Red Cross Wants Real Life Laws Enforced Within Virtual Worlds

from the reality-fiction-all-the-same dept

Kotaku has published an article in which the International Committee of the Red Cross proposes that real life laws such as the Geneva and Hague Conventions should be enforced within video games. Before you get too riled up, they are not proposing that video game players be locked up and punished for war crimes for actions performed within the game, but are rather proposing that game designers program those conventions into the games.
In computer and video games, violence is often shown and the players become 'virtually violent'. However, such games are not zones free of rules and ethics. It would be highly appreciated if games reproducing armed conflicts were to include the rules which apply to real armed conflicts. These rules and values are given by international humanitarian law and human rights law. They limit excessive violence and protect the human dignity of members of particularly vulnerable groups.

The practically complete absence of rules or sanctions is nevertheless astonishing: civilians or protected objects such as churches or mosques can be attacked with impunity, in scenes portraying interrogations it is possible to torture, degrade or treat the prisoner inhumanely without being sanctioned for it and extrajudicial executions are simulated.
These types of arguments are very similar to the arguments made by those who have requested laws regulating violence in video games in the past. Those people argued that the lack of consequences in the game would influence player behavior in real life. We know that the US Supreme Court rejected those arguments as the science behind them was not sound. But we all know that pesky court rulings never get in the way of those who want to control human behavior.

The Red Cross is looking to have game developers to voluntarily include these laws within the game world noting that some developers already take the time to do it. If that fails, it has no qualms about getting the government involved.
One possible course of action could be to encourage game designers/producers to incorporate IHL in the development and design of video games, while another could be to encourage governments to adopt laws and regulations to regulate this ever-growing industry.
I don't know why they think that a law regulating this would succeed, especially this soon after the US Supreme Court ruled that such laws are a violation of the US Constitution. Even with all that, such a law would be just as pointless as applying it to a movie such as Commando or Rambo. People look to entertainment as an escape from reality. Why would they want to play a video game that would end up with them being punished for war crimes? That doesn't sound like fun to me.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    bwp (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:48am

    Someone has waaaaay to much time on their hands.

    Shouldn't the RC be worried about real lives? Talk about some mission creep.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    JT, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:55am

    New game in development: "War Crimes Simulator" with upcoming DLC "Back to Nuremberg"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Blaine (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:56am

    I dont remember all the rules...

    Is T-Bagging against the Geneva Convention?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Kevin H (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:24am

      Re: I dont remember all the rules...

      Since Halo was the one to make that a thing, I would say that given its location on a distant far away ring rules of the terrestrial Earth need not apply.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:59am

    baseless rumors

    I heard that Turn 10 is caving to pressure from AAA and is issuing an update to Forza 4 to include radar traps and speed bumps.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:59am

    In Call of Duty Black Ops they fill a prisoner's mouth with glass and punch him in the face. For no reason. Later on you are captured and forced to play Russian Roulette with another prisoner. In Mercenaries 2 you have to defend a church that is being used by insurgents from an attack by the state military. Plenty more examples out there.

    The Red Cross is on to something here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Pitabred (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:13am

      Re:

      I've got a solution... don't play the game if it's distasteful. I know I don't.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      PaulT (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:15am

      Re:

      "The Red Cross is on to something here."

      What? That violence in videogames isn't governed by real-life laws or that games based on black ops teams and mercenaries won't follow the Geneva convention?

      Not particularly insightful either way.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:39am

        Re: Re:

        Some of these first person shooters are said to fairly authentic. Wouldn't add to the authenticity to have laws and regulations like this enforced or at least given lip service to in the game world? Sure you can play a war simulation ignoring the rules of war it just should be shown to be at some cost to the character playing.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          PaulT (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Wouldn't add to the authenticity to have laws and regulations like this enforced or at least given lip service to in the game world?"

          Maybe. It would also be more authentic if the character's death or injury was made permanent. Why would anyone play such a game?

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think this autenticity is the problem, but let me elaborate.

          The real problem does not lie with the game, but rather that this kind of actions are actually done be intelligence agencies (what an irony that designation is...) and that the red cross actually is absolutely powerless to stop it.

          So instead of actually trying to change reality they go on to shoot the messenger so that they can bask in there alleged moral superiority by having done something to protect human rights while the only thing they actually accomplish is that any media portrayal and in extend every real public discussion gets shut down. Out of sight, out of mind.

          What they don't realize is, that these scenes are actually quite controversial and widely criticized in public, so rather than trying to ban they should use that debate as a platform to steer the discussion to the real war crimes and cruelties committed on a daily basis.

