Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's Six Days in Fallujah

April 9, 2009 -

A group representing the families of U.S. military personnel who died in Iraq and Afghanistan has expressed its dismay over Konami's upcoming Six Days in Fallujah.

Via press release, Gold Star Families Speak Out suggested that the war game will cause additional pain for those who lost loved ones in the conflict:

We question how anyone can trivialize a war that continues to kill and maim members of the military and Iraqi civilians to this day.

The war is not a game and neither was the Battle of Fallujah. For Konami and [developer] Atomic Games to minimize the reality of an ongoing war and at the same time profit off the deaths of people close to us by making it 'entertaining' is despicable.

GSFSO member Joanna Polisena, whose brother was killed in Iraq in 2004, said:

When our loved one's 'health meter' dropped to '0', they didn't get to 'retry' the mission. When they took a bullet, they didn't just get to pick up a health pack and keep 'playing'...they suffered, they cried, they died. We - their parents, siblings, spouses, children and friends - absolutely find it disgusting and repulsive that those so far detached (and clinging to denial of reality) find it so easy to poke fun at such a thing.


Comments

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

don't worry...as soon as all the baby boomers are dead/not in power, this kind of crap won't happen. maybe. more than likely, we'll just find something else "objectionable" to get up in arms about.

 

It is not murder; I am merely advancing the hands of the clock, just a bit.

It is not murder; I am merely advancing the hands of the clock, just a bit.

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

And never even stopped to think that this might actually be trying to HONOR our troops? Trying to encourage empathy for our brave fighters?

No. All video games are evil, and if they relate to real life, they dishonor us.

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

I was gonna say, if anything games like Call of Duty give you a greater respect for those who have given/give their lives in such conflicts.

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

Really? For me it's the opposite. 

For one, none of the troops in these games are particularly human in any real sense of the word. They're very two dimensional characters, easily killed and forgotten. You shoot them and they die a silent, meaningless, instantly forgettable death. The fact that I kill a thousand of them in the course of a 10 hour campaign doesn't help. They're not particularly intelligent or memorable either. They curse a lot and generally seem like brainless barbarians when they speak without cursing.

 

 

 

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's Six

"When our loved one's 'health meter' dropped to '0', they didn't get to 'retry' the mission. When they took a bullet, they didn't just get to pick up a health pack and keep 'playing'...they suffered, they cried, they died. We - their parents, siblings, spouses, children and friends - absolutely find it disgusting and repulsive that those so far detached (and clinging to denial of reality) find it so easy to poke fun at such a thing."

 

I know this will sound heartless, but, would she have said anything if this were a book or a movie?

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's Six

If it were made into a good movie then it likely would convey just how terrible battle is by showing how the soldiers suffered, cried, and died. Generally players don't get a real feel for how horrible war is through a video game as developers focus on making the gameplay and making sure players will have fun... with a movie, the goal is to captivate an audience, and they can do this in many different ways, but with games the main goal is generally to make the game fun. 

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's Six

She probably would have said: "When our loved ones dies, they couldn't just flip back a few pages or hit rewind...(continue with rest of regular quote".

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

Where was all this outrage when Medal Of Honor first did Normandy?

If you go crazy then I will still call you Superman.

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

A lot of veterans complained then too. But nobody cared, because those verterans were old and old people are icky.

--------------------------------------------------------

Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

-------------------------------------------------------- Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! GET OFF MY PHONE! -Glenn Beck

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

absolutely find it disgusting and repulsive that those so far detached (and clinging to denial of reality) find it so easy to poke fun at such a thing.

um.. again.. like i keep asking all of these critics... uh.. what exactly do they know that we dont?

Where does it 'poke fun' at those who died?

where does it glorify it?

where does it trivialise it?

Sorry... but these are baseless assumptions, based on no other evidence except that the medium is a video game, and it utterly winds me up, as that isnt evidence of anything.

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

That's my question. Unless they are cracking jokes and filling it wilth pro war propaganda, then I don't see how it's any more offensive than making a movie about it or a book.

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's Six

I still disagree.

They are making these comments under the pretense that Midway is going to "trivialize a war that continues to kill and maim members of the military and Iraqi civilians to this day."

How can anyone make these comments without at least seeing a treatment for the story line or some kind of proof of concept?

All I see here is people pressing the "hot button" because its a game. And as far as these famlies are concerned, (or at least what I can tell of their reactions) no game can be made that is (tasteful?, respective?) to the events that have transpired in Fallujah.

We'll forgoe the fact that there are many game developers who have handled war games with the utmost respect (Infinity Ward, Treyarch, etc.) and accuracy deserved of a game based on a wars that killed so many people.

