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
    Norberg, 26 Jul 2008 @ 8:18am

    Sad Predictable Comments

    I wish I were more surprised by the comments to this article. I have been playing video games for almost 20 years and they have always had a heavy dose of military propaganda. Men have been taught to be soldiers since they were old enough to walk. Before video games, there were wooden guns and swords, cowboys and Indians, Stratego, Battleship etc. Repeating the same action over and over again is a form of self brain washing - war simulations will always change minds. I played the demo of the game in the article - Chavez should be offended. Venezuela has never attacked the USA. The game is pratically a preemtive strike. If they are going to write a plot that is fiction, than let it be fiction (example: Resistance FOM, Halo) instead of offensive fiction based on real-world would-be wars that don't need more logs of there fire.

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