          This course of action is just a pathetic attempt to force the media to show a clean and happy world where there is none in reality.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            crade (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yes, exactly along the same lines as what I was thinking. If your game is set in WW2, don't forget to program in the dancing unicorns.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 11:11am

          Re: Re: Re:

          In Assassin's Creed it tells you to not kill the innocents... isn't that enough? REALLY?

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:25am

      Re:

      That's why it's fantasy. We could argue the same about books. Lets ban the Iliad because they slaughter animals too. Don't like the game? don't play it. If someone has problems discerning reality from fantasy its a psychological problem not a regulation one.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:33am

        Re: Re:

        Lets ban the Iliad because they slaughter animals too.

        Wow. If you think slaughtering animals is the worst thing in the Iliad, I suggest you read the non-Disneyfied version. Frankly, the level of barbarity in the poem outstrips just about any modern video game, movie, or book you could name. But I guess the same could be said for most of the bronze age myths as well.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Rikuo (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Let's apply the Red Cross Initiative to the Bible too...that way, God wouldn't be such a dick (for the uneducated, he was a psychopath in the Old Testament, wiping out whole cultures).

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Kevin H (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:31am

      Re:

      I agree, I found myself questioning my moral compass recently when I was sniping the enemy as they approached my hide. I knew that they would do anything to save each other so instead of shooting to kill, I shot to wound. I would get them in the stomach and let them suffer to draw out the squad mates. Then as they came into view I would do the same to them. Eventually they would die, but not before demoralizing the rest of them. They grew more desperate as their friends screams became more muffled and began to fall silent.

      Or that was a scene from a movie I once saw. Given the realism of today's video games I find it hard to discern right from wrong, reality with fiction.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      weneedhelp (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:34am

      Re:

      "The Red Cross is on to something here."
      F them, they cant actually stop the real life crimes so they need to attack video games.

      Dont worry, you will still be able to waterboard, parade your POW's around naked with potato sacks on their heads, and dogpile said POW's just to take pictures.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      abc gum, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:16am

      Re:

      Jack?
      Jack Thompson ... is that you?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Matt, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 11:35am

      Re:

      Maybe, but what about the country's that don't follow the rules? There are plenty of them, and plenty of cases in history where county's don't follow the rules.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:59am

    "But we all know that pesky court rulings never get in the way of those who want to control human behavior."

    There is no way to regulate human nature. Every law that tries to is doomed to failure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:00am

    However, such games are not zones free of rules and ethics.
    [Citation Needed]

    The field of ethics somewhat necessarily depends on the framework of the universe it is embedded in. I'm pretty sure that bluffing in poker is not considered unethical, for example. Likewise, shooting a wounded player in Battlefield 3 is not unethical, because the framework of that game does not allow for the nuances of the real world, nor are the consequences for that action remotely similar.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:07am

    The Red Cross is right, pixels used to generate people in video games are people to! Killing innocent pixels (err, people) in games leads to a life of violence! Let me explain my own story of violence!

    When I was a kid I used to love playing a racing game called Road Rash, not to win the races, but to run over as many innocent civilians (and animals) as possible, including the guy waving the flags at the start of the races! Horribly violent isn't it! I may have come in last place, but I beat up a few cops, and ran over half the civilians in the area during the race!

    Then I got older and got my driver's license! Ut oh, so how many people have I run over, how many cops have I beat up? Well... none... but I have almost hit a few innocent pedestrians that I didn't see, isn't that violent enough for you to see we need to do something about video game violence! Well I guess not, since I didn't hurt anyone. But... think of all the grass I've killed by driving my car over it! Video Games made me violent enough to murder grass and take pleasure in doing it with off road driving!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Maximus Aurelius, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:07am

    Redic

    What's next?! Applying the 13th Amendment to animals...? Oh, wait...

    Seriously, this has less than zero chance of going anywhere, beyond a thought exercise. Stunts like this should make people think twice before giving money to the Red Cross, as this demonstrates the organization has too much money and not enough focus on real-world problems.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:11am

    Fail

    Look, I was playing this game, MAdworld these days. It's a monochrome game for Wii in which only the blood is colored (in red) and it consists of killing ppl mercilessly in the most brutal ways possible.

    Yet I wouldn't punch any1 unless the person is a real threat to my life. Yet I find it horrifying when I see news about rapists, murderers, war crimes etc and (wow!) I'm engaged in some efforts to prevent such abuses (Aavaz etc).


