This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for while. It is something that really bothers me but seems very acceptable in the current cultural climate.
Let me being by saying I’ve been a gamer every since I was a child on the Atari 2600 running through the jungle in Pitfall. Let’s run through a very quick list of my favorite games since the early 1980s.
From there I advanced to Sega Master System with my favorite game being Phantasy Star.
After the Master System I bought the Genesis and again, my favorite game was Phastasy Star (II).
After the Genesis I switched completely from consoles to computer games with my favorite being Warcraft I.
As games became better they also became more violent. I played numerous games but perhaps my favorite was Grand Theft Auto Vice City.
Now, we have advanced and games are reflecting reality at a greater pace. Most recently the game which is generating all they hype is Call of Duty: Black Ops and with this one I have a pretty big problem.
On the surface it seems like a VERY COOL GAME! This is something I would have really liked to play as a teenager. The problem is I have lived in various countries and seen the effect of war.
So, when I see a game like this, if I had no international experience I would think it to be very cool. Yet, with international experience it disgusts me.
This game takes place during the Cold War in various “hot spots” in order to contain Communism. The problem is gaming has become to close to reality and reality is very messy. I have a serious problem with my young countrymen playing a game in which they kill citizens of other very real countries and the impression that it is a “cool” thing to do.
I am not against war games or even very violent games. My main issue is this.
In a very violent game based on a real war how do the citizens of the opposing countries feel? What would we think if we went to Russia or Vietnam and found a game where you get to kill American soliders? I imagine it would bother us very much. Yet it now seems perfectly acceptable as long as it is American soldiers doing the killing.
My experience pertains mostly to Vietnam and I have seen with my own eyes the very real horror which took place there and continues to this day due to the destruction which war creates. I have spoken with veterans of both sides and can see in their eyes the pain it caused.
In Vietnam I met a few American veterans who were engaged in honorable acts such as building schools and it seemed to me they were seeking to rectify the pain and guilt they find from what occurred there. Now that I am in the USA I have met some which it is best to avoid the subject completely. One encounter stands out among the others about how I told him I loved the country immensely. He looked at me with horror and said “Yea, they are real nice when the kids attach grenades to the backsides of soldiers who are then blown to bits.
Others take it in stride and tell me very calmly “Yea, well I was there during a different time.”
I have also drunk beer with former North Vietnamese soldiers who are quite interested to speak with me and see how the younger Americans perceive their country.
As I was not alive at the time of the war I really cannot understand all the pain both sides went through. What I do know is that Vietnam is a country that prefers to forgive and forget. When I was in country, the only reminder I could see is when the Government set up a memorial right in front of the American Embassy in Saigon complete with soldiers to guard it as well as the “War Crimes Museum.” This really caused a stir with the Americans.
Yet, what I have a very hard time fathoming is that in the USA, due to our capitalist mentality we have the audacity to create a video game in which you can play an American solider and kill Vietnamese and Russian citizens.
My question is how do you think the Vietnamese and Russians might feel about this?
The fact is, this is a question that never even crossed their mind. The young simply hear the fashionable music and get excited by the abilities of the game. They have no clue of the pain and horror that actually occurred there. They also have no idea that half of America was against the war. What happened to the peace rallies of the John Lennon era?
What happened to love and peace? Apparently, the ability to create a game where you kill other countries citizens is enough to make money thus reason enough to create and market. Why is it we are so easy to forget the pain that was caused and how can we create such a game?
I asked a good friend of mine about this game “Black Ops.” I reminded him that the war in Vietnam was lost and therefore would it be possible to play a North Vietnamese solider and kill the American soldiers? I knew this would be a very provocative question and he seemed a bit shocked that I even asked.
It is just a game right? Usually you get to play both sides. But I’m willing to bet my entire existence that if the option to play the North Vietnamese were allowed there would be a complete sh*t-storm which would probably go right up to the government.
The last time a game caused such a stir was in GTA – San Andreas and the government had something to say about a patch called “Hot Coffee” which allowed for sex acts in game. So let me get this straight, the graphic killing of other countries soldiers/citizens is ok but porn is not?
I also have reservations to even post such a question on the blog as it will be highly unpopular. Yet, I cannot contain the sadness I feel when I hear the “fashionable music” being played and this game being portrayed as the best game of the year.
What people forget is that both sides of any conflict have families they love just as much as any other family. Terrible things happen and loved ones are killed. It absolutely disgusts me that my own countrymen can view this as entertainment. When will we learn to start loving one another as all the major religions tell us to instead of creating entertainment where we kill each other?
Perhaps I am an idealist. Perhaps I am one of the few to really abhor war and have the balls to call it out when I see it happening as entertainment.
In this game I wonder if they have the balls to show the crying family of the slain solider from Indiana who just wanted to serve his country? I wonder if this game has the balls to show the complete slaughter of an entire peasant village?
I would guess not. I would suppose they will just throw in another track by Eminem and glorify how “cool” it is to kill people.
You must excuse me for my passion on this article, I just cannot abide by such reckless profiteering on such an awful events in human history. This gives me very little faith in humanity and to me, it feels like huge steps back in terms of learning to love and get along with each other.
So, no, I will not be playing “Black Ops,” but instead will stick to my game of Elves, Mages, Orcs and Warriors which also just happens to be the most popular MMORPG in the world. Of course I am talking about World of Warcraft.
Again, please excuse me for my passion on this article. With games that show the killing of other countries citizens, this Dude does not abide.
STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
– An eye for an eye will make us all blind – Mohandas Gandhi