- Jan 12, 2009
I thought Assassin's Creed and the Metal Gear Solid series already taught us this, or maybe that's just me.
I think you missed the point I took from the game. People find there own meaning in art. It's not about trying to see things from an Al Qieda perspective.m_jim said:Getting back to the game, Bilal is doing his people no favor. American soldiers don't want to kill civilians. They try not to do it. It is very sad that his brother was killed, but putting forth a piece of art that seems to glorify slaughtering American soldiers, who are fighting and dying to protect Iraqi civilians, sends a bad message. It reinforces the stereotype of Middle Easterners as blood-thirsty savages.
I would say yes, it is offensive, but I would also say that the first is nothing more than disgustingly crass Gulf War-era propaganda. I find them both detestable, appealing to the lowest common denominator of humanity, but I find the second moreso because it involves the killing of my countrymen, just as I'm sure an Iraqi would think less of the first game.Chipperz said:Once again, that's my point, take the following two game storyines;
Quest for Saddam - An American's brother is killed in Iraq in a checkpoint bombing. The young US patriot, incensed at the death of a beloved sibling, joins the army and excels himself, being given command of a small unit of troops. Over the course of his first tour in Iraq, they kill hundreds (thousands? depends on the difficulty) of Iraqi troops and eventually confronts and kills Saddam Hussein in his palace.
Hunt for Bush (the version that isn't porn) - An Iraqi's brother is killed in Iraq when a US missile hits a house. The young Iraqi patriot, incensed at the death of his beloved sibling, joins Al Qaeda and excels himself, being given command of a small unit of freedom fighters. Over the course of a few months in Iraq, they kill hundreds/thousands of US troops and eventually confronts and kills President Bush while he's visiting the troops.
The games have virtually the same storyline, probably take place in the same locations... Hell, they're exactly the same game, just with the skins switched. In the games, neither side kills civilians, which is apparently important for the second one when you can mow down hundreds of the things in games like GTA and Saint's Row.
Are you really going to tell me that the second story is offensive?
Maybe I didn't explain my feelings well. I have several Middle Eastern/Muslim friends. They have all told me that after 9/11, they have had to fight an uphill battle against being associated with extremists who wish only to kill Americans. These are fine, upstanding, level-headed people who are probably a good representation of most people from that part of the world. When this game designer, Bilal, came bearing a grudge for the death of his brother and made a game about killing American servicemen, that hurt the perception of Middle Eastern/Muslim people in the eyes of Americans.bjj hero said:You will have played hundreds of FPSs shooting Japs, Germans, miscelaneous Arab people. Probably didn't give it a second thought as they are the bad guys and its just a game. In this game the American troops are still "just the bad guys" and it is only a game but now you feel uncomfortable because you can relate to the model you are shooting at.
Its no longer "just a bad guy", you know its an american serviceman, earning a wage, probably doing what he feels is best, patriotic, has friends, his buddies care about him, wife and child at home etc.
Every German or Japanese soldier you ever shot in COD/MoH/etc. could fit the above description. Its a small minority who will go off to die for no reason, particularly against a better equiped, better trained, more numerous force. You may do it from incorrect information but you won't decide lightly. As it is you (Im not pointing fingers) are desensitised by the number of nazis/Japs/Iraqis you've shot, seen shot in the movies, heard news reports about etc.
At the end of the day its a game, if the controls are tight, the AI is good, the physics works and its "immersive" I'll play. I don't care who my imaginary gun is pointed at. No one dies when I shoot a nazi/alien/puppy/priest/allied serviceman/child in game. Its fantasy.
My father is Iranian, I have an Iranian name and a middle eastern complexion. I do understand what its like. I don't think the actions of this one man are going to swing a nation. There are those who have bought into all of the propaganda, media hype and fox news hysteria and do think that everyone of muslim/middle eastern descent is out to slaughter them and their children.m_jim said:Maybe I didn't explain my feelings well. I have several Middle Eastern/Muslim friends. They have all told me that after 9/11, they have had to fight an uphill battle against being associated with extremists who wish only to kill Americans. These are fine, upstanding, level-headed people who are probably a good representation of most people from that part of the world. When this game designer, Bilal, came bearing a grudge for the death of his brother and made a game about killing American servicemen, that hurt the perception of Middle Eastern/Muslim people in the eyes of Americans.