    The point is RC is missing the point. As Ishihara and the Unicef thing in Japan miss the point. Fantasy is where you get your mind free of the shackles of reality. It's not real, normal ppl know it's not real and they don't feel like bringing it to reality. In my fantasy I may have an harem of female sex slaves. It doesn't mean I'll mistreat my girl in real life and treat her badly. In my fantasy I may see little lolis (ero and porn involving underage boys and girls) having sex but that doesn't mean I'll be a pedo in real life. It's FANTASY.

    Seems some ppl lack the ability to dream, fantasize and split real from fantasy and thus want to impose their handicap on everyone.

    Go ahead, try to regulate my dreams and see me laugh as you fail ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:12am

    * That doesn't sound like fun to me.

    Why should people be allowed to have fun?

    Besides, this kind of "fun" just encourages evil in real life. Another thing, we still permit those so-called "plays" like Macbeth and King Lear to be performed. These are just lessons in how to commit Regicide. It's past time those were banned too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    WysiWyg (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:13am

    To real?

    Are they suggesting that people don't get away with torture and the like all the time?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Machin Shin, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:14am

    War Crimes?

    I would like to take this moment to point out that these laws are universally ignored anyways. War crimes are just a way to kick the looser when they are down. When in a war you do what you have to do to win. If you win then who is going to take you to court? The winner of a war is not going to get punished, if anything a few scapegoats will be tossed to the court. It amazes me that anyone actually believes making "war crimes" actually changes anything.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Jesse (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:23am

    "Over 1000 hours of gameplay!"

    999 hours spent in a virtual jail cell for war crimes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Liz (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:43am

      Re:

      Every time I had to spend time in a virtual jail cell, I always managed to pick the lock and escape, bribe my way out, neutralize the guards, or kill/befriend another prisoner in a blood sport arena.

      Except for Phoenix Wright. There I used legal tricks to keep people OUT of prison.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:23am

    Some games already do this anyway, like America's Army, where the game is over if you shoot your commanding officer at the firing range. The topic was addressed in the movie Toys, in which the Colonel complains that the UN is always getting in the way in this arcade game he's playing, so he has his game designers build one where you get points for killing civilians. The convention may indeed be an interesting aspect for a game developer to voluntarily use.

    But it's a slippery slope to think we need to include real world laws in all violent video games. What about games in which you're playing a bad guy? It's central to the conflict that the "good guys" will be trying to kill you. Why would you try to adhere in international law or the Geneva Convention if you're playing an immoral bad guy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      E. Zachary Knight (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:36am

      Re:

      I think you may want to rewatch Toys.

      He was playing a war arcade game and saw that the UN vans kept getting in the way. In frustration he began shooting only the UN trucks.

      This was the scene where he realized that using a combination of arcade games and toys (or drones if you will) he could make war more efficient.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        MrWilson, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:35am

        Re: Re:

        Your version doesn't conflict with mine. He did start shooting the UN vehicles in the arcade game as you said. And later in the movie, when Robin Williams breaks into the secret development area, he finds kids playing video games that the Colonel had had created where you get points for killing civilians.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:25am

    Why would they want to play a video game that would end up with them being punished for war crimes? That doesn't sound like fun to me.


    So awesome!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Cory, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:28am

    In Fallout 3 there are some unofficial rules like this. Negative actions produce negative karma, and it is impossible to kill children. But I suppose they're talking about war games?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:29am

    I wasn't aware the Red Cross was trying to be a competitor for The Onion. Bravo!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Tech42 (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:31am

    Easy escape

    If this ever does come into existence, just establish that the character is a former U.S. president - that way, war crimes / crimes against humanity simply don't apply.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:32am

    "In computer and video games, violence is often shown and the players become 'virtually violent'. However, such games are not zones free of rules and ethics."

    Clearly they have never spent any amount of time on XBox Live voice lobby.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:40am

    You'll get in reality what you won't censor even virtually.

    Guess I need to remind you who have the memories of gnats that last week a bill was passed making all the world a battlefield, putting into "law" that the military can grab anyone anywhere to hold indefinitely without charge, stripped of rights, subject to torture -- with the stroke of a pen.

    With video games, you ARE being conditioned to accept evil and tyranny. It's long past time for a moral panic. You'll have to live in the world you allow, and it's already beginning to get grim out there.