So to these famalies I ask, when is it ok? When is it "too soon?" Does a decade have to pass before its ok? Two decades? Five?

When did just the mere idea of a game become offensive? Oh thats right, when the subject matter hands you a soapbox to stand upon.

(I apologise if this sounds insensitive, but it's a free country and a free market. When did appropriateness start to matter in capitalism?)

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

I think Dan Rosenthal actually addressed this pretty well in the previous 6DIF article on GP.  A game simply isn't going to recreate the experiences that the Atomic CEO claims it will, and to suggest that it can or will is insulting.

BUT! That's NOT what this article is about.  This is about a group of families/survivors claiming that a game about the war shouldn't be made at all.  And that is wrong.  Why is the fact that the war is ongoing matter?  Why is it somehow more objectionable than WWII- or Vietnam-era games?  What is the problem with making Yet Another Pseudo-Historical FPS Game that happens to be set in Iraq?

Dan's objection has been the only valid one to date.

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's Six

I must ask yet again. Why is it when someone wants to make a politically charged game, it automatically means they creator is trivializing or glorifying the event?

Also, why is it when someone makes a movie or writes an article/book about the same event noone really cares?

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's Six

"I must ask yet again. Why is it when someone wants to make a politically charged game, it automatically means they creator is trivializing or glorifying the event?"

Because in this case every single other game about war has trivialised or glorified war to an extent. So unless you have a problem with induction, its entierly rational to argue this game will do the same.

Then of course this particular war is still happening, and has involved thousands of innocent deaths, so its only reasonable that people would be upset about this.

"Also, why is it when someone makes a movie or writes an article/book about the same event noone really cares?"

Well for one people do complain when movies trivialise or glorify events.

But yeah games probably do get more attention, but thats because in all seriousness they simply don't approach these issues in the same way films do. Games have to be fun. Therefore when you go and make a fun game about an issue such as war, you are.... well gloryfying it to some extent.

 

you can argue that films also have to be entertaining, but its clearly in a different way to how a video game must be fun. A film like Apocalypse Now for example is enteraining because it delves into deep issues of war and shows it for what it is. Fucked up. The same thing simply does not happen when you play a video game because you have fun.

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

Because no one reads, so books don't matter.

-- Obi

-- Obi

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's Six

The difference is that FPS games are geared towards being fun and entertaining; this generally involves focus on the gameplay and keeping the game action packed, keep players in the heat of the battle. Movies and Books on the other hand only need to captivate an audidence and this can be done in many ways.

A movie can take the time to show how terrible war is, it can spend several minutes wactching a person die, or have a soldier spend like 10 minutes reflecting on everything he has seen. Movies can go deep into the politics of the war, into the deeper characteristics of the soldiers... Movies are able to use the element of subtlety, that can really help generate emotion... games do not tend to do this as much as such moments are considered to be too slow paced and are not as fun. All those things that would been seen in movies can only be done through cut scenes which many FPS games tend to keep to a minimal as to get the player back into the action; RPG game players tend not to mind cutscenes that are like 15 minutes long, but FPS players tend to want to get back to the action.

A difference could be seen in a portrayal of D-Day... you look at saving private Ryan and you will see and pay attention to allall the soldiers that die in that fight, noticing how they die and what not... in a video game, they could do the same thing but it's hardly worthwhile as the player is unliekly to pay attention to all those details going on around him... The player's primary focus is looking out for the enemies and killing them... because the player pays less attention to all the other soldiers suffering and dying, he does not feel the sense of "War is horrible"; not as good as a sense as someone watching a movie...

Essentially, the difference between games and movies/books in this case is that movies have their heaviest focus on character, story and development, where as the primary focus for FPS games is action; story and so forth tends to get a back seat to making the game fun and challenging... Only time movies and Books could be compared to games in this respect is when they are just action flicks where, like most FPS games, the focus is on the action and the story and what not is treated as an after thought.

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's Six

This opinion seems to be written from the perspective that FPS's in general are still Doom.  Sorry, old boy.  Progress has been made.  The days where the biggest threat to the player was two Spider Masterminds in a single room have long been over.  The genre is no longer Red Key = Red Door and it's about time the attitude and acceptance of the media grows up a bit too.

You CAN spend time on the characters in a story.  Take, as an example, Half-Life 2.  Despite being combat focused, you learn the characters various roles well.  So when something happens to them, you feel it.  Call of Duty 4 did this well too.  You spent many frantic moments with those marines only to witness their death.  Creating emotional attachment to characters isn't as tricky as people like yourself make it seem.  After all, Shadow of the Collosus made us care about a mode of transportation (Argo the horse).  And here's another example that will of course be overlooked.  The Darkness.  Your time spent with Jenny (provided you didn't just rush through that section) made witnessing her death that much more painful.

