Iraq War Vets Express Support For Konami's Six Days in Fallujah

April 10, 2009 -

Thus far, reaction to Konami's just-announced Six Days in Fallujah has been largely negative.

But G4 spoke to several Iraq War veterans who are also gamers. These military men were optimistic about the game, which will be based on the controversial 2004 battle.

Sgt. Casey J. McGeorge, who spent 36 months in Iraq, told G4:

As a combat veteran and as a gamer, I have no problem whatsoever with the game... As long as it's made as realistically as possibly, I believe that this could be a good thing for both combat veterans and for the war in general.

Former Army Sgt. Kevin Smith:

Hopefully it will bolster support for military veterans by giving civilians insight into what this war was actually like for them... I really hope that this title receives positive press and encourages more empathy towards veterans after gamers have 'experienced' what they have gone through. On a side note, I really hope this game includes co-op!

USMC Gunnery Sergeant John Mundy:

You will have your group of idiots that try to be the terrorists and kill Americans and shout obscenities through the TV, damning American military personnel. But hey, those individuals can make fools of themselves all because of the protection that we military people give them each day... If someone doesn't agree with the game, they can spend their money elsewhere."

53 comments

Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's Six Days in Fallujah

April 9, 2009 -

A group representing the families of U.S. military personnel who died in Iraq and Afghanistan has expressed its dismay over Konami's upcoming Six Days in Fallujah.

Via press release, Gold Star Families Speak Out suggested that the war game will cause additional pain for those who lost loved ones in the conflict:

We question how anyone can trivialize a war that continues to kill and maim members of the military and Iraqi civilians to this day.

The war is not a game and neither was the Battle of Fallujah. For Konami and [developer] Atomic Games to minimize the reality of an ongoing war and at the same time profit off the deaths of people close to us by making it 'entertaining' is despicable.

GSFSO member Joanna Polisena, whose brother was killed in Iraq in 2004, said:

When our loved one's 'health meter' dropped to '0', they didn't get to 'retry' the mission. When they took a bullet, they didn't just get to pick up a health pack and keep 'playing'...they suffered, they cried, they died. We - their parents, siblings, spouses, children and friends - absolutely find it disgusting and repulsive that those so far detached (and clinging to denial of reality) find it so easy to poke fun at such a thing.

77 comments

Gamer War Vet Fears That Six Days in Fallujah Will Dishonor Those Who Served in Iraq

April 8, 2009 -

Just announced on Monday, Konami's upcoming Iraq War game Six Days in Fallujah is already into its third day of controversy.

Yesterday, GamePolitics reported on concerns expressed by several critics in the U.K., including a decorated former army colonel and the father of a Royal Marine who was killed in Iraq.

Today's interview with Dan Rosenthal is a little closer to home. Actually, make that a lot closer to home.

Dan (left) is a veteran of the Iraq War. He's a longtime gamer. He's also a law student and edits the excellent gameslaw.net blog, which we cite with regularity here on GamePolitics. I first met Dan at PAX 08. He attended GDC last month on on IGDA scholarship. So when he speaks from the heart about his war experience and his feelings about Six Days in Fallujah, I listen. As it happened, yesterday Dan and I interacted on Twitter about Konami's controversial game. Afterward, Dan was gracious enough to consent to this interview:

GP: Dan, when were you in Iraq? What unit did you serve with?

DR: I served in the U.S. Army, 3rd Battalion 124th Infantry Regiment... Our unit was based out of Florida with the Florida National Guard, but during our time in Iraq we were attached to several units... I arrived in Kuwait in February 2003, participated in the invasion of Iraq in March, and left around a year later.

GP: Where were you stationed for the bulk of your Iraq tour?

DR: During the invasion, we drove upwards through southern Iraq, helped secure the area around Nasiriyah, then moved northward and conducted operations out of Baghdad for the remainder of the time... If you've ever seen the movie Gunner Palace, that base was a few hundred meters away from our compound, a former Republican Guard general officer's quarters.  

GP: Did you see any combat?

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Outrage Over Konami's "Six Days in Fallujah"

April 7, 2009 -

It has been only a day since the news broke of Konami's plan to publish Six Days in Fallujah, but the game is already sparking anger as well as calls for a ban.

To be sure, releasing a video game based on one of the bloodiest and most controversial actions of the Iraq War is a public relations gamble for Konami and developer Atomic Games - especially since the war is still going on.

Early negative reactions to Six Days in Fallujah have been both sharp and diverse, with a decorated British Army officer and a representative of a U.K. peace group both expressing outrage over the game.

