War Games: A Word From Our Soldiers

In this feature, we hand over the soapbox to members of the armed forces, who share their thoughts on the exploration of war in video games.

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War is a controversial topic. Following the community's response to two GameSpot articles discussing the portrayal of war in video games--regenerating health in Medal of Honor: Warfighter and EA's decision to link to real-life weapons manufacturers--GameSpot asked five United States armed forces servicemen to share their perspective on the topic of war in video games.

This is what they had to say.

Nathaniel Dietrick // Combat Medic // US Army

I joined the army right out of high school in 2006. I enlisted as a combat medic and went to the army's licensed vocational nurse school. As a nurse, I have spent some time at major medical installations in San Antonio, Washington DC, and Hawaii. I witnessed the burn units, orthopedic wards (which provided care to the amputees), and ICUs. I was deployed to Iraq from 2009-10, with a Combat Support Hospital (CHS) during my last year in service. I had, by most standards, a pretty tame deployment--a few mortar strikes here and there but nothing terrible. One of the hardest parts for me was witnessing the loss that everyone experiences at some point. Whether it is a close friend, a son, or husband/wife, war eventually impacts everyone who serves.

We played plenty of video games while deployed. It was always too hot in the afternoon to do anything, so a few of us would always crowd around a PS3. God of War and BioShock 2 were definitely our fan favorites while we were there. Military games and first-person shooters, along with sports titles, are very popular for a lot of people I have known within the army. Games like Battlefield and Call of Duty can be heard blaring in any barracks across the US. I think these games are usually far enough from reality that it doesn't bother most soldiers, although I can easily see how it could affect some.

I don't think soldiers play military games for different reasons compared to most people. They are fun and entertaining, and provide engaging competitive opportunities. Some soldiers may have difficulty if they witness something in-game that resembles a real-life event too closely. However, I feel like most soldiers are able to separate themselves from the game and realize there is nothing threatening about the experience. I also think most soldiers are tough to offend. Soldiers tend to be pretty proud of their service and the job they have done, so games that do not truly portray warfare tend to be overlooked by service members.

"Most soldiers can tell you that [military shooters] are nothing like the war that they have experienced. Military life is full of tedium and drudgery that is unfit for an action-packed game. The hard work, the pounding heat…"

I think most developers miss the authenticity mark when it comes to the emotional content of the game. Sure, the guns look real and the vehicles match the real thing, but most games are flashy set pieces that lead players from one explosion to the next. Most soldiers can tell you that this is nothing like the war that they have experienced. Military life is full of tedium and drudgery that is unfit for an action-packed game. The hard work, the pounding heat, the sweat and fatigue is something that games have difficulty conveying. Often the bonds between soldiers and the pain that is felt if they die are overlooked. Many games have even featured allies that will spawn infinitely with randomized names until an objective is taken. One game I thought really nailed the price of war was the Mass Effect series. Many of the choices and events you are presented with really drive home the unavoidable cost that everyone must face. When a character dies you understand the seriousness of the event, and this is something many games fail to portray.

It seems that there is a structural component to first-person shooter games that leads to the trivialization of war. The single-player campaigns and fast-paced action tend to lead to players seeing war as something that can be undertaken casually. I would like to see many of the major installments like Battlefield or Call of Duty take their time and release a game with a serious and thoughtful look at what being a soldier is really about, rather than continue to release the same adrenaline rush rehash. Military games will always be popular, and I hope that the developers making them will continually try to hold themselves to higher standards.

James Marr* // Submariner // US Navy

I've been active duty for two years now, and actually am still in training. In the military we are taught from day one that it doesn't matter whether you're an officer or enlisted man/woman, that attention to detail will save your life or your buddy's life. The inspections we go through in our initial training are ridiculous, but they serve that purpose. For example, we have what is referred to as the "Room, Locker, and Personnel" inspection in the fourth week of training. To prepare for this, the trainees literally spend dozens of hours folding, refolding, ironing, and removing loose strands from every required item to be inspected. It is a two-person job to fold socks the correct way to pass the inspection, as they must be done a certain way and meet a measurement exactly. If you are off by 1/16th of an inch, you're wrong and get no credit for your effort. And this is just a pair of socks, mind you.

