Vlambeer studio co-founder Rami Ismail issued a statement today to address concerns that its hit 2D fighting game Luftrausers "implies" that players are controlling Nazi pilots and aircraft during World War II. The concerns likely stem from the name, which is similar to the "Luftwaffe," the air force of the German Wehrmacht during World War II; and the uniforms worn by commanders in the game that look similar to uniforms worn by German officers during the war.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) issued a lengthy statement today noting that it is time that games involving war start including the actual laws of war. The IRCC says that this could be done without interfering with the fun that millions of players have playing first-person shooters.
Russian distributor 1C-SoftClub was forced to halt sales of the WWII real-time strategy game Company of Heroes 2 after consumers complained about the portrayal of Russian forces in the game. After numerous player complaints about Russian forces being portrayed as having a ruthless leadership and taking liberties with history, the distributor decided to stop shipping the game to retailers, and reached out to publisher Sega. Sega said that it was looking into these concerns.
Apple has refused to include Auroch Digital's Endgame: Syria on the Apple App Store and has removed Sweatshop HD - a collaboration between U.K. studio Littleloud and Channel 4, according to this Polygon report. Both games, it seems are a little too controversial for Apple.
A new game created by people that could best be described as pro al-Qaeda and wholeheartedly against the West have developed a game riddled with propaganda called Islamic Mali. The game lets players engage in aerial dogfights in the name of al-Qaeda against French forces. The game is fairly straightforward, simple and is played in top-down perspective.
The designer of an iOS game that focuses on Syria's ongoing civil war is defending his game and explaining why he created it in the first place: to inform those people around the world who might be ignorant about the conflict. The game, Endgame Syria, is decidedly pro rebel forces and gives players choices like negotiating peace with President Bashar Assad's regime or sending jihadist fighters to kill the pro-government military forces.
Three independent game companies have decided to work together to develop and publish independently developed strategy and war games. The Slitherine Group, Ageod, and Matrix Games have merged. The new super group will continue to develop and publish niche war and strategy games online and through other channels. The Slitherine Group released 30 titles in 2012 for a variety of platforms including PC, Mac, PS3, X360 and tablet platforms. Its games include Battle Academy on iPad, Commander- The Great War, Close Combat: Panthers in the Fog for PC, and many others.
Apparently Israel Defence Forces have decided to "gamify" their website to encourage viewers to promote the content, using a virtual game that awards visitors with badges and points for sharing pages through other social media sites. The gamification of the site actually happened way back in July but had a spotlight shined upon it today in this GameSpot Australia report.
World of Tanks, World of Airplanes, and World of Warships creators Wargaming announced this morning that they are "fully underwriting" aircraft enthusiast David Cundall's efforts to recover British Spitfires reportedly buried in Burma at the end of World War II. The company's investment in Mr. Cundall's will allow him and the Burmese authorities to pursue the long-standing mystery of the Pacific theater.
The Truman National Security Project plans to launch a browser-based game this week that explores the United States' political and military involvement with Iran, according to a report in Defense News. The group describes itself as an institute that recruits and trains progressives to lead on national security issues.
A new video game developed by a 19-year-old student and promoted by the Azerbaijani government lets players change the results of the Spring 1992 capture of the Nagorno Karabakhi town of Shusha by Armenian and Nagorno Karabakhi forces. The battle marked the turning point in the conflict for control of the territory.
Gamasutra has a fascinating article on how developers in war-torn regions cope with developing games in the midst of chaos and bloodshed created by violence. Some, like Radwan Kasmiya from Syria, have fled to other countries but still find the wars they ran away from having a long arm and a strong influence on the ability to practice their craft.
Game developer Wargaming America is working hard to bring some game-based virtual simulation to the USS IOWA. The battleship recently took its final voyage to dock at the port of Los Angeles, where it will serve as a museum beginning next month. Wargaming's simulation promises to bring the battleship's "history to life by creating a bridge experience and an aerial combat game that will live on the ship and showcase its firepower and aerial defenders in action."
You might want to sit down for this.
There’s a popular war video game out there that not only allows players to shoot hundreds upon hundreds of human characters but it also features the horrific and brutal snuffing out of a small and innocent life.
