Fox News on Rendition: Guantanamo

June 4, 2009 -

Fox News offers its take on the cancellation of Rendition: Guantanamo, including an interview with Pete Hegseth of Vets For Freedom.

Hegseth, who served with the U.S. military in Iraq and as a guard at Guantanamo Bay, was also interviewed by conservative newspaper the Washington Times:

[Rendition: Guantanamo] looked like to us a blatant attempt to twist reality and change the perception of the American soldier...

 

We need to keep [pressure] on guys like [former Guantanamo detainee] Moazzam Begg and what they are trying to do in rewriting history at Guantanamo: That our troops are oppressors and that the detainees are all victims.

26 comments

ABC News: 9 Video Games That Went Too Far

June 4, 2009 -

ABC News has posted a web feature on controversial games, listing nine titles "that went too far." The games chosen by ABC's Ki Mae Huessner are:

  • Rendition: Guantanamo
  • Six Days in Fallujah
  • Faith Fighter
  • RapeLay
  • Miss Bimbo
  • GTA IV
  • Manhunt 2
  • Super Columbine Massacre RPG
  • JFK Reloaded

Although Ki Mae interviewed me for the piece, I'm not clear as to the criteria she used to narrow her final list down to nine. Still, it's a thought-provoking article and should serve as a good starting point to discuss what makes a game controversial.

Guantanamo Game Project Halted in Wake of Controversy

June 3, 2009 -

In a surprising turn of events, development has ceased on Rendition: Guantanamo, apparently forever.

The sudden announcement was made earlier today by Scottish firm T-Enterprise and comes following a day of backlash in the wake of media reports about the alleged terrorist background of Moazzam Begg (left), a key consultant to the project.

In a statement released earlier today, T-Eterprise director Zarrar Chishti blamed press coverage  by U.S. media:

Unfortunately, much of the speculation regarding the game itself made by various publications and websites has been inaccurate and ill informed... [The game] was never designed to be “propaganda” or “a recruiting tool for terrorism”. Neither was it designed to glamorise terrorism as has been reported.

First and foremost, the main character was NOT Moazzam Begg... T-Enterprise is against all forms of terrorism... Furthermore, Guantanamo was to be a mercenary run institution and so there would have been NO American military personnel killed within the game...

 

I would now like to refute all suggestions that the game was in any way linked to Al Qaeda. T-Enterprise has never had and would never have a link to Al Qaeda in any way, shape or form... The game was simply designed to be an action video game that adults could enjoy.

However, as a direct result of the extreme reaction that the game and its popular misconceptions have provoked, T-Enterprise has decided to pull out of the project and will not be completing Rendition: Guantanamo.

Damaging press coverage included a blog post by Tom Joscelyn of the conservative Weekly Standard which indicated that Moazzam Begg had strong ties to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The publication referred to Rendition: Guantanamo as "Al Qaeda's Xbox Fantasy Game."

Conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh also attacked Rendition: Guantanamo yesterday on his radio program, calling the game "disgusting." Noting that Rendition: Guantanamo was being developed for the Xbox 360, Limbaugh linked Microsoft to the project:

This is something that Bill and Melinda Gates -- they have their Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and so forth -- they should be made aware and held accountable if this is something they allow to go forward.  Military families all over the country are just going to be outraged by this.  They have risked their lives to capture these terrorists, and the game dishonors the sacrifice that they've made for our country.  

The game is obviously political...  it's a game played from the standpoint of a detainee and how unfair he's treated and how hopeless his life is and all is lost unless he can escape.  There's already a firestorm of conversation about this that's percolating out there now.

83 comments

Conservative Mag Calls Upcoming Gitmo Title "Al Qaeda's Xbox Fantasy Game"

June 2, 2009 -

Rendition: Guantanamo, an upcoming Xbox 360 and PC game, has come under fire from The Weekly Standard, a conservative publication owned by Rupert Murdoch.

