Stop that game! (2)

There are many grounds for which people object to certain kinds of video games. Another in the list concerns wargames that are made about modern conflicts, either comparatively recent ones, or actually ongoing military actions.

Games about ongoing military actions are somewhat rare. There aren’t really that many major actions, and creating a game can take a good deal longer than settling a conflict by force (though there are unfortunate exceptions).

Whether it is about a recent action or an ongoing one, though, a common complaint from assorted pressure groups is that such military simulations cheapen or trivialize “the plight of soldiers.” Worse, that in their multiplayer incarnations, the games allow players to play the opposing forces, such as the Taliban.

Of course, without an opposing force, multi-player would be a bit weak. Spawn in 50 US marines, who then stand around uncomfortably for a few minutes with nothing to do before someone says “Screw this. Let’s go play World of Warcraft.”

A much better question is, what do military servicepeople actually think about these games? Do the people who have been a part of actual warfare think these games are in bad-taste? That the games trivialise or cheapen the plight of soldiers?

Joseph Jackmovich has an interview on just that subject with nine members of the US Armed Forces. If you’ve wondered about the answer to these questions, it is well worth your time.



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