Monday, June 30, 2014

The gaming industry should develop a modern war game based on real events.

One of the great things about videogames is that when they are being made we always know there is going to be an end to it.  Not only that, but the ending is going to leave us satisfied and more than likely hoping for more to the story.  In its own way gaming is always going to have that happy ending we hear about in so many childhood stories.  In war games it is always the story where you end up toppling evil people and you ride off to fight another day in the sequel.  I said it was one of the great things because that is what makes for an interesting game.   One where you conquer a major goal and feel as though you have accomplished something bigger than yourself.  The reality is that war doesn't really go that way.  Look at the way the Iraq and Afghanistan war has gone over the last 10 years.

Without getting too political about it all the two wars we are fighting despite one having a bookend put on it really never came to and end.  If you follow the news right now you know that Iraq is on the verge of collapsing almost entirely and ISIS is starting what is essentially their own country--also known as a caliphate.  An Islamic state of their own.  This is the way war goes nowadays.  Not the way we see it in videogames where you topple the evil people and the world is a better place afterwards.  I can't help but think that the real story of modern war should be told in a video game.  Base the game on real events, real battles and recreate them the best you can.

I will say right away that there are a few obvious pros and cons to this.  The cons are pretty heavy ones; I can admit that.  The first being that a lot of people who are fighting these in these modern wars are also gamers.  It might be very traumatic for them to play something that they lived.  I am not a game developer thus I couldn't say if there is any way to not make that a traumatic experience, but at the same time there are far more people who aren't gamers who should know the horror of what is really going on over there.  

I am not saying make the game deliberately horrific for the gamer and go out of their way to traumatize them or anything like that.  What I am saying is that showing, to a degree, what is really going on in Iraq and Afghanistan may be a good thing since there are so many people who may not have any sort of an understanding to the wars which have been going on for 10 years now.

The other thing that comes to mind is that so many people's interpretation of the horrors of war is only understood through videogames.  I see comments every single day on news sites as well as Youtube where people are having military discussions and they reference things like videogames.  It is actually sort of sad and pathetic at the same time.

As someone who has a brother in the military my number one thing would be not to traumatize soldiers with a videogame.  If making a game based on real life modern events would be traumatic and cause harm in any way to soldiers and war veterans that alone is enough reason to not make the game in my eyes.  In a perfect world though where that wouldn't happen I think making a game based on actual events from Iraq and Afghanistan could be a good thing.  If not only to show people that war is real and it is not like the Call of Duty games you have been playing for the past decade where you always win and you always have a happy outcome.

I personally wouldn't mind a game where the end doesn't paint me as the hero.  Where the war might have swung in my favor, but the reality is that war doesn't really end up that way all the time.  Iraq and Afghanistan are the obvious examples of that.
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