As for being desensitized against game violence, I have to say that I put down Killzone after feeling very uncomfortable playing as the ISA. As Wargamer pointed out earlier, they are unquestioningly the aggressors. They invade another planet and proceed to slaughter the local population. At least with Call of Duty games, the argument could be made that you were fighting a war of self-defense and self-preservation against a more unambiguously evil aggressor.
m_jim said:I would say yes, it is offensive, but I would also say that the first is nothing more than disgustingly crass Gulf War-era propaganda. I find them both detestable, appealing to the lowest common denominator of humanity, but I find the second moreso because it involves the killing of my countrymen*, just as I'm sure an Iraqi would think less of the first game.
*highlighted for effect*
Discarding any connection to Iraq / Afghanistan for a moment: so you believe the good guys should wait until they already have a mouthful of broken teeth before they actually consider doing anything?Wargamer said:The Good Guys aren't the aggressors, and they don't believe in pre-emptive strikes.
Well, yes - good guys do not, as a rule, kill people because they MIGHT do something wrong. They have to, you know, do something wrong first.Evil Tim said:Discarding any connection to Iraq / Afghanistan for a moment: so you believe the good guys should wait until they already have a mouthful of broken teeth before they actually consider doing anything?Wargamer said:The Good Guys aren't the aggressors, and they don't believe in pre-emptive strikes.
I'm very glad people with more practical morals than you are in charge of the world. If someone's following them with a knife, good guys don't wait to have their throat cut before they actually consider doing something.Wargamer said:Well, yes - good guys do not, as a rule, kill people because they MIGHT do something wrong. They have to, you know, do something wrong first.
Actually, they do.Evil Tim said:I'm very glad people with more practical morals than you are in charge of the world. If someone's following them with a knife, good guys don't wait to have their throat cut before they actually consider doing something.Wargamer said:Well, yes - good guys do not, as a rule, kill people because they MIGHT do something wrong. They have to, you know, do something wrong first.
Hypocritical of the Yanks, who as always were busy playing World Police, and didn't like the idea of anyone else being bigger or better than they were.I also find it more than a little amusing that you consider Imperial Japan a worthy choice under this system of morality, since they are famous for launching a massive preemptive strike on an American port in a war over oil, since the Americans had just cut off their supply due to Japan's empire-building in Asia. Hypocritical much?
Thanks for that extra analysis; it was nice to know I wasn't totally off the markkatiegreen said:Hi everybody, this is Kate. I've been really impressed with everyone's comments on my article, and it brought up some things I learned while researching this article. I've put up some of these thoughts at Pixelsocks.com [http://www.pixelsocks.com/2009/08/19/making-peace-with-a-violent-video-game/]. I hope you enjoy them!
Yep..I mean we had the AUDACITY to help out the british defeat the Germans during WW1 and WW2 that..well there was the "police action" in Korea after that.Then Vietnam. That was fun.Wargamer said:I think I have become jaded by war... I am certainly spotting a certain trend in my gaming.
RED ALERT 3 - I loved playing the Soviets (who get to conquer all of Europe and then America). I liked playing as the Allies only because A) I was clearly a British officer defending my homeland against a vastly more powerful aggressor, and B) I get to kill the dumbass Yanks who'd rather get themselves and all of Europe wiped out than ask a "Commie" for help.
BATTLEFIELD 1943 - I am not happy if I'm not Japanese. Both sides have the same gear, same vehicles, same everything. Differences are purely cosmetic. I still don't like playing as the Americans.
KILLZONE 2 - The ISA are the bad guys as far as I'm concerned. You can claim the Helghast are nazis led by a Hitler wannabie, or a bunch of evil murderous terrorists, but in Killzone 2 they are DEFENDING THEIR HOMEWORLD against an aggressor who is suspiciously quick to tout the words we've all heard before... words like "Weapons of Mass Destruction". Words like "Evil Dictator [Visari]", words like "we fight for truth and justice." Christ, you might as well have Colonel Templar handing out apple pie.
The point is, Americans are ALWAYS the bad guy in my eyes. Always. Even in Battlefield, where I know full well the motives of both sides, I cannot sympathise with them. I'd rather play as the Nazis than the Americans.
The only reason I can think of is this; it is not because I am somehow 'racist' against the Americans, it's because I am so disgusted at how they behave in reality. I grew up believing our World War Veterans were heroes because they were fighting to PROTECT us. America is not 'Protecting' anything but the oil industry by invading the middle east. Political propaganda, spread through videogames, is very eager to teach us all that America is the shining light of honesty and virtue, and would never, EVER harm anyone unless they absolutely deserved it.