What does this have to do with games? When the television show Last Resort first came on, I immediately started using that attention to detail to pick apart things like uniforms not being properly worn, the size of the captain's stateroom, and so on. If the writers of the show had just asked a former submariner, these things could have been easily addressed. But all this being said, I can remove my Navy cap and enjoy the show for what it is: entertainment. I would argue that my feelings about this show are similar enough to how soldiers feel about military shooters. They'll pick apart how wrong certain things are, but at the end of the day, they know it's just a game and can enjoy it as such.

For example, the team at Danger Close must have spent a lot of time trying to get those little details right in Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Your character wears Mechanix brand gloves. The guns feature brand-name manufacturers with little details like canted iron sights in addition to higher-power scopes. All these little things that we in the military instinctively notice from our training are what to me add up to make Medal of Honor the most "authentic" experience out there. The other thing that the game seems to do is tell the human side of service. No other game that I've ever seen goes into how service impacts the home life at all. Warfighter shows the awkward phone calls with the wife because you've drifted apart.

What is the point of a game? Ultimately it is to entertain, and maybe enlighten. But you're certainly not giving people the full experience. It's not possible. You can't convey or accurately make a player feel the intense pride we feel when the flag gets raised up the pole every morning at 0800. You can't really give a player an appreciation for all of the specialized training every person in service gets, no matter what their job is, so that they can excel at that job. You can't really tell a player what it means to us to serve, or make them understand why we do it. This is what most people will probably never get. Our job, ostensibly, is war. We protect our country, no matter the cost. We don't wish for war. We don't want war. But if there is a war, we want to be the ones in it. It's our job.

I don't think military shooters trivialize war. War is really a bunch of people doing what they can to help out the guy next to them. Games like Brothers in Arms and Medal of Honor do great justice to that camaraderie. I think the game would have to denigrate the soldier himself or his sacrifice to trivialize war, and I've never seen a game do that. Even Call of Duty doesn't, and you can play most of those games without knowing your character's name by the time you're done with it. Your character is really a nobody, just a gun on a screen.

*Name has been changed to protect individual's identity.

Jef Palframan // Lieutenant, Canadian Army // Sergeant, US Army

I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008-9. I participated in some engagements and experienced rocket attacks. I have seen the costs of war and our current conflicts. I have had two friends killed in combat and have had the privilege of serving with heroes who have done much more than I. Upon returning to school after the military, I founded a veteran support group at my university that seeks to raise awareness about veterans' issues. I am discovering that there are many challenges (mostly unknown) that soldiers face when returning to civilian life.

I think a lot of military games depict soldiers as mindless killing machines who possess some magical power to regenerate their health and kill hundreds of people. We have enough problems with getting soldiers to recognize the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder that we don’t need some unrealistic expectation of what a soldier can and cannot endure. Also, the last time I checked, my veteran friends and I were not homicidal killers bent on racking up the biggest body count. Most soldiers avoid speaking about engagements where they were forced to take a life. This is not something that needs to be celebrated. War is a disgusting human behavior, if not the most disgusting. As a soldier I accept that it is part of the sacrifice I am willing to make in losing my innocence by taking another human's life. We are willing to do this on our nation's behalf. Anyone who wants to join the military so that they can kill other human beings has no business in uniform.

My main problem with military shooters is that they seem to be less about celebrating the soldier and more about celebrating killing. I have to admit that I used to play these games as well, but I have seen enough to know that they are fantasy. I don't think that the average gamer realizes what they are seeing. They are given an augmented reality that rewards them for killing, not for serving, and they think that that is reality. Being in the infantry is 99 percent boredom and sacrifice and 1 percent what you see in games. And even then what you see in the game is not what it is like at all. I do believe these games trivialize war: they make it something fun and adventurous.

I think the fact that a soldier can use these games as an escape is telling. A soldier can recognize that they are not real, but the gaming public, the industry's target audience, does not. On more than one occasion I have had civilians ask me if war is really like it is in Call of Duty. My typical answer is to tell them that these guns look real, and that place looks like Afghanistan, but that is not what happens in real life. Then there is an awkward moment where I realize that they are not hearing what they want to hear. They want some kind of affirmation about the $65 they just spent.