The U.K.'s Daily Mail reports complaints about Six Days in Fallujah by the father of a Royal Marine who died in the Iraq War. Reg Keys, whose son Thomas was killed in 2003, said:

Considering the enormous loss of life in the Iraq War, glorifying it in a video game demonstrates very poor judgement and bad taste... These horrific events should be confined to the annals of history, not trivialised and rendered for thrill-seekers to play out...

It's entirely possible that Muslim families will buy the game, and for them it may prove particularly harrowing. Even worse, it could end up in the hands of a fanatical young Muslim and incite him to consider some form of retaliation or retribution...

I will be calling for this game to be banned, if not worldwide then certainly in the UK.

Meanwhile, former colonel Tim Collins OBE, a decorated Iraq War veteran, was equally aghast:

It's much too soon to start making video games about a war that's still going on, and an extremely flippant response to one of the most important events in modern history. It's particularly insensitive given what happened in Fallujah, and I will certainly oppose the release of this game.

Tech Radar offers withering comments from Tansy Hoskins of Stop The War Coalition, a U.K. peace group:

The massacre carried out by American and British forces in Fallujah in 2004 is amongst the worst of the war crimes carried out in an illegal and immoral war. It is estimated that up to 1,000 civilians died in the bombardment and house to house raids...

The American led assault on Fallujah pretended there were no civilians left in the city [but]  over 50,000 people remained in their homes and took the brunt of the violence and chemical weapons...

To make a game out of a war crime and to capitalise on the death and injury of thousands is sick... The massacre in Fallujah should be remembered with shame and horror not glamorised and glossed over for entertainment.

99 comments

Konami Announces Game Based on 2004 Fallujah Battle

April 6, 2009 -

In a somewhat unusual move for a top-tier video game publisher, Konami has announced a game based on the war in Iraq - while U.S. troops are still deployed there.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Six Days in Fallujah will be published in 2010. North Carolina-based Atomic Games is handling the development chores. The company is experienced with military game designs.

Of Six Days in Fallujah, Atomic Games President Peter Tamte told the L.A. Times:

For us, the challenge was how do you present the horrors of war in a game that is also entertaining, but also gives people insight into a historical situation in a way that only a video game can provide? Our goal is to give people that insight, of what it's like to be a Marine during that event, what it's like to be a civilian in the city and what it's like to be an insurgent...

GP: Not many details seem to be available at this point. A Wikipedia entry which relies heavily on the May issue of GamePro indicates that the game will be available for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. A multiplayer component appears to be included. It's unclear at this time whether online games will require players to fight as insurgents against U.S. forces.

9 comments

Large Scale Protest Planned for Army Video Game Center in Philadelphia

March 23, 2009 -

An experimental, high tech Army recruitment center in Philadelphia has been targeted for protest by an anti-war activist group.

According to a post on the website of After Downing Street, the protest is being planned for the Army Experience Center at the Franklin Mills Mall on the afternoon of Saturday, May 2nd at 2:00 P.M. The group also quite openly details how the protest will be staged:

Please join us... show up early at the mall and spend some time shopping... Shopping bags are an excellent decoy. (The cops will suspect everyone with a shopping bag!) At 2:00 pm people will come out of the woodwork and converge on the Army Experience Center... We think it's possible for hundreds of us to arrive at the mall without being detected. And it is a free country, sort of...

We can enter the Army Experience Center and cause a great big fuss at 2:00 pm until we're asked to leave and then we can take our time to get out. We'll go to peacefully and artistically express our indignation at this abomination. Some are planning on singing. Some will unfurl banners, some will chant and some will cry. There's talk of a die-in. We are people of peace. We're nonviolent. The Army is Shock and Awe, Abu Ghraib, recruiting lies, a thousand rapes, and cool video games.

Immediately after the action, we have a location picked out for a demonstration on public property -- on the street -- right outside of Franklin Mills Mall where we have the "right" to peacefully assemble.

We demand the Army close up shop at Franklin Mills Mall and we're determined to block the expansion of this monstrosity in malls across the nation...

After Downing Street describes itself as "a nonpartisan coalition of over 200 veterans groups, peace groups, and political activist groups that has worked since May 2005 to pressure both Congress and the media to investigate whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war."

The Army's use of interactive games and exhibits for recruitment purposes has spurred a variety of protests in recent times. The practice has come in for some negative political attention, as well. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) recently urged the elimination of funding for the Virtual Army Experience, a traveling recruitment exhibit which the military takes to county fairs and other large-scale public events.

GP: As the protest location is fairly local to GamePolitics HQ, we hope to provide live coverage.

