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
    jsnbase, 7 Jul 2006 @ 1:15pm

    Deep breaths

    Let's not oversimplify the issue here. Spy Hunter as propaganda? For what? Spy Hunter doesn't make me think of the CIA, it makes me think of Knight Rider, and that makes me think of Manimal, and now I'm in a dark place and I hold you entirely responsible.

    This is entirely different, and as far as I'm concerned the perception that it's propaganda is at least as interesting as whether or not it actually is. Keep in mind that the original Mercenaries was set in North Korea, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least to learn that Kim Jong Il had been beating his tiny fists against a copy as he ordered the missle launches of the last week.

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