I have since stopped playing these games. Military service has given me some of the best years of my life, and I would not trade them for anything, but there were some really horrible memories that I would not wish on anyone. It kind of makes me sick when I see promos like the most recent one for Call of Duty: Black Ops II where the promotion line was something like "There is a soldier in all of us," and the last scene in one of the trailers is some dude casually dropping a nuke on a city. If games are going to be culturally relevant, then they will need to start feeding something other than a base inhuman urge to kill.

Steven Beynon // Specialist, Cavalry Scout // National Guard

I have been serving in Afghanistan as a rifleman since November 2011. I've been in several dozen firefights and have seen both my comrades and enemy die. I feel as if I see a reoccurring theme among journalists (both in gaming and mainstream) assuming people will be offended by certain content. But soldiers are probably the hardest group to offend. Every combat veteran I know plays Call of Duty and loves the movie Black Hawk Down.

Yes, war is a big deal. I had some truly traumatic moments during my tour. But in combat, we crack jokes and trivialize the situation. You can't be super serious all the time. You'd have a heart attack. It's how we cope. If I ever really analyzed what I was doing, I would stop moving and probably die.

Let me tell you a story to illustrate.

It was my second day in Afghanistan. My platoon was conducting a dismounted patrol down a known Taliban supply route. Suddenly, I heard the snap of a traveling bullet and saw one of our Afghan Army allies go down. It quickly turned into the loudest firing range I've ever been on. I immediately jumped into a ditch.

"Happy Halloween and welcome to Afghanistan!" said the soldier next to me. While our medic was working on the fallen Afghan soldier, I returned fire with my SAW (machine gun) to allow the safe evacuation of the wounded. It was then that I had the realization that I'm living a cliche. I've spent my whole life watching war movies, playing guns as a kid, and enjoying shooters. That evening, some of us gathered around the television set to play a few rounds of Call of Duty. I thought to myself that this should be f***ing weird. I mean, I just fired real weapons at real people in a real war. But it wasn't. Playing Call of Duty that evening felt as natural as any other play session. Why? Because no game about war can possibly come even close to what it's really like.

"Most blockbuster shooters are so cartoonish it's impossible to take them seriously."

The bulk of shooters are so disconnected from reality. I get really put off anytime someone claims these titles are glorifying war or that they're disrespectful to the troops. I can't speak for the entire armed forces community, but every soldier I know plays these games or respects them from a distance. Most blockbuster shooters are so cartoonish it's impossible to take them seriously, and those that claim to be "military simulators" don't go far enough. We live in a world in which one to three American soldiers are shipped home in boxes every day.

EA bowing to pressure to take the Taliban out of Medal of Honor's multiplayer and Konami walking away from Six Days in Fallujah are examples of publishers cowering from a vocal minority. If a developer wants to make a Call of Duty-style video game based on my experiences, I would be flattered. And while it would be inaccurate, games are supposed to be fun.

'

Discussion

0 comments
marinevetstl
marinevetstl

I am a Combat Marine Corps vet.  I was part of the Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia War Campaigns from 93-97.  I saw a lot of damage to person and property.  Quite frankly as a disabled vet I was the giver and receiver of damage to person and property.  I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD). 

I absolutely detest these Call of Duty and Medal of Honor Games that have been all the rave through the current generation of consoles and now the WiiU.  It was terrible stuff, period.  So I dont understand how game companies can make such beautiful graphic games that do such a great job of mapping and texturizing want to capitalize on pain and suffering of U.S. Military combat and war.  Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Battlefield.  I just do not agree with these franchises.  Yeah it is fantasy but the majority of people playing this types of game have no idea what real military combat is, much less the emotion of it.  The worst part of it is that the preceeding group I speak of believe that those games are a correct depiction of what Military Warfare and service to one's nation is.  I assure you that these games are not.

I am the receiptient of: Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Commendation, Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation, among others.

kryotech
kryotech

Amazing article with some really great insights.

bibliomaniac15
bibliomaniac15

One of the best articles on Gamespot I've read in a long while.

sheikweight
sheikweight

Well done Gamespot. For once the Couch Commandos realize the difference between "Videogame Realism" and "Reality". 