61 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.

15 comments

Dad Lets Son Play Call of Duty IF He Promises Not to Violate Geneva Conventions

February 22, 2009 -

A parent's concern over his 13-year-old son's request to play Call of Duty led to an agreement that the boy read - and play by - the rules of the Geneva Conventions.

The dad, writer Hugh Spencer, recounts the episode for  boingboing:

[My son Evan's] latest favourite game is Call of Duty - which he plays on-line with his friends. Evan's wanting to play C of D was something of a challenge for us. It's rated T and he's only just a teenager and point and shoot first person games worry me some.

 

Evan is relentlessly reasonable sometimes -- he outlined why he wanted to play the game and he was pretty upfront why he knew my "parent-sense" would start tingling. So I had to be reasonable too...

I asked Evan to google the Geneva Convention. Then he had to read it and then we had to discuss it. This we did. So the deal is that Evan has to fight according to the rules of the Geneva Convention. If his team-mates violate the Convention then play stops and Call of Duty goes away for a while.

GP: Although the application of the teachable moment concept is commendable, it's a bit difficult to see how the Geneva Conventions would relate to Call of Duty since the game contains no representations of prisoners or civilians that could be mistreated.

Althought the CoD title in question is not specified, it is likely World at War, as Spencer makes reference to World War II in his article.

44 comments

Kuwaiti Imam Urges Creation of Games to "Slaughter Jews"

February 2, 2009 -

In a 2006 interview with Kuwait TV, an Islamic religious leader issued a call for computer games which require players to "slaughter Jews."

We don't have the exact air date of the video at left, although a Washington Post article from September of 2006 references the video.

We're presenting it now because this is the first time that GP has located the actual footage. Among Imam Nabil Al Awadi's remarks:

As their games corrupt our morals, now they are making games with their current wars.

Their wars, that are not Islamic, in Islamic countries have turned into a computer games. When the child plays, he adopts a character that is not Islamic, that kills Muslims.

Why, gentlemen, should it not be the opposite? Why can't we produce a few games like these? Why can't we make games that instead of teaching children how to slaughter the Muslims, they can teach them how to free the Al-Aqsa mosque. The child will play and slaughter Jews and others.

Not only children, but adults too, will kill heretics and free the Al Aqsa mosque. There are games with pit battles, it's nice!

Along with Al Awadi's comments, a narrator shows clips and explains Islamic-themed battle games.

GP: While the clip is somewhat dated, it shows the extent to which video games are seen by some as a vehicle to politicize - and militarize - youth.

Via: Jumpcut

54 comments

Latest Gaza Conflict Game is Pro-Israeli

January 14, 2009 -

In recent days GamePolitics has covered web games propagandizing the current Gaza conflict from both the Israeli and Palestinian viewpoints.

The latest of these is Iron Dome which takes the Israeli perspective. Along with a Missile Command-esque interface, Iron Dome offers three levels of difficulty as well as several links offering the Israeli version of the issues behind the conflict.

GP: Thanks to GamePolitics reader Itamar for the tip!

26 comments

New Game Is a Protest of Israeli Invasion of Gaza

January 7, 2009 -

At the Georgia Tech News Games Project, Ian Bogost discusses Raid Gaza!, an editorial game dealing with Israel's offensive against Hamas in Palestine.

Raid Gaza! is hosted at Newgrounds and has an RTS-like interface in which the player, acting as the Israeli side, builds structures and uses them to create military units which are then launched against the Palestinians.

Of the game, Bogost writes:

The game argues against the justification of Israeli attacks on Gaza, representing them as unprovoked and characterizing Israel's response as overt aggression. The game's goal is to kill as many Palestinians as possible in a three minute session...

The game is headstrong, suffering somewhat from its one-sided treatment of the issue at hand. But as an editorial, it is a fairly effective one both as opinion text and as game... It's release on user-contributed animation and games portal Newgrounds came on 30 December 2008, only three days after the Israeli Defense Forces launched airstrikes...

Raid Gaza! was probably not created by a journalist nor a professional game developer (it was submitted to Newgrounds eponymously). Still, the piece was timely, coherent, and exerted commentary that is appreciable, even if it is not profound...

64 comments

Russia-Georgia War: The Computer Game Version

November 25, 2008 -

A soon-to-be-released computer game will take its theme from the recently-concluded war between Russia and Georgia.

Confrontation: Peace Enforcement will launch in December from Moscow-based publisher Russobit-M. As reported by the Moscow Times, the title is a reference to the Kremlin's insistence that the purpose of the short but bloody engagement was to "force Georgia to make peace."

