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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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

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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!

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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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Matthew Wilsonthe lose of nn would not be good for us, but it will not be good for verizion/comcast/att in the long run ether.04/24/2014 - 2:16pm
Matthew Wilsonsadly yes. it would take another sopa day to achieve it.04/24/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoI am also confused. Are you saying NN would only become law if Google/Netflix pushed the issue (against their own interests)?04/24/2014 - 2:10pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, you are saying a lot of things but I am still unclear on your point. Are you saying that the loss of Net Neutrality will be good in the long run?04/24/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew WilsonOfcourse it does I never said it did not.though over time the death of NN will make backbone providers like Google, level3 and others stronger becouse most isps including the big ones can not provid internet without them. they can peer with smaller isps04/24/2014 - 1:54pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, and that still plays in Google's favor over their smaller rivals who don't have the muscle to stand up to ISPs.04/24/2014 - 1:45pm
Matthew Wilsongoogle wont pay becouse they control a large part of the backbone that all isps depend on. if verizon blocks their data, google does the same. the effect is Verizon loses access to 40% of the internet, and can not serve some areas at all.04/24/2014 - 1:14pm
Neenekolack of NN is in google and netflix interest. It is another tool for squeezing out smaller companies since they can afford to 'play'04/24/2014 - 12:57pm
Matthew WilsonI have said it before net nutrality will not be made in to law until Google or Netflix is blocked, or they do what they did for sopa and pull their sites down in protest.04/23/2014 - 8:02pm
Andrew EisenGee, I guess putting a former cable industry lobbyist as the Chairman of the FCC wasn't that great of an idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=204/23/2014 - 7:26pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume what he's getting at is the fact that once PS3/360 development ceases, there will be no more "For Everything But Wii U" games.04/23/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Yes, obviously developers will eventually move on from the PS3 and 360 but the phrase will continue to mean exactly what it means.04/23/2014 - 5:45pm
IanCAnd how does that equal his annoying phrase being meaningless?04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilson@Andrew Eisen the phrase everything but wiiu will be meaningless afer this year becouse devs will drop 360/ps3 support.04/23/2014 - 4:43pm
Andrew EisenFor Everything But... 360? Huh, not many games can claim that title. Only three others that I know of.04/23/2014 - 3:45pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/another-world-rated-for-current-consoles-handhelds-in-germany/ Another World fulfills legal obligations of being on every gaming system under the sun.04/23/2014 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-do-strong-reviews-lead-to-stronger-sales-on-steam/?comments=1 Here is another data driven article using sales data from steam to figure out if reviews effect sales. It is stats heavy like the last one.04/23/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew EisenI love RPGs but I didn't much care for Tales of Symphonia. I didn't bother with its sequel.04/23/2014 - 11:21am
InfophileIt had great RPGs because MS wanted to use them to break into Japan. (Which had the side-effect of screwing NA PS3 owners out of Tales of Vesperia. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?)04/23/2014 - 10:52am
RedMageI'm still disappointed the 360 never broke into Japan either. It had a bevy of great RPGs in the late 2000s.04/23/2014 - 9:48am
 

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