RockToTheLed
RockToTheLed

This is definitely one of the better articles I've read on GameSpot in quite a while. Great work to the editor, and a salute and thanks to all who are currently serving or have served in the past!

holtrocks
holtrocks

Its a game at the end of the day its meant to be fun, real war is not meant to be fun.

hostX9
hostX9

I would like to hear the opinion on war games from those who experienced war as civilians, lost their homes, relatives, friends and went through other traumatic events which are featured in real wars.

 

Like lots of others who live near the Balkans like me or even in the Balkans had a chance to talk with people who experienced war on their own skin in the 90's as civilians (of course there are countless of others who experienced war all over the world to who you can talk to). Those stories are very sad and are worth to think about them, to think about war and everything concerning it.

amdreallyfast
amdreallyfast

"We don't want war.  But if there is a war, we want to be the ones in it.  It's our job.""Anyone who wants to join the military so that they can kill other human beings has no business in uniform."I salute your integrity and thank you for serving.

IllegallyAwesum
IllegallyAwesum

Oh god; he brought up Six Days in Fallujah. As much as I think everyone wanted to see that game happen, it would have rained media hellfire on everything we know and love. The fact is that the passionate "vocal minority" controls the population in its willingness to devolve into peer pressure, and the sensible-but-exhausted majority is just tired of everyone else's crap. Anyways, I thoroughly enjoyed this article; and it was fairly true to reality. There are people on both sides, but the only real offense in Call of Duty or any other military shooter is the manner in which people receive it, as if they were soldiers themselves for playing a game.

ermhm
ermhm

This is super interesting! I especially liked this paragraph by Jeff Palframan: 'It kind of makes me sick when I see promos like the most recent one for Call of Duty: Black Ops II where the promotion line was something like "There is a soldier in all of us," and the last scene in one of the trailers is some dude casually dropping a nuke on a city. If games are going to be culturally relevant, then they will need to start feeding something other than a base inhuman urge to kill.'

capyvaraepg
capyvaraepg

I really think they should try Spec Ops: The Line. As fast paced it may be, the psychological trauma is there, among fires and adrenaline rushes.

theoldfox1891
theoldfox1891

I cant stress this point enough. I dont think anyone really has a problem with Call Of Duty or Battlefield in regards to this issue of realistically portraying warfare, because no one expects it too. This is where the whole "for gods sake its a game" argument has merit. Because it is. Its the equivalent of paintball or airsoft (Walters). No one is trying to ban paintball for being disrespectful to the realism of war are they?( ...are they?)

 

The problem is Medal Of Honor. When people argue "oh for ffs, its just a game" well in this case you have the wrong end of the stick because that is precisely the problem. It is portraying a current, actual war as a game. Marketed on its authenticity. You dont have to be a professor of philosophy and ethics to at the very least think...that is poor taste. Especially so when it is a terrible representation of the war it is trying to portray to the point it trivialises it. Thats not even touching on the controversy of the war itself, including its legality (drone strikes, the deployment in Afghanistan itself) and its unpopularity worldwide not even considering civilian deaths and displacement.

 

I was wrong when I said that if there were just titles like Ghost Recon 1 or Arma we would not be having these articles. No, we would not be having them if it wasnt for the existence of Medal Of Honor. Its that simple.

 

CapZac
CapZac

Well said Jef Palframan.

It's not just the focus on killing, but more often lately it's the style of the kill and/or slo-mo dismemberment as well.

xangpow76
xangpow76

I am also a veteran of the Iraq war and one thing you can never train for is the boredom. Of all the TV, movies and games only the MASH television show showed "war" in its truest form. Long periods of boredum followed by intense action that you hope and pray you will survive. Then back to boredum. There were times when I would actually think "I wish I could go back to work. Wait, what am I saying! I hate my job, but then I hate being bored also." But then no one is going to pay $60 to watch a solider being bored.

Flamerdragon
Flamerdragon

I'd like a game like that. Like in Multiplayer if you die, you dont get respawned. You play again on the next game.

 

That would make players play more careful more tactical. Also, push away those kids, that ruin games.

Maybe make players better players overall, team communication and cooperation.

If you get hit, a medic will be actually needed.

 

It might not appeal to everyone but, it would be great.

ZakMcKracken
ZakMcKracken

That's why I play Hearts of Iron. Wars are more about logistics than a dude and his rifle.

