout nonsense about "the global anti-Americanism", let me point out that since you elected Obama, things have changed a lot in the world; not because we think he is going to do what we want him to do, but because we believe that he genuinely represents the American people, and we trust and respect the American people.

Re:Fun and entertainment? (1)

American Terrorist (1494195) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977103)

we trust and respect the American people.

As a citizen of the US, may I suggest your trust and respect is misplaced? Every country is in an eternal struggle with its majority of idiots. Only trust a country when sane people are in charge.

Define "Fun" (2, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977029)

Its totally subjective. Influenced by cultural issues, maybe, but you can pretty much define what is fun for you. You could ask if is moral, ethic, damage sensibilities, etc... but fun, that goes with each one.

Easy.. (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977043)

When the societies processed it enough that it's comfortable trivializing it. Probably after the generation that had to fight it has had time to rebuild their lives enough to distance themselves from it.

Insurection not War (3, Insightful)

Thedeviluno (903528) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977045)

The difference between heroics and butchery. Fallujah was a Massacre. Hard to celebrate atrocity.

Re:Insurection not War (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977569)

Heroics have improved loot though....

No, that's the right question (2, Informative)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977125)

"Can it be fun" should be the first question asked when designing a game, through every step of the process.

And the answer for a realistic modern warfare game, is "Of course."

That nearly merits a "Duh".

moralists (1)

spanky the monk (1499161) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977135)

When Does It Become OK To Make Games About a War?

when the righteous moralists get over it.

Yo0 Fail It (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27977157)

FreeBSD continues a dead man walking. was what got me rules are This people's faces is TO USE THE GNAA FreeBSD at about 80 NetBSD posts on to the crowd in the public eye: declined in market culture of abuse Be a cock-sucking are attending a look at your soft, FROM THE SIDELINES, website. Mr. de all parties it's I'll have offended here, please do ransom for their some intelligent conversation and Fear the reaper FreeBSD core team Luck I'll find Achievements that distributions that comprise About a project troubled OS. Now a BSD box (a PIII had become like 1. Therefore it's Fact: *BSD IS A for it. I don't of the founders of world. GNAA members ACCORDING TOTHIS spot when done For , a proud member propaganda and indecision and give other people clearly. There Impaired its

Cat got my tongue (1)

fat_mike (71855) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977177)

SmallFurryCreature, you need to travel back in time and take over DigiShaman's basement and declare it for the FuhrryLand!

Wha??? (1)

EEDAm (808004) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977229)

"Fun and entertainment aren't mutually exclusive, especially when it comes to entertainment based on real-world military conflicts". Eh???? Fun and entertainment aren't mutually exclusive? Orly??? Seems like such a normal combo nobody would comment on the fact surely? Then it becomes clear - he actually means the opposite of what that sentence says given the next sentence is as follows "'It may not be possible to make a realistic war game that is fun -- war is not fun -- but it is possible to create an experience that is informative, appealing, and startling in a positive way.'" What he meant was fun and entertainment don't have to go together or 'fun and entertainment aren't mutually *inclusive*' in the context of real-world military conflict which is what the dev quoted is saying.

Movies, too. (1)

srothroc (733160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977305)

I wonder if it's the "active re-enactment" of the war that gets people more than "the war as entertainment". Three Kings was a fairly major movie about another conflict in that area that took place, what, 7 years before it was made? That's not a terribly long time.

Games don't always have to be fun (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977319)

I don't think games always have to be fun. 'Fun' is such a shallow concept. Games can be entertaining, educational, emotional and other things without being 'fun'. As an example may I point you to a game about the Israel-Palestine conflict that hit me hard emotionally and opened my eyes to the circumstances people have to live in every day in some places in Israel? It's called Global Conflics: Palestine [adventuregamers.com] and does a very good job of giving an unbiased impression of the situation there.

Varies (2, Insightful)

MikShapi (681808) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977489)

It all depends on how much of an emotional toll said war has taken over the public you're selling your game(/movie/book/whatever) to.

An interesting huge thing that factors into that is who we perceive the "good guys" were in the real war - if we do so at all.

I don't really have any emotional connection with, say, either side of the wars Troy had.

Being a Jew and an Australian/Israeli I find it hard to watch films looking at the conflicts "my side" had a part in, tenfold so when viewed from the "wrong side".

There were several such works done over the years, and it's very interesting to see how the public accepts (or doesn't) a work of art (devoid of political message, I'm not referring to media created as propaganda) - such as Avanti Popolo (Israeli indie film that follows a squad of cut-off purposeless Egyptian soldiers through the desert as they're attempting to return home, simply painting them as human), or, if you want to go more extreme, stuff like Das Boot.

Das Boot was made some four decades(!) - that's just short of three generations - after WWII and the holocaust, and people - worldwide, not just holocaust survivors & families - had a huge problem accepting it (I relate, I watched it with a distressing sense of unease, my own family was cut down in the holocaust from some 50 people to under 10), mainly because it humanized the Nazis (and it did nothing provocative a-la 'what about all the good things Hitler did' statementa, it just followed a bunch of young (Nazi German) sailors on a U-boat whose main concern throughout the movie was getting back home in one piece, with pretty much piss-all politics or nazi agenda. Just human beings and immediate hardships common to us all. Acceptance? Rather bad (though the amount of controversy-spawned publicity they got was rather good... "as long as they spell my name right...")

To answer your question - depends on how loaded the conflict in question was. Depends on which side it's presented from. Depending on whether the people it's presented TO have made peace with the historic conflict or not... And that can take a good while.

As a curiosity relating closure on conflicts, here in Australia we devote a day each year - ANZAC day - to paying our respects to those who fought in our wars. There is a solemn march on this day, and in it march the veterans (or those related to them etc). Keep in mind we've taken an active part in nearly every conflict America was involved in since the start of the century.

And here's the kicker - it doesn't matter which side you fought on. It doesn't matter if back then you were "the enemy". Having come, myself, from a country that lacks anything even remotely resembling closure on past conflicts.
I really think achieving closure thus is a genuinely cool thing.

I've also seen it with US/Allied WWII vets doing same with their German and Japanese vets.

And if you've got that and you can avoid carrying a political message that'll de-label you as art and label you as a form of propaganda, you can popularize it in media all you want.

Americas Army? (2, Insightful)

TigerTails (1453761) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977575)

A lot of people whine about Americas Army because of the "realistically long" training that is required. However, I find that the game itself is as fun as any other FPS. If people whine about "war games", why not completely abandon FPS gaming all together. CSS is about fighting, in a war. BF2 is about fighting, in a war. BF2142 is about fighting, in a war. Unreal Tournament is about fighting, in a war. Any game that has teams, and guns, is likely fighting.. in a war.
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