Damage and spin (Gaming)

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Saturday, March 20, 2021, 22:22 (46 days ago) @ Kermit

For the record, I have no problem with what they're describing. It's political because the game will present a variety of opinions about the politics of the war? Is that what people mean by "being political"? The impression I got from many comments was that the game damn well better come out in support a particular political narrative, else it's "inherently propaganda" against that narrative. Much of the disconnect might have to do with how people interpreted Tamte's original comment. I took it as "our purpose isn't to push a political narrative."

The opposition is much more thoughtful than that. It is worth a read.


Choice bits:

What they're doing in Six Days in Fallujah is actually using the [stories] of Marines...and having the player act out scenarios in which real Marines were actually involved. So now, you've made a promise, which is something that films don't do, certainly not something that Saving Private Ryan did. You're making a promise to transport people to the battlefield. You're making a promise to gamers to let them experience what it was like in Fallujah. It doesn't matter what the battlefield is -- that's empty, that's a hollow promise. You can't do that. There is no way you are going to portray anywhere near what it's like to be on a battlefield digitally.

John Phipps, a veteran involved in the Second Battle of Fallujah, expressed similar worries about the messaging surrounding the game, agreeing that a Western, military perspective on Fallujah was not a trustworthy one. "There is a massive unwillingness on the part of American media, no matter what form of media it is, to portray US soldiers as the antagonists or the bad guys, which, in that instance, we were," he said.

Tamte has attempted to counter concerns that the story will be solely focused on the US military perspective by noting that in at least one mission in Six Days in Fallujah, players will be in the shoes of an Iraqi civilian trying to flee the city. But many of those we spoke to mistrust this framing… None of this is helped by the fact that, as many of those we spoke to said, the group making Six Days in Fallujah seems very far removed from the reality of the situation they’re exploring. Highwire Games, they say, is a Western studio, and at least in appearances doesn't seem to have much Iraqi representation in its ranks -- or doesn't care to put that representation forward to lend itself authenticity.

Ultimately, Alex and several of the others I spoke to wish that the games already being made by Arab game developers -- regardless of whether or not they cover deeply traumatic events -- received the same kind of mainstream attention and consideration as Six Days in Fallujah. If games are to be used to build empathy, they said, it is better to uplift the art already being made by those who have been harmed by the Iraq War and its widespread consequences for Arabs and Muslims globally. Better, certainly, than making yet another war game with stories, true or otherwise, told through the intermediary of a Western, military-connected studio.

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