War Propaganda Is Fun On Your Xbox 360

from the the-battle-in-your-livingroom dept

Historically, film has been a dominant medium for propaganda, as filmmakers working for and against governments have used it to express certain viewpoints. It appears, though, that propagandists are increasingly shifting towards videogames as the way to promote their message. In Iran, a new videogame is being developed depicting a scenario in which a top Iranian nuclear scientist has been taken hostage by US forces. The mission, of course, is to secure his release. Videogames are used similarly here as well. Recall that a few years ago, the Army released its own videogame for recruiting purposes. Recently, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez lashed out at an American company for creating a game that simulates an invasion of Venezuela. Chavez' fears are somewhat understandable, since an invasion of Venezuela wouldn't normally be something on people's minds (unlike say an invasion of Iran, which wouldn't be surprising to find in a game). Furthermore, as author Ed Halter notes, the company that developed the game, Pandemic, has a history of working side by side with the Army to develop training games. Halter's book From Sun Tzu To Xbox: War And Video Games delves deeply into the historical and ongoing ties between the military and the video game industry. So as videogames continue to capture attention that was historically owned by the film industry, expect games to be a home of fierce propaganda battles. If only the wars could be fought virtually as well.

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  1. identicon
    I, for one, 30 May 2006 @ 6:46pm

    All war games are propaganda

    I reckon the games designers are just cowards that need to appeal to safe concepts. The bad guys are always stereotypical swarthy villians with slanty eyes and comical accents.

    I imagine that if someone were to release a game where the objective was to blow up an American city with suitcase nukes and assasinate the president it wouldn't go down too well. Or maybe save some unarmed civillians from being massacred by US troops on a rampage? Despite that fact that outside the USA it would probably be the most popular title of the year I can't see that happening.

    I very much enjoyed Operation Flashpoint. All the same the flag waving, trumpet playing "Sir! Yes Sir!" Americanisms did get a bit sickly after a few levels. So I was really looking forward to Red Hammer - the add on campaign where you get to play the evil Russians with T80s and RPG7s. What better challenge could there be than going up against the USA with their superior weapons? (Notice that the American guns always fire further and more accurately by default in any game?) How disappointed I was. Didn't get to shoot a single American. The designers thought that too much to stomach for an American audience so the entire campaign was slaughtering civillians. I had to learn to mod my own levels to get the challenge of taking down an Apache helicopter with an RPG :)

    What happened to the good old days when you got to kill Nazi cliches who screamed "Got in himmel, mien lieben!"? Or might some poor sensitive soul get "offended" by that? Pathetic hypocrites the lot of them.

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