On some random GameSpot browsing, I came across this video in the commercials area of the videos section. For those of you not bothered to click on that link i just spent the past 15 seconds creating and then explaining, it is the first trailer for "America's Army: True Soldiers" the upcoming Xbox360 game from Red Storm Entertainment.
Bit of a back-story to explain my situation here, globally. I live in Ireland. The "Irish Gamer" thing at the top there, doesn't mean im some dude from Boston with an Irish great-great-grandaunt. Im actually Irish, in Ireland now, breathing Irish air *inhales*....ahhhh...
So yea, im not ignorant to the fact that there has been one of these US Army funded games out on the PC for a number of years. I remember being shocked then too, but i just saw this add, and it really hit home how absolutely wrong this form of recruitment is.
Im not going to get into the whole Iraq/Foreign Policy/The rest of the world hates your Government thing. It upsets people, and understandably so. I understand that some of you on this site have probably lost friends and family over this whole horrible episode, so I'll concentrate on what disgusts me about this trailer.
Throughout this trailer, phrases including "Teamwork" and "Tactical Gameplay" transition onto the screen in Hollywood Blockbuster type fashion. Now, i know it would be asking much to assume that "Death" and "Suicide Bombers" to appear in the trailer, but to even mention phrases like this, in a game that is so directly related to the turmoil overseas, is just horrible (maybe not in gameplay, but u can't deny the link). Talk about trivializing the deaths of thousands!
But it's the next word that appears that really gets to me.
Not because its spelled in the America English way (although it did throw me off! - we spell it "Honour" over here), but because its selling "honor" as a reason to fight. A reason to play this game. Honor...What?! I can say that many people im sure, have done many honorable things in that war, and many other before them in others. But honor is something you achieve, not something you can strive towards, something you can buy.
Still reading? Take a look at this video next so. It's the first trailer for Haze on the Playstation 3. It's a sort of propaganda reel featuring images such as men giving supplies to civilians in a desert, with burning oil wells littering the backdrop. Another piece shows a man using a chopper mounted chain gun to shoot out at fields. The soldier in question laughing ala' Full Metal Jacket. These images of war sound familiar? This is a trailer for a fictional game. It gets away with it, because it's a parody. It's not real. We gamers can distinguish between what is obvious parody, and what is distasteful, which leads us to criticize the media and our parents when it comes to video game violence. Quite simply, we know better. When watching the America's Army trailer, i think i finally know how parents feel when they see a GTA trailer; disgusted.
I mean cmon, how is it the collective morality of the media can give out about GTA, and leave this stuff pass by?
The similarities deepen. In the America's army trailer, the phrase "Official US Army Weapons" pops up. In the trailer for Haze, the presenter says to the camera; "Mantle core will give you the finest weapons ever made!" Both are selling their services to prospective customers.
One is for a fictional role in a fictional war that will last maybe 15 hours and will cost you $50.
The other is for a real role in a real war that will last years, and could cost you your life.
Does anyone else see the distaste in this?
- Danny O'Dwyer