In the hypothetical game, Georgia - backed by NATO forces - attempts to seize the same rebellious South Ossetia region over which the recent conflict was waged. From Moscow Times:

It hasn't yet been revealed whether there is a special role-playing function allowing gamers to torch and bulldoze villagers' homes while stealing their cars and shooting their cattle, or if players get bonus points for every refugee they create. But screenshots from the game do show fighter planes swooping low over blazing houses and a tank opening fire close to a Georgian Orthodox church.

"Politics are politics, and a game is a game. These things should not be confused," said a spokesman for Russobit-M, the company that designed the game. But some of the people who suffered during the war may find it hard not to see it as triumphalist propaganda.

The report also describes a mission from the upcoming Arma 2 in which U.S. forces intervene in a fictional former Soviet republic that resembles Georgia. Mentioned as well is Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, which rather eerily predicted a 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict over South Ossetia... in 2001.

GP: Given that the conflict just ended in August, the rapid development turnaround of Confrontation: Peace Enforcement, seems to indicate that the Russia-Georgia war bits are a mod to an existing game.

Via: GameCulture

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19 comments

Ex-Kazaa Guy's Provocative Game Pits Israelis Against Iranians

October 30, 2008 -

An Australian businessman who once was caught up in the legal battle over the Kazaa file-sharing network has launched a controversial, ad-driven war game.

As reported by the Syndey Morning Herald, Kevin Bermeister is the money man behind Rising Eagle - Gaza. The game pits Israel's elite Golani Brigade against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Players can fight on either side.

Bermeister, who is Jewish, told the newspaper that he wanted to "throw out a challenge to Iran." Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed to destroy Israel.

People will get to know each other in a competitive battleground environment, get to text each other, speak to each other, connect with each other and figure out that they're human beings and they can get on with each other...

 

Just like Ahmadinejad is throwing out a challenge to Israel, I think this game throws out a challenge to Iran. Clearly the intent is that the Israeli Defence Force is the futuristic fighting force that is capable of overcoming anything thrown at it, and the challenge is for anyone to come and take a shot.

Rising Eagle has been developed in Israel. Developer Yaron Dotan also spoke to the SMH:

Dotan, 34, was delighted at the suggestion that his game, which includes billboard-size photographs of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looking like a monkey [see pic at left], might cause offence to Iranians. He describes the Iranian soldiers as "the Waffen SS of today".

"I want this to upset people. I hope it causes the biggest shitstorm in history," he said.

Ubisoft: Piracy to Delay PC Release of EndWar

October 9, 2008 -

According to videogaming247, the PC flavor of EndWar will not launch at the same time as its console brethren.

The website quotes Ubisoft Shanghai creative director Michael de Plater:

To be honest, if PC wasn't pirated to hell and back, there'd probably be a PC version coming out the same day as the other two. But at the moment, if you release the PC version, essentially what you're doing is letting people have a free version that they rip off instead of a purchased version. Piracy's basically killing PC... You know, the level of piracy that you get with the PC just cannibalizes the others, because people just steal that version.

GameSpot reports that Ubi has a track record for this sort of thing. The publisher delayed the PC versions of the Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter series as well as Assassin's Creed.

GP: So, PC piracy is affecting sales of console editions in a significant way? Does that even make sense?

Did game consumers throw down $300-600 for Xbox 360s and PS3s in order to play bootlegged versions on their PCs?

Color me skeptical.

48 comments

Veterans Group Drops Army Game Protest After Promise of Age Restrictions

August 31, 2008 -

The Defense Deparment's Virtual Army Experience game continues to make waves as it tours air shows and summer festivals.

In the latest flap, the Ohio chapter of Veterans for Peace agreed to drop its planned protest after Army officials agreed not to admit players under 17 to the interactive game, which depict a firefight between U.S. soldiers and virtual insurgents. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:

The Army recruiting video game originally targeted teens as young as 13 to use simulated machine guns to kill virtual enemies in a projected Middle East war setting. Show-goers sit in a replica of a Humvee, virtually speed through desert terrain and shoot fake machine guns at life-size pictures of people projected on a wraparound screen.

The Army utilizes the simulator as a recruitment tool.

60 comments

Venezuelan Group Celebrates Delayed Release, Changes to Mercs 2

October 3, 2007 -

A group calling itself the Venezuela Solidarity Network has issued a press release celebrating news that Pandemic's Mercenaries 2: World in Flames has been pushed from EA's holiday release schedule.

According to the GameStop website, Mercs 2 is now set for a February, 2008 launch.