I'd hope everyone reading this is skeptical enough to believe, as I do, that this is a truly rediculous concept. It is only in games such as Resistance 2 - a game where around 80% of America's population is either dead, or has suffered a fate far worse than death, can I finally sympathise enough to one to play as them. I always play the Good Guys. The Good Guys aren't the aggressors, and they don't believe in pre-emptive strikes.
There was no mention of that when you were arming them against the Russians. Didn't care how they treated the women, as long as they didn't go commie. Check Rambo 3 where they're the fucking good guys.akmarksman said:Oh and Americans wanted to help out in Mogadishu..because the Muslims were SO GREAT at distributing food to the hundreds of thousands malnourished and dying right? Of course Pres.Clinton was too busy to notice the Taliban who were mad because..well Americans are just infidels right? We allow our women to dress how they want to..and we have Christians here too...
Except with Iraq... You were quite brutal with Cuba as well, the CIA would still be openly making assassination attempts today if they'd been more successful with Fidel. I could go on.akmarksman said:We only attack AFTER we are provoked. Case in point..the Lend-Lease weapons that the United States supplied to the british during WW2.
I've said in an earlier post. Iran was moving towards this until the Americans and the Brits arranged for a democratically ellected, popular government to be replaced with a dictatorship who crushed opposition. Why? Because he wanted to nationalise the Iranian oil company and charge a reasonable amount for oil instead of practically giving it to the west.akmarksman said:We went after Saddam(and killed him and his sons) and we have this crazy notion called Democracy and Freedom.. Iran has democracy,but they don't have freedom. You can go anywhere in the USA and say "I don't like Obama"..you can do the same in Iran..walk around saying "I dont like Obama"
All the regulators agree that the election is corrupt rife with intimidation, threats and forgery. Most of the women cant vote as they need to be escorted by a male family member who gave permission and there is a shortage of female poling staff. Half the "politicians" are warlords, selling heroin and guilty of war crimes. Then look at the legislation they are passing: Its ok to starve your wife if she refuses sex. Do you think if the women had any power this would go through without challenge?akmarksman said:Look at Afghanistan. Sure it's a messed up country what with the great work the Muslim religion has done..but they had their 2nd election...and the polling places stayed open another hour despite the fact that armed militants could storm the area and kill everyone and burn the boxes that the votes were placed in.
Religion, no. But America does have a habit of pushing in and forcing, or trying to force, democracy and capitalism on other countries. Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq; Vietnam was about fighting Communism, ideology vs ideology.akmarksman said:The ones you refer to as "The Good Guys" are not. America does not impose it's religion on anyone. Blame Christianity/Catholicism/Islam/*your religion of choice here*..It was around LONG before there was a United States of America.
The way he presents the situation, you'd think Al-Qaeda is somehow not part of the reason why Iraq is in the state it's in. Al-Qaeda, and all similiar groups and factions, are the cause of Iraq's instability and violence. They don't even recognize a concept like collateral damage. Furthermore, while there are no doubt people who join terrorist groups because of revenge, most are just waging religious war against infidels (in this case the US & co).Escapist said:Consider the case of The Night of Bush Capturing: A Virtual Jihadi, a game mod created by Iraqi-born American artist Wafaa Bilal to emphasize the plight of Iraqi civilians during the American invasion and occupation. The player's avatar is Bilal himself. In the game, as in real life, Bilal's brother, an Iraqi civilian, becomes "collateral damage" in an American airstrike. Departing from reality, virtual Bilal is so overcome by grief that he joins Al-Qaeda, trains as a suicide bomber and works his way past American forces to kill President Bush.
Promoting the Army as a career is not "brainwashing." I also fail to see how America's Army is "fostering and teaching hatred." He says it's equal to Night of Bush Capturing, but does not explain why. So his comparison is meaningless.Escapist said:Irrespective of any possible connection between videogame and real life violence, Bilal is concerned that videogames teach us something more insidious: hatred. "[V]ideo games are one of the technologies being used to foster and teach hate. I am especially concerned by the ones created by the US military, which are intended to brainwash and influence young minds ... the U.S. Army's own free on-line game is equal to the Night of Bush Capturing in its propaganda motives."
Presidents have a long history of dying in movies, which have also questioned various governments to no end, and there are surely a lot of movies that a lot of people disagree with. There is no compelling reason to treat video games any differently than movies.Escapist said:Can we deal with games that feature the assassination of a sitting president, however unpopular? Can we deal with games that ask us to question the government, or even other games? Can we deal with games with which we disagree?
