Stop that game! (2)

There are many grounds for which people object to certain kinds of video games. Another in the list concerns wargames that are made about modern conflicts, either comparatively recent ones, or actually ongoing military actions.

Games about ongoing military actions are somewhat rare. There aren’t really that many major actions, and creating a game can take a good deal longer than settling a conflict by force (though there are unfortunate exceptions).

Whether it is about a recent action or an ongoing one, though, a common complaint from assorted pressure groups is that such military simulations cheapen or trivialize “the plight of soldiers.” Worse, that in their multiplayer incarnations, the games allow players to play the opposing forces, such as the Taliban.

Of course, without an opposing force, multi-player would be a bit weak. Spawn in 50 US marines, who then stand around uncomfortably for a few minutes with nothing to do before someone says “Screw this. Let’s go play World of Warcraft.”

A much better question is, what do military servicepeople actually think about these games? Do the people who have been a part of actual warfare think these games are in bad-taste? That the games trivialise or cheapen the plight of soldiers?

Joseph Jackmovich has an interview on just that subject with nine members of the US Armed Forces. If you’ve wondered about the answer to these questions, it is well worth your time.

3 thoughts on “Stop that game! (2)”

  1. A army without an OPFOR of any sort is just a police force with too many toys and too much time. Kudos to these folks for being okay with recent military action in games, even if it gets uncomfy at times.

  2. I’ve played old Avalon Hill and SPI wargames for more than 3 decades. In the 70s I was told they would make me a warmongering Nixonian, then in the 80s a Reaganite warbot. Many of my gaming friend then were active or former military. We spent a lot of time talking about the accuracy of simulations then, in terms of rules, orders of battle, and terrain.

    I started playing D&D in the 80s and was told I’d become a pawn of Satan or a loser living in a basement. Despite all this warping, I’ve become a left-leaning college prof (kinda redundant, that, though I’m to the right of my colleagues) who still enjoys WWII history, RPGs, and lots of outdoor activity like hiking, canoeing, fishing, and biking. Gee, I like shooting sports, too. Does that mean wargames made me a gun-toting goon?

    Same old same old, until the morons who critique games get enough political power.

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