    O course, you kids won't care about actual war crimes until affects you. -- You don't care now about those still going on in Iraq, hundreds of thousands dead based on a pack of lies. -- But you've no basis to complain about being merely censored with SOPA when you don't object to people being murdered. Morality can't be pieced up. Evil can't be kept "virtual", it's never safe to have that kind of "fun".

    And why do you wish to be able to commit war crimes within a game?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      PaulT (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:48am

      Re: You'll get in reality what you won't censor even virtually.

      Have you ever met a conspiracy theory you haven't fallen instantly in love with?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        weneedhelp (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 2:10pm

        Re: Re: You'll get in reality what you won't censor even virtually.

        PaulT (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:48am
        "Have you ever met a conspiracy theory you haven't fallen instantly in love with?"
        How is what OOTB said a conspiracy?


        out_of_the_blue, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:40am
        And why do you wish to be able to commit war crimes within a game?
        OOTB I just like to kill shit in video games. Broken glass in a prisoners mouth, FUCK YEAH!!! Kill puppies? Where do I sign up? Light them on fire, then piss on them to put them out. WOOO HOOO!!!

        Guess what? IT IS NOT REAL. If anyone believs different then they have issues that would have come out, video games or not.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        weneedhelp (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 2:28pm

        Re: Re: You'll get in reality what you won't censor even virtually.

        "With video games, you ARE being conditioned to accept evil and tyranny. "

        As with Movies, TV, etc, you are being desensitized to increasing violence and gore.

        "you ARE being conditioned to accept evil and tyranny"
        Look what the American ppl allow in their name all in the name of terror.

        I dont remember where I saw it, but there was this cartoon that showed American troops showing up in Germany and gasping, and in the next frame was American troops showing up in Iraq and being like Cool!!

        Because we are OK with this now:
        http://www.theirsecrets.info/waterboarding.jpg

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      abc gum, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:26am

      Re: You'll get in reality what you won't censor even virtually.

      "... last week a bill was passed making all the world a battlefield, putting into "law" that the military can grab anyone anywhere to hold indefinitely without charge, stripped of rights, subject to torture -- with the stroke of a pen. ... You'll have to live in the world you allow"



      I allowed this how - exactly?
      Do not tell me I voted for this, because as everyone knows, that is BS.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:21am

      Re: You'll get in reality what you won't censor even virtually.

      Tell your doctor, they need to adjust your meds.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Rikuo (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:58am

      Re: You'll get in reality what you won't censor even virtually.

      That's odd, I coulda sworn Obama said he was gonna veto this bill.
      Yes, I do understand where you're coming from, you're more worried about this military bill than you are about SOPA. I myself oppose injustices like this in every form, so I talk against SOPA and against the military bill.
      And what's with your last question? Of course I want to commit virtual war crimes! It's fantasy! An outlet for pent up aggression! There have been days where I feel like murdering a bunch of people, so I go home and play something violent, like Bioshock. What if this applies to computer game versions of chess? I have a piece ready to capture my enemy queen, but Red Cross rules say I have to let her surrender, or my taking her could be considered rape etc?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:43am

    Pioneering

    I don't know why I keep thinking about Oregon Trail. No matter what a great shot you were and how close you got you always got the "You died of cholera" out of nowhere. Statistically this was probably correct but I don't remember anybody making it all the way. Reality bites!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:47am

    I'm with the Red Cross on this one

    I agree with the Red Cross, but not for the reasons they give. Game developers should start putting the Geneva and Hague Conventions, the US Constitution, and other countries constitutions into games. Use it as an educational opportunity, let players learn their rights for use in the real world.

    This, however, should never be government mandated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:16am

      Re: I'm with the Red Cross on this one

      It would be good as an option in games such as Battlefield or Call of Duty but I think I broke every rule in Gears of War series.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      MAtt, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:30am

      Re: I'm with the Red Cross on this one

      Violent video games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield are realistic only to the end that players experienced something more organized than a massive free-for-all shoot 'em up (which is an option in both games).

      If some game developer really wants to create a realistic game - including embedded reporters, media distorting the truth, insurgents using civilians as cover, etc. - they will fail miserably on one point over all others: We don't play first person shooters so we have to wait for proper authorization to fire our weapon. We play them to kill shit and blow things up.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    TheStupidOne, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:51am

    Easy Fix

    I agree with RC that gamers should be aware of the rules of war, but I disagree that they should be forced to follow them. So here would be a simple way for game designers to implement the conventions: At the end of each level give the player a rating on how well they followed the "rules" ... Perhaps give them a "Probability of being convicted as a war criminal" rating, or a "You've committed war crimes equivalent to" then name some terrible person. Of course via the law of unintended consequences you'll most definitely see people playing to get 100% probability of conviction or being compared directly to Hitler.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Rikuo (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 11:00am

      Re: Easy Fix

      There's a short game out there where the goal is to match as closely as possible the assassination of JFK. I gave it a few tries. According to the Red Cross, this wouldn't be allowed and I would be called a criminal.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      athe, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:18pm

      Re: Easy Fix

      "You've committed war crimes equivalent to G W Bush - now exiting game and deleting..."