In a blog entry The Weekly Standard's Thomas Joscelyn writes:

One of the more popular former [Guantanamo] detainees is Moazzam Begg, who regularly appears in anti-American documentaries on television... Begg is a big hit with the global left... Begg is upping the ante by trying to win even more hearts and minds with an Xbox videogame...

 

By the sound of it, the videogame will allow users to pretend they are Gitmo inmates shooting at American servicemen... The director of the firm that is producing the game, Zarrar Chishti, denies this, of course, saying that “no US or British soldiers get killed in it.” Chisti claims: “The only ones being killed are mercenaries.”

Right...

Joscelyn writes in detail about Moazzam Begg (left), linking him to reports of jihadist beliefs and Al Qaeda training:

[Begg's] release [from Guantanamo] by the personal intervention of President Bush... was done, many think, as a political palliative to his friend and war supporter British prime minister Tony Blair, who was under much criticism at the time for not demanding immediate release of all British citizens held at Guantanamo...

Begg’s propaganda efforts will now include a disgusting video game in which Begg... gets to target “mercenaries” -- in reality, stand-ins for American servicemen...

Meanwhile, CBS News reports that Zarrar Chisti expects Rendition: Guantanamo to sell well in the Middle East. Begg, who has a financial stake in the game, said that his earnings will be donated to a charity devoted to the rights of Guantanamo detainees.

UPDATE: Gawker reports that Microsoft has denied knowledge of Rendition: Guantanamo. That's a key piece of information, since MS would have to license the game for it to appear on the 360. From Gawker:

In a statement, Microsoft said: "We are unaware of this game and have not been contacted by this developer. As such, we don't have enough details about the game to even comment about it."

More info upcoming...

35 comments

Former Detainee Is Consultant on Upcoming Guantanamo Game

May 26, 2009 -

A British Muslim who spent three years in the controversial Guantanamo Bay detention facility is serving as a consultant on the upcoming Xbox 360 and PC game Rendition: Guantanamo, according to Deadline Scotland.

As GamePolitics reported in March, Rendition: Guantanamo centers around a near-future version of the controversial prison in which mercenaries are in control and scientists conduct experiments on detainees.

Moazzam Begg (left), who was picked up as a suspected Al Qaeda member by Coalition forces in Pakistan, is assisting Glasgow-based game developer T-Enterprise. Begg claims to have been tortured during his stay at Guantanamo. T-Enterprise exec Zarrar Chishti commented on Begg's participation in the project:

We approached Moazzam because it’s very hard for us to know how to design the layout of the prison and he helped. He came up two weeks ago to give his input on what we were working on...

Due to the controversial subject matter, T-Enterprise appears eager not to step on any official toes. Deadline Scotlan reports that the developer had sought advice and permissions from law enforcement and political officials. Chisti explained:

There are certain rules we can’t break after meeting politicians so we are not making the game too extreme. We have had a lot of hate mail about this, mainly from America...

 

But no US or British soldiers get killed in [the game]. The only ones being killed are mercenaries. We have set it in January 2010 because that’s when we think the camp will be closed. We are making a statement. We did not want Guantanamo to be forgotten.

Begg, who wrote a book about his time at Guantanamo, has a financial stake in the project. He spoke of his time detention:

I was put in solitary confinement with no access to the outside world and no explanation as to why I was being detained. My wife gave birth to my son six months after I was arrested and I saw him for the first time when he was three years old. It would be wrong to say I’m not angry but I’m willing to forgive 1000 times over...

The only thing I am concerned about it making sure the game does not misrepresent the prisoners. This will not demean the reality of Guantanamo but it could bring those issues to people who would not usually think about it.

19 comments

In Development: Rendition: Guantanamo

March 20, 2009 -

Aside from the use of two politically-loaded buzz words in its title, we don't know much about Rendition: Guantanamo.

There's only the trailer at left as well as a teaser e-mail from developer T-Enterprise:

This week we are happy to present the teaser trailer for our 3D console game Rendition: Guantanamo.


The release date for the game will be October 2009. The game is being programmed for XBox 360 and Game for Windows format.