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

A question to all users who served in the US military:What are your views on the article regarding MOH you know "Warfighter's dirty secrets fuels the flames  of hatred" by McShea?Do you think that people from arab states are being depicted in a stereotypical manner?

suplax
suplax

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I'll have to admit that even if i knew war was not exactly the way we see in video games (obviously ) , i didn't expect to read this from people at military service.

I mean , everything those officers are telling is OBVIOUSLY true , and at some point in my life i knew this , but i guess from playing to much FPS games the REAL military service knowledge drifted away unconsciously from my mind , leaving me with a fake feeling that playing the most modern FPS War games was the closest thing that could be simulated from a true warlike battlefield....

Kudos for Laura Parker and GameSpot for re-opening my mind.

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Shika_Stoner
Shika_Stoner

Bottom line is that if you want to experience "realistic" and "authentic" war then you have to put down the controller/keyboard and mouse and pay a visit to your local recruiter's office. And if you pass the physical and educational requirements (A high school diploma is required to even enlist and some form of higher education is mandatory for commissioned officers) and then you're off to basic.

 

People need to get rid of the stereotype that the military is full of dumb people and that it is willing to take any loser that walks in off the streets. This isn't Vietnam and there isn't a draft anymore. It's all volunteer and you have to have an education and a clean record to even get in, let alone make any progress.  And the minimum requirements are getting higher every couple of years.

 

But anyways, my point is that no matter what the publishers try to tell you about how "realistic" a war game or any other game is. It will still always be a video game and nothing more. Most people with functioning brains can tell the difference between fiction and reality. But apparently some can't. And have to be reminded with articles like this.

LtJef
LtJef

 @theoldfox1891 I think you hit the nail right on the head.  My whole problem is this marketing line that EA was pushing, and I am glad McShea called them out for it.  They are selling the 'idea' of warfare for commercial profit.  And this whole debate shows that 'Art does and can color perception' (especially politically).  I like that games are now having this kind of cultural-relevance but now we have to ask the question 'what is worthwhile and ethical to say'?

TheLamaKnows
TheLamaKnows

 @theoldfox1891 Excellent points. I believe it extends beyond games in ways I never considered until I was a veteran myself. I never considered that war movies, no matter how glossy and tame, were just bad memories for people that actually fought in them. Did WWII vets enjoy movies the way I did growing up?

I have never seen, nor will ever see, Blackhawk Down. I personally knew everyone involved in that op, and I have no desire to watch my friends die in a hollywood spectacular. Oh call it a homage or whatever makes you sleep better- its cashing in on the deaths of my friends and I'm not watching them die again to make some actors rich. Only in America do we 'honor' the dead by paying actors millions to pretend to be someone heroic. This never occurred to me before I served in the military.

But as I said- it's just as much fantasy for most gamers as Skyrim, so in that sense pretending to be a soldier in a miserable 3rd world country is the same as me pretending to be a Boston Bruin in the NHL games. I don't make a judgement call on the players, but the devs see dollars and chase them where ever they lead- poor taste be damned.

TheLamaKnows
TheLamaKnows

 @Flamerdragon Eve Online, my friend. The only place I know of in gaming with both non-consensual PvP as well as consequence for death. It's the only multiplayer I think is worth doing. It's exactly that lack of battleground type of artificial combat, and real consequence for losing, that drew me to Eve. I haven't regretted leaving free respawns with all your gear intact, far behind.

Ortego13
Ortego13

 @Flamerdragon Actually, there is such game, if I caught your idea. It is counter strike, if you die in the first round you have to wait until the second.

Recon19D3
Recon19D3

 @ZakMcKracken That depends on what your job is.  My wife asked me once about my service time and what was the point to what I did.  One thing I told her the point was to war wasn't about shooting that guy over there, but making sure the guy next to made it back home.  To those who go out and engage in combat, war is only about a dude and his rifle.

picho86
picho86

 @Shika_Stoner Actually... There are a lot of gang members in the army. The standards have dropped lately, and there are a lot of instances where people use the military to gain skills that will help their gang. There are also soldiers who are openly Neo-Nazis. 