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Gary (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:54am

    What next, UN hiring virtual contractors to help defend strong holds in the virtual world. One would think the Red Cross would have enough work on its hands with all the global warming destroying the world.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Pickle Monger (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:57am

    How far can we go?

    Would those rules apply to post-apocalyptic situations? How about the Rapture? Because there's this new "Left Behind" video game is coming out and the players are supposed to kill Jews, atheists, and other assorted infidels if they refuse to convert to Christianity. Would the Rules of Engagement or US Constitution apply here too?
    As a side note, I don't have a problem with the stores selling this game as long as it's stocked right next to Grand Theft Auto.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      abc gum, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:17am

      Re: How far can we go?

      "Because there's this new "Left Behind" video game is coming out and the players are supposed to kill Jews, atheists, and other assorted infidels if they refuse to convert to Christianity"


      Wow ... a video game for bigots - LOL

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:25am

      Re: How far can we go?

      2006 is a New Game?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Scooters (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:08am

    You know, this isn't a bad idea!!!

    The trade off will be to have the RC pop up tents anywhere there's a major disaster (like the Oblivion gate opening) and I have many more places to loot.

    Ooh! Then there's the Blood Mobile, something we can jack in Grand Theft Auto!

    Hold the phone! We can go so far as asking online people for donations!!!

    Where do I sign up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Robert Shaver, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:13am

    There are no violent video games

    There are no violent video games because pixels are not people.

    I'll agree to this when hockey players are arrested for assault when fighting on the ice, which I think they should be, and the same rules apply to movies, TV, photography, books, magazines, music/songs, paintings, dance and all other forms of human story-telling.

    It's make-believe people ... IT'S NOT REAL!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    DS, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:16am

    Don't they say this every year?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:29am

    I firmly believe that video games function as a scape valve for people who are violent and it can help reduce violence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:59am

    Do human rights laws apply to orcs?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    The practically complete absence of rules or sanctions is nevertheless astonishing: civilians or protected objects such as churches or mosques can be attacked with impunity, in scenes portraying interrogations it is possible to torture, degrade or treat the prisoner inhumanely without being sanctioned for it and extrajudicial executions are simulated.

    So... should we censor history too? That's where many of these concepts come from - they don't come from games, they come from the history of humans, many games are modeled after that, with fantasy tossed in, of course.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:12am

    *Get the torch and pitchforks*

    Out..out...out of my games!!!!!!

    You wanna see violence? Yea, go ahead, start mucking around in my hobby.

    Get a life people.

    I blame reality TV for people trying to come up with the craziest sh#$T just to have their name plastered around. Now everyone wants their 15 min of fame. Instead of limiting it to reality tv, it's now bled over into IRL.

    Get back in your hole, the lot of you!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    trish, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    games?

    evn a frickin five year old understands the difference between a GAME and real WAR
    If you even think about comparing the two, you are a COLOSSAL idiot, and are crapping on the memories of real war victims and soldiers
    Face, meet palm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Squid Lips, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:53am

    "He who uses the law against his fellow man, is either a fool or a coward. He who can not live without that law is both.

    For a wounded man shall say to his assailant, "If I live, I will kill you. If I die, you are forgiven."

    Such is the rule of honor."

    The only rule we need.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    A Guy (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    Maybe I'm just being cynical but I could see a developer implementing war crimes achievements in game because of this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    Just a thought

    Has the Red Cross thought about a few games that have a different thought process to them, thereby respecting the Geneva Conventions by showing them?

    Warco happens to be one of those games. Instead of a gun, you have a camera. Instead of killing, your job is to document. Perhaps the Red Cross should look into making these unique ideas of storytelling instead of trying to enforce others to do the same.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    Ok - I agree that the Red Cross went about their objective in a totally self-defeating manner [Threating regulation? Really?], but ...