 

Without giving too much away at this stage - the game is set in the year 2020. The detention facility Guantanamo Bay has been sold to Mercenaries who now charge Scientists to conduct their un-ethical experiments on living human beings.

 

You play someone who was "renditioned" to Guantanamo by the Mercenaries and is now being subjected to these experiments. No one knows you are here and no one cares. Until now! Someone has managed to slip you a message. You have a son...

UPDATE: T-Enterprise, based in Scotland, is on Twitter, if you're interested in watching for updated info on Rendition: Guantanamo.

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Andrew Eisen"Plays" is present tense to the clarification doesn't seem necessary to me.10/30/2014 - 11:18am
quiknkoldI would change that from "One who plays games" To "One who currently plays games". Like my friend as a kid playd games but then he stopped and hasnt for the last decade+ so I wouldnt call him a Gamer.10/30/2014 - 11:16am
Andrew EisenHmm, that sounds like a great idea for a series of articles! I bet they'd be well-received and not taken the complete wrong way at all!10/30/2014 - 11:12am
Andrew EisenThat's right, gamer simply means one who plays games. That's it. The idea that "gamer" refers to something very limited and specific, well, that's no longer applicable in this day and age of mainstream gaming.10/30/2014 - 11:12am
Andrew EisenMatthew - As I said last night, that is not a bad thing. Different types of reviews to serve different interests is a GOOD thing and should be encouraged! There is not, nor should there be, only one way to review a game or anything else.10/30/2014 - 11:01am
ZippyDSMleeAnyone see this? http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/10/29/1339617/-Cartoon-Gamergate-Contagion-Spreads?detail=facebook10/30/2014 - 10:55am
E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, Matthew, yeah, there is no "wrong" way to review a game. It all depends on who the reviewer wants reading the review.10/30/2014 - 10:48am
quiknkoldhas their own stream, you are a gamer. I think the only prerequiset is to Play Games for Enjoyment10/30/2014 - 10:21am
quiknkoldI always felt the Gamer Identity was expressing an enthusiasm for Gaming in general. There are different degrees to that. If you say "I love this game and play it, lets see what else" with Ipad game, you are a gamer. If you are a retro game collector who10/30/2014 - 10:20am
NeenekoIt is long overdue, and things will probably settle down when they accept that the industry does not cater to them and them alone and go back to posturing within their own subculture.10/30/2014 - 10:10am
NeenekoThe community has always been split, with many factions within it, and they used to not interact all that much. Now they are having to confront they are not alone and thus not the one twue gamer identity.10/30/2014 - 10:09am
CMinerMW: The two are not mutually exclusive.10/30/2014 - 10:05am
Matthew Wilsonthe gaming community is going to split in to 2 groups. one wants games reviewed as product, and the other as art with all the social critique that comes with that. at this point i dont think it can be stopped sadly.10/30/2014 - 9:56am
NeenekoIt is a wonderful example of the heart of the issue, people accustomed to being part of defining value slamming into people who have other values.10/30/2014 - 9:53am
E. Zachary KnightAlso, this is a hillarious view of Kickstarter "Fine, still doesn't justify taking people's money they gave her to do a project for herself." talking about Sarkeesian.10/30/2014 - 9:35am
MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/DanSlott/status/527814374459977728 One More Shot at Marriage.10/30/2014 - 8:44am
E. Zachary KnightApparently, it is ok to review a games art on whether or not you like the style, but not ok to review a game's story or theme based on whether or not you like or agree with it.10/30/2014 - 8:40am
MechaCrashComics never change because the people in charge now read comics when they were kids, and keep reverting comics to what they remember. As long as that cycle holds, change will be slow at best.10/30/2014 - 8:18am
Neeneko@ MechaTama31 - That is the big reason fansubs were tollerated for so long in the US, japanese studios kept watch to see which ones became popular via those networks.10/30/2014 - 8:11am
quiknkoldJournalists shouldnt be bigger than the stories they report or products they review.10/30/2014 - 7:48am
 

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