1. *sits and waits patiently for the cries of “video games are murder simulators!” to start up again*

  2. Medal Call of Battle Honor Field Duty and all the rest are war simulators.

    That Unreal Engine piece of nasty, America’s Army, is a war simulator.

    Manhunt and Manhunt 2 — those were murder simulators.

    I am profoundly uncomfortable with ‘realistic’ simulation of current conflict as entertainment, uncomfortable with children playing these games, at least in part because I believe that it sets up a baseline understanding in their minds that ‘war isn’t actually all that bad, dude’, even if it doesn’t rise to the level of being explicitly verbalized. But I’m also uncomfortable with gun fetishism and the mainstreaming of porn and the failure of the 4rth estate and the sidelining of education in our culture and about a thousand other things besides.

    But the last time I talked about my discomfort with games like Call of Duty, over at Metafilter, a fairly vocal contingent of folks refused to listen to what I was saying and did their damnedest, it seemed to me, to shout me down and refute arguments I wasn’t actually trying to make. Which was annoying.

    So: not gonna take that bait this time, I don’t think. ;-)

  3. stavrosthewonderchicken said : But the last time I talked about my discomfort with games like Call of Duty, over at Metafilter, a fairly vocal contingent of folks refused to listen to what I was saying and did their damnedest, it seemed to me, to shout me down and refute arguments I wasn’t actually trying to make.

    I haven’t read that particular thread (or if I have, I’ve forgotten), but in general I feel like every time a debate along these lines come up (on Metafilter and elsewhere) there’s a disconnect in which people presume “I think maybe this game should not be made” is the same as “I think we should not allow this game to be made.” It’s not an unreasonable leap: many people decrying the existence of a thing also do advocate for its non-existence. But it is also an unnecessary leap that conflates two separable points.

    And it’s a touchy subject (games and the military), because it speaks to the broader issue of how society (American society, in this case) sees video games. Are they/can they be art? Are they for children or adults? And so forth. After all, we have books, movies, paintings, statues, theater and songs that extol the military as entertainment, and we have had those for centuries in some cases, if not longer. Conflict as entertainment is ancient; it is only the medium that is new.

    Getting to the post — which is about as-simulation-as-training, which is distinct from albeit related to simulation-as-entertainment — I’m reminded of America’s Army, which the last time I tried it had a set of missions set in a training center. People playing at home romped through a simulation of a simulation: playing as people training to be soliders, against people playing as other trainees playing the role of opponents of those soldiers. And now we have actual soldiers in training simulation exercises — is the loop about to come full circle? Will the next version of America’s Army see gamers sitting down to play at being soldiers who sit down to simulate actually fighting?

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