    I think their goal is a pretty good one. Whether you agree or disagree that video games influence real-world actions, they most cirtainly challenge players to think critically and make decisions that impact the game world. Players should be informed and challenged to complete their objectives with consideration of relevant conventions and treaties -- factual or fictional.

    In the process, players would encounter dilemmas parallel to those faced by our military and political leaders (obviously with consequences far more limitted). Within the game world, we would have a choice whether to uphold our standards possibly with greater challenge or risk to ourselves (our characters) or to violate them. And no Mike, the punishment does not have to be time served in a virtual jail cell - try to use a little more imagination. Punishment for violating the convention can come in a variety of manners be it increased resistance from local forces, defection of friendlies, etc (People only say etc when they run out of ideas, right? No argument here, but I trust our game designers can think of a few more).

    Every gamer will draw their own line, but one can hope that they will consider new possibilities outside of a shoot-first strategy that could frame or semi-accurately inform real-world debate. I think that is the goal of the Red Cross... not censorship.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Dementia (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 3:02pm

      Re:

      Dude, its a game. Is it really necessary to try to force people playing a game to think critically? Damn, I play games to blow off steam and relax, not to have to think critically about the consequences of my actions in it.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    AR (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 12:23pm

    reality check

    War is violent, cruel, and destructive. Its supposed to be. Thats kind of the point. Thats also why you try to avoid going to war in the first place. War crimes happen in every war on both sides, both real and virtual. Its just that the losers are held accountable for their crimes in order to show how the winner was justified in doing what they did. The people who play the video games know the difference between fantasy and reality. Thats why they are playing the game and not shooting up the neighborhood. The Red Cross are the ones who dont know the difference, They are just trying to rule the fantasy world because they are afraid of getting caught in the crossfire of the real world. They also know that, in the real world, they arent really making a differance in stopping war crimes. If people see that they arent making a differance, then they might wonder why they are giving them money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 1:10pm

    In Team Fortress 2, when a team wins, the opposing team drops their weapons and throws their hands into the air in a 'surrender' posture. But that doesn't stop the other team from mercilessly slaughtering them.

    Does that mean we can enact our War on TF2 now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Chris Mikaitis (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 2:52pm

    Noooooooooo...

    Final Boss Aproaching -

    Cute kid with lollipop: "What now mother fucker?"
    Me: "Noooooooooo..."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Dementia (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 3:00pm

    And obviously whoever wrote this hasn't been in Iraq or Afghanistan where out troops have come under fire from insurgents hiding in mosques, hospitals, or other "protected" structures.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 3:20pm

    All the other kids with the pumped up kicks better run, better run, outrun my joystick.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:26pm

    And here I thought it was about escapism

    Want reality? Sure. No respawn. Ever. If you die in-game, you're never allowed to play a video game again. Any video game. Ever.

    I mean, really. WTF?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2011 @ 2:34pm

    Dimensia

    "And obviously whoever wrote this hasn't been in Iraq or Afghanistan..." And you have? Outside of your video game world, I mean.
    "...where out troops have come under fire from insurgents...". Out troops? Gays in the military is a whole different debate. Besides, if a foreign power invaded your country, took it over, occupied it, and killed its people, wouldn't you become what the invaders would call an "insurgent"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Dec 6th, 2011 @ 3:04pm

    Red Cross and Video Games

    Two points:
    1. Worst Supreme Court ever. The only SC to elect a President in violation of the wishes of the public.
    2. "Pegging" at an extreme position undermines your argument. I will listen to reasonable people, but people who take very extreme, emotional positions on a subject are not compelling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    um hmm, Dec 8th, 2011 @ 11:58am

    fun fact: these conventions are not even enforced in real life.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Jose_X, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 2:25pm

    Flee restrictive games to scratch itch in reality??

    Let's say there is potential satisfaction is watching humans squirm, but there can be a dissatisfying effect from knowing a human is squirming. With games you can have the guilty pleasure (if you want that) without having to deal with the actual hurt and dissatisfaction that brings. You can explore and be more sure of how to handle such a situation should it ever arise.

    If people want to ignore the negatives to focus on any pleasure they might have attached to torture, they will feed that hunger with insects, animals, and work their way up.. game or no game. Games do however provide a safety net for those who don't want to get their hands dirty but don't want to be denied decision-making or any potential guilty itch-scratching.

    So, the Red Cross can certainly be brought into games to add game options and some of the reality we sometimes crave, but "can" and "must" are two different things.

    In fact, adding restrictions in a game may lead some to seek reality as a way to cheat and beat the game restrictions -- just what the Red Cross was trying to avoid!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This