You say that as if Islamic terrorists have a moral leg to stand on, and are therefore comparable to US Marines. They're not. As a rule, the US military is morally in the right (in Iraq). The terrorists have no redeeming qualities.Chipperz said:Made by a Western Developer, about stereotypical US marines killing stereotypical Iraqi "terrorists" = fine.
Made by a Western Developer, changed by Middle Eastern group, about stereotypical Iraqi "terrorists" killing stereotypical US marines = wrong.
Made by a Western Developer, changed by Middle Eastern group, rewritten by a Middle Eastern artist, about developed Iraqi "terrorists" killing stereotypical US marines = offensive.
No, I really don't think anyone is going to think that generic terrorists in Military Shooter VII represent all foreigners everywhere, or even that they represent all the people in that particular country.ReverseEngineered said:This is where the problem lies. By generalizing the concept down to "us" and "them", games encourage this type of thinking about foreign entities. Without developing the nuances of the other side, we're unable to distinguish the difference between "foreign" and "bad guy" -- under this generalization, they are one and the same.
Really? I don't recall Call of Duty 4 even having any civilians, except in at least one pre-scripted spot where you can save one. I also don't recall CoD 4 making no distinction between civilians and hostiles, and encouraging you to blindly slaughter everyone because everyone is an enemy. I am also not aware of America's Army doing anything like that.By not showing both sides of the story, games like Call of Duty and America's Army encourage blind slaughter of entire nationalities by stereotyping them as "the enemy".
This might possibly apply to small children, but that's as far as it goes.Even if this simplification is merely part of making the game, the player takes in this mindset while playing it, and without some external rationalization that distinguishes between the game-specific stereotype and the real world, this mindset is what the player adopts in general.
The opposite perspective isn't really true. There is a world of difference between terrorists and the US military and how they conduct their business. Portraying some Afghanis and Iraqis as bad guys is just realism, since some of them are bad guys. There are two wars going on. In what military shooter do you kill people at random with reckless abandon, anyway? I can't think of one.littlerob said:It's certainly not a very mature or fair way to go about things. American (or western in general) games can freely portray Iraquis and Afghanis as 'bad guys' and go about their merry ways shooting and killing them with reckless abandon. Why shouldn't there be a game from the opposite perspective?
The other side's point of view being "infidels suck, let's kill them." I can "see" what their point of view is, but I hope you aren't seriously expecting me to sympathize with it.Are people so close-mided that they can't see the other side's point of view in a war?
At what point has the US government, or the US military, adopted the policy of killing all Middle-Easterners, or all Muslims? Or designating them all as enemies? Who is encouraging people to kill all Muslims? And how did this suddenly become a racial issue? Did something happen while I blinked?ReverseEngineered said:What really concerns me are those people who are up in arms about this art display. They are so blinded by their prejudices that they don't realize the hypocrisy of their concerns. Yes, we shouldn't be encouraging people to kill the President, but we shouldn't be encouraging them to kill Muslims either. For some reason America has accepted that people from the Middle East are hedonists and terrorists, that they are enemies who want to kill us, and that we must protect ourselves by killing them first. The people who are against the former but excuse the latter are guilty of as much racism and prejudice as anyone.
I've played through CoD 4 twice (that's probably two times more than most people here), and I do not recall the game ever glorifying the killing of Arabs and Communists. There is no double standard unless you are a nihilist who thinks there is no such thing as morality, or right and wrong, and that everything is meaningless.not a zaar said:This situation is a very interesting reflection on the attitude in America. On the one had we have Call of Duty 4, which is one of the most insanely popular games in recent memory. This game glorifies killing Arabs and Communists without a thought, and hardly anybody bats an eye at children playing it. On the other hand Virtual Jihadi is demonized. I don't agree with the message in Virtual Jihadi (in fact I detest it) but there is a huge double standard here.
Wait, what? Self-defense is now morally wrong? Taking pre-emptive action to prevent something bad from happening is now morally wrong?Wargamer said:They don't. Part of being the good guy is biting the bullet and saying "Yes, we could shoot these bastards NOW, but if we do that we are no better than them. As long as there is a chance for them to see sense, we must give them that chance."
I'm sure the Rape of Nanking had nothing to do with it at all, or the various acts of hostility towards the US, or Japan's alliance with Nazi Germany.Hypocritical of the Yanks, who as always were busy playing World Police, and didn't like the idea of anyone else being bigger or better than they were.