JimmyTheHatMan
JimmyTheHatMan

 @Shika_Stoner It depends on your definition of the word "dumb"  Anyone who can understand that wearing a costume and calling it war doesn't magically turn it into anything other than murder, yet chooses to join the military anyway is indeed dumb.  Unfortunately many in the military fail to understand this.  In that regard they are dumb.  In the respect to how well they do their jobs on the other hand, I would say the military doesn't have very many dumb people, as they are quite successful.

TheLamaKnows
TheLamaKnows

 @LtJef  @theoldfox1891 I just loathe sacred cows. If we decide that touching on any given topic- war, same sex relationships, etc- carries with it a responsibility to then treat it in a pre-determined manner to 'do it justice', we're going to cripple expression. It'd be nice if every writer, dev, or director could make a profound statement on a given topic whenever it's brought up, but expecting or demanding it is just unrealistic.

In fact, that is where I prefer to draw the line when using the term 'art'. I think Mass Effect raised itself to the level of art with incredibly complex and emotional storytelling and decision making. I think CoD is not art. But that is totally subjective and just my opinion.

I certainly don't think gamers should feel guilty for enjoying a watered down version of war. It's not the job of media to provide context to it's products, however nice it may be when they do. I have slaughtered countless innocents in the Total War series over the years, so I don't cast stones at FPS players for bloodthirst. The level of realism in the game is just a matter of semantics.

 

 

theoldfox1891
theoldfox1891

 @LtJef

Couldnt agree more. The point you make about Art is interesting because without question on the whole the Arts it is very left leaning, and in regards to the subject of war - anti-war. Whether it is the format of poetry, film, literature or photography.

                         But the gaming (or virtual interactivity medium) art form is very shallow in comparison. Not because it doesnt conform with my political/ethical/moral alignments because gaming really doesnt have anything to say about anything at all. On the whole its just void. When they do try and explore something they get far too much credit because they are compared to the standards of gaming and not the other art forms. It really is an oddity and so is the sub culture of gaming itself in society.

 

EA sure didnt have anything to say and didnt even consider the ethics of making MOH, but whats really weird is they didnt even need to. Its just so strange. You would not have mainstream action film about an elite squad of men killing thousands of Taliban thereby winning the war on terror directed by the Cohen Brothers in todays climate. That would be disgraceful. But those are the leading plotlines in a multimillion pound gaming industry leading AAA Title. Its crazy. How is this possible? Its quite fascinating really.

 

theoldfox1891
theoldfox1891

 @TheLamaKnows

Firstly let me say that really sucks, sorry... and that you have it right not watching that movie. In your situation I would assume it would make your blood boil if you did. It belittles those men to clichés. It makes me sick but I couldnt imagine how you would feel.

 

You have a healthy and balanced perspective. I would agree with you 100% if my misanthropy didnt get in the way. I blame the players as well.

 

EnzoF66057
EnzoF66057

 @MajorasMask00  @Flamerdragon Not only CS. Do you know what America's Army is? Or how about the old SOCOM games...some of the best online shooters to ever hit the consoles.

 

Tactical gameplay used to be a thing, when every shot that hit you actually mattered and every shot you took had to count.

CallMeDuraSouka
CallMeDuraSouka

 @Recon19D3  @ZakMcKracken

 First Seargent had the Ranger Tab, Special forces, the works, first thing he said was, we aren't going to fight for a country, a flag, a political cause,  were fighting to keep each other okay.

Ortego13
Ortego13

 @Recon19D3  @ZakMcKracken I agree. For those who participated in military conflicts it is not only duty but also responsibility for the others! You watch their back - they watch yours.

ZakMcKracken
ZakMcKracken

 @Recon19D3 Very true. It's actually a bit of a sad thing that it isn't only about a dude and his rifle. If it was, there would be a lot less war I would think.

TheLamaKnows
TheLamaKnows

 @theoldfox1891  @LtJef I don't know enough about MoH to comment. I barely played CoD. Marketing though, is always pandering by it's nature. I frankly found the US Army commercials terrible, where young people had to convince parents it was okay to join. I remember a time when parents were proud of that decision and didn't need to be sold on it. So TBH, I don't think a game could do worse than the US Army did with it's own self-portrait.

The problem with sacred cows is that everyone has them. I would rather forego my own sacred cow, because I unabashedly violate others. That is just a matter of not being hypocritical on my part. For example I'm not religious, and have no issues with stomping on that sacred cow- I don't think it'd be right for me to claim the military warrants special treatment just because I was in it.