Fact of the matter is, even in FPS's, games have been growing up in the ways that they tell their story.  It is entirely possible that, with proper scripting, they could make you feel empathy and sorrow from within the battlefield.  Hell, this could even get the message out about what those dead families members went through.  But instead you've trivialized any efforts or progress the game medium has made.  Saddest part is if this company just would have made the exact same game and named it "Six Days in Balekistan," you wouldn't care.  Same events, same story, same death... we'll just make up a new name for the place so you people won't have to think about it.

And finally, the comments the CEO made were commenting on the challenge of telling a story like this while still being entertaining.  THAT'S offensive?  Your goddam newspaper has the exact same concern.  Whatever media you consume has to be entertaining otherwise it has failed.  His comment didn't mean Nazi Sorcerers riding mechanical catfish will play a major role in Level 8.  His comment meant he needs to present this story in a way that people will complete it.

Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

And here's another example that will of course be overlooked.  The Darkness.  Your time spent with Jenny (provided you didn't just rush through that section) made witnessing her death that much more painful.

YES! That was one of the shining moments of my recent gaming, the fact that I actually managed to be pissed off at the guy that killed her rather than think "Oh well, at least I don't have to watch TV with her and she never put out a anyway".

Sure the rest of the game was pretty shit but character wise it was gold. The only other game that sparked a deeper emotional reaction than a laugh or frustration at shitty design was the ending of Grim Fandango

 

His comment didn't mean Nazi Sorcerers riding mechanical catfish will play a major role in Level 8

Yeah thats just nuts, its on level 12!

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's Six

*Warning, Call of Duty 4 spoiler*

I don't know...Call of Duty 4's scene where you are the marine that dies from the atomic bomb, THAT scene created a huge "whoa...that is fucking horrible" moment for me, actually gave me goosebumps just thinking about it. I thought that CoD4 did a great job of combining cinematics with addrenaline, and throwing in some political meaning with it too.

And also, the main reason I watch movies is for the action, and the story should be *just* behind it in importance, even if it's meant to be a more political movie. I like seeing the evidence straight in front of me, and then I may derive the meaning from it afterwards.

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

As a survivor of a Marine killed in the battle for Fallujah, the horrible thing isn't so much the game itself as the insane things that the CEO of Atomic Games says about it. He trivializes the reality of violence by pretending that a game can reproduce it. All it reproduces is the appearance; no game can show what it is like to be in a chaotic, out-of-control situation where lives are on the line. Ask any combat veteran, cop, firefighter, paramedic, dispatcher, etc.

I am also a member of the group that put out the press release.

Nick Arnett

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

Until we hear Konami make pretentious claims of how their game will transcend realism, there's not much to talk about here.

GameSnooper

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

World War 2. Vietnam. Cold War. Troy. Rome. Gaul. Need I go on? The argument given applies to all games about all struggle, whether real or fictional. Then how come all those others are allowed, yet this one isn't? Are all games about Vietnam and world wars disrespective of the fallen, victims and survivors of those struggles?

Paschendaele alone, over half a million dead. Operation Overlord, over half a million dead. Vietnam War, a million and a half.

I do not find the information so far to be trivializing the dead, the pain and sorrow of Fallujah. I find, however, groups like yours to be trivializing all the dead that have come before. Their sacrifices, their legacy, all matter not, because you yourself were not involved. Only the struggle where you were matters.

You all disgust me.

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

no game can show what it is like to be in a chaotic, out-of-control situation where lives are on the line. Ask any combat veteran, cop, firefighter, paramedic, dispatcher, etc.

may i ask therfore, why a book or a movie can do this and a game cannot?

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

So if the problem is with what the developers/CEO are saying about it, why is this group complaining about the game without knowing much about it?

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Families of U.S. War Dead Join Outcry Against Konami's ...

I must ask yet again. Why is it when someone wants to make a politically charged game, it automatically means they creator is trivializing or glorifying the event?

And if an action-packed game isn't being "serious", the game gets critisized for lacking any educational value. Damned if you do, damned if you don't...

GameSnooper

It's because of the medium I think

Movies, books are generally used to convey a story, oppinion, etc... While conventional thinking still takes video games as just that a game. I think Most people still see games as Pac Man. Mindless fun when a game takes on a complicated story such as this one. I think people don't see it as an attempt to convey the story of what happened. Atleast Konami's take on the events.

 

Still though. If I had a family member die there. I don't think I'd be preordering this game anytime soon.

 
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