In March, the VSN petitioned Bono, a major Pandemic investor, to block release of Mercs 2, claiming it would deepen existing tensions between the U.S. and Venezuelan governments. Said Gunnar Gundersen, who coordinated the protest:
 

I wouldn’t want my sons to buy it and blow up neighborhoods that we can clearly recognize where their cousins, aunts and uncles live.  Still, at least the villain is no longer a Hugo Chavez look alike and the story line no longer mirrors actual international politics.


Chuck Kaufman, another spokesman for the group, added:

Group Petitions Bono to Cancel Mercs 2 Over Venezuelan Missions

March 23, 2007 -

As reported by GameSpot, a group calling itself the Venezuelan Solidarity Network has called on U2 frontman, activist and investor Bono to stop production of Pandemic's upcoming Mercenaries 2: World in Flames.

Bono, of course, is a principle with venture capital firm Elevation Partners, a major investor in Pandemic/Bioware Studios. As described by GameSpot's Tim Surette:
 

(Mercs 2) follows guns for hire as they help topple a "power hungry tyrant" in Venezuela. While no real names are used, protestors see the plot as a clear parallel to the Unites States' troubled relationship with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, and are labeling the shooter as anti-Venezuela propaganda.


The Venezuelan Solidarity Network is collecting support and signatures from a variety of religious leaders urging the cancellation of Mercs 2. A letter from the group says:

 
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Should ‘sexism’ factor into a video game’s rating?:

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Andrew EisenNo movie in sight but Howard the Duck is returning to comics! https://games.yahoo.com/news/howard-duck-series-announced-184400635.html11/21/2014 - 10:48pm
MechaCrashThe point of the Bechdel Test isn't "is this film sexist," it's to illustrate "this is an incredibly low bar and most movies STILL can't pass it."11/21/2014 - 10:11pm
mthielNew report on Adam Lanza http://tinyurl.com/pnj9os611/21/2014 - 8:07pm
Andrew EisenIf you missed the HuffPost segment I guested on, the replay is now embedded in the story.11/21/2014 - 6:05pm
Wonderkarphttps://pbs.twimg.com/media/B2__4yZCcAA9Ytp.jpg these look amazing. Peach is the only one I'm tempted to open cause her packaging is bent. get another nonbent one....man. toycollector me and gamecollector me is fighting11/21/2014 - 5:51pm
WonderkarpJust finalized my Smash Bros free Sound Track Order. Also got 4 amiibos and they look fantastic. I'm afraid to open them. they look spectacular!11/21/2014 - 5:45pm
james_fudgeCan we all agree that Andrew cleans up nicely and can go on any program?11/21/2014 - 5:01pm
Wonderkarpthank you for that line, Andrew. alot of great films fail the bechdel test. Gravity fails it and it has a female lead.11/21/2014 - 4:48pm
Andrew EisenAw, thanks James! Well, now I have to drive back to work!11/21/2014 - 4:45pm
Andrew EisenDidn't have a chance to say this on the HuffPost segment but while the Bechdel test is useful as a broad examination of gender representation in media, it's not at all appropriate as a judgment of quality.11/21/2014 - 4:45pm
james_fudgeAndrew you killed it!11/21/2014 - 4:44pm
WonderkarpMadeline Bergman. second female, they never speak of men, just a computer program. it passes the test11/21/2014 - 4:34pm
E. Zachary KnightDoes Other M have more than one woman in it?11/21/2014 - 4:31pm
Wonderkarpyet Metroid Other M, a game where people cried sexist due to the commanding officers restricting Samus, passes the test....11/21/2014 - 4:21pm
Wonderkarpwait...they are using the bechdel test to determine which games are sexist?.....how does that work with a game like Super Mario Bros when there is no Dialogue? test itself is BS. Alien doesn't pass it11/21/2014 - 4:20pm
james_fudgeAndrew Eisen on Ice! Please join in at 4:23 pm et and support our bestie! http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/sweden-sexism-video-game/546d41cffe344486d400023711/21/2014 - 4:05pm
Matthew Wilsonthose are the same people that said google should pay to list news sites in their news reader, and than accused google of blackmail when google said no and delisted them.11/21/2014 - 4:03pm
Wonderkarpwait....europe can dismantle a company not founded in europe?11/21/2014 - 3:54pm
NeenekoHrm, that does raise interesting questions about anti-trust laws and transnational corporations.11/21/2014 - 3:54pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/11/europes-parliament-poised-to-call-for-a-break-up-of-google/ what is with Europe? good think they dont have the power to do it. worse comes to worse google can block any European country that tries.11/21/2014 - 3:49pm
 

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