I'd love it if devs, movie directors, and all media would make thought provoking statements on the topics they use in plot lines. It would be great if players took away from entertainment a deeper understanding of something, maybe consider something they hadn't before. But that's not really just entertainment any longer. I'm okay with people just killing some time with a brainless distraction and not having to read any deeper into it.

By far the majority of comments on this topic have been quite good. I would point to the generally high level of conversation being generated as strong evidence that gamers do indeed 'get it' when it comes to these issues. Some better than others, and some flatly disagree with others. But for this topic to be taken so seriously, shatters the stereotype of gamers as children and socially inept adults.

theoldfox1891
theoldfox1891

 @TheLamaKnows  @LtJef  @theoldfox1891

No COD is not art. As I mentioned in the first post of this discussion, it doesnt need to be. Within the context of this article (realism of war in games) and conversation there is no problem with it or the Battlefield series, or any other FPS for that matter apart from Medal Of Honor.

 

Yes I do have a sacred cow, I dont think you should turn the war in Afghanistan into Call of Duty and market it on its authenticity. By having that as a red line you are not crippling expression but elevating it. Its stupid and morally abhorrent to blur the two.

 

Again I dont want gamers to feel guilty about playing Medal Of Honor I would just like a bit of thought process by them about what they are actually playing. That just doesnt seem to exist; they jump on the whole "oh your trying to guilt trip me its just a game" train, or say "you are being pretentious and elitist and this conversation has no business on a gaming website". I would rather they just answered honestly rather than getting so defensive and say "yes I see those points. But I dont care." If that is the case so be it. 

 

theoldfox1891
theoldfox1891

 @TheLamaKnows

 In addition as a comparrison. I grew up watching the likes of Saving Private Ryan (came out when I was 7) and Band of Brothers (10).

theoldfox1891
theoldfox1891

 @TheLamaKnows  @theoldfox1891

I would say peoples perceptions of war have changed due to growing up in post-Vietnam war media/film. But still I cant help but think that most people just dont care. They equate military strength with national greatness and to be honest really coudnt care less until it effects them, which in all likelihood it wont. Other than gas prices. Afghanistan, the Middle East its miles away, they are completely disconnected from it and don’t know a great deal about the military or the regional politics.

 

I think those are interesting questions you raise, maybe its therapeutic for people to see the pink mist in games, which thereby reduces stress and violent tendencies or maybe exacerbates their desire to re-enact it. It is probably down to an individuals psychological profile. But still is interesting. How it effects some-ones perceptions of war, I just dont know. I would assume it would reinforce certain aspects subconsciously but you would have to ask a psychologist…but opinions in that field differ greatly.

 

I will concede that blaming the players as well as the developer is pretentious, but as despicable as EA were by making Medal Of Honor they were accommodating for a market. Medal Of Honor would not have been made if the consumer didnt want it to be made. So I blame the consumer too.

 

Thank you for your responses.

 

TheLamaKnows
TheLamaKnows

 @theoldfox1891 I've been as guilty as anyone else tho. Just never gave it a thought until it affected me. But I look back now at the way I viewed war and sacrifice growing up with the watered down John Wayne style of war.

It's actually a conflicting emotion. The unrelenting chaos and gore in games like CoD can be taken as positive- shooting people isn't nearly as clean as John Wayne had us believe. Maybe a generation that has seen graphic depictions of death will be much less enthralled with the real thing. The Duke sold a generation of Americans on no blood and long death speeches. What really minimizes sacrifice more when you look at it?

A fair argument can be made either way, and I don't think gamers should worry about what 'statement' they make with their choice of games.

picho86
picho86

 @Shika_Stoner I guess that the problem lies in that gang members with no record are not really criminals as far as the law is concerned, or that minor crimes are forgiven for active criminals sometimes. 

Anyway... I wasn't trying to pick up a fight. I am sure that the vast majority are really great guys (and gals).

picho86
picho86

 @Shika_Stoner The link doesn't work. Maybe because I'm not an american. What I wrote is based on a TV program in discovery featuring highly ranked officers in charge of personnel. I'm sure that the vast majority are much better, but the point is that you CAN be a bottom feeder and still enlist somehow.