Yes, in Electronic Arts’ recently released Battlefield 3, players can kill a virtual rat.
The United States Army is using Crytek’s CryEngine 3 game engine technology to create a new simulation to help train soldiers. The Army plans to spend $57 million on the project. The technology that will go into the simulation and the technology to use it is being developed by Orlando-based Intelligent Decisions. The Dismounted Soldier Training System (DSTS) enables soldiers and units to train inside a video game environment that features real weather conditions, realistic graphics, squad-based interactions, and advanced motion sensor technology that provides full 360-degree movement within the game.
Wired’s Danger Room columnist recently took a trip to the Association of the U.S. Army conference held in Washington D.C. to get a look at the latest and greatest gadgets that contractors are developing for America’s armed forces.
Among the items was a videogame, dubbed Call of Duty: Afghanistan by Wired, which allows trainees to work on a variety of skills, including maneuvering and leadership tactics.
A ForeignPolicy.com piece on the state of war videogames asks if such titles are bringing the reality of current conflicts into the living rooms of gamers, or simply exploiting them for commercial gain.
A good chunk of the piece centers on the recently released Medal of Honor, in light of the controversy it generated. That controversy, the author writes, “wouldn't have occurred even five or six years ago,” as “video game studios seemed to be reticent about tackling contemporary conflicts, preferring instead to crank out games based in abstracted worlds and full of abstracted enemies.”
A columnist for the United Arab Emirates-based Khaleej Times has penned an opinion piece examining the subject of how Western made games impact (and depict) Middle Easterners.
Aijaz Zaka Syed begins by noting that his son’s favorite games are of a violent nature, and typically originate “in the land of the free." Such games are shaped by “the simplistic, With-Us or-Against-Us doctrine propounded by, you know who.”
The author tries to remind his son that the action happening on the screen is “just a game,” and that “things are not what they seem to be in the movies and videogames,” but he worries about the impression the games might be having on his off spring.
While critics of videogames would have you believe that they are efficient little murder simulations, an NPR editorial from Benjamin Busch begs to differ. Who is Benjamin Busch and why does his opinion carry more weight than most? Because he is an United States Marine Corps infantry officer who has served in Iraq on two combat tours.
Busch talks about the war games of youth - playing war in Brooklyn where kids played Allied forces and Germans and controlling the flow of war in a sandbox filled with army men. While the medium has changed since those days, the way war is played has not.
Busch points out that the reason that video games can never be like real-life war is that they do not usually contain elements that are unfair like real-life "invisible snipers" that pick off your friends. Here is a portion of what he says about that:
While Electronic Arts made the adjustment to rename the Taliban to “Opposing Force” in the multiplayer part of Medal of Honor, a ban on the game appearing in GameStop stores located in Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) locations is still in place.
The decision by AAFES officials puzzled a Stars & Striped columnist, who inventoried other violent games available in AAFES locations, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV.
A piece appearing on the website of The Heights, Boston College’s student newspaper, says it’s “too soon” for Electronic Arts to base a game in Afghanistan and calls the setting of Medal of Honor “disrespectful.”
The article’s author pulls no punches, labeling game developers “desperate and unoriginal” and “moving in all the wrong directions to please their audiences.”
The ability to play as the Taliban in MOH’s multiplayer component, a component since renamed, was termed, “neither educational nor acceptable and goes against every ounce of American patriotism pumping through the veins of our country's citizens.”
The columnist continues:
While there’s no doubt Electronic Arts totally succumbed to pressure when it removed the Taliban (in name only) from the upcoming Medal of Honor videogame, a letter written to the Colorado Retail Council (CRC) by a former Congressman and ex-Air Force General shows the type of opponents EA was assembling as media hysteria about the game spread.
In a letter dated September 30, just a day before EA announced its change to Medal of Honor, former Colorado Republican Congressman Scott McInnis and Bentley Rayburn (pictured left and right respectively), a retired U.S. Air Force General, affixed their names to a letter urging the CRC to denounce the Medal of Honor game.
As seen on the Colorado Springs Independent website, the pair argued their case to CRC President Christopher Howes, calling the ability to play as the Taliban a “complete disgrace” and adding that “out of respect to our troops no retailer in Colorado should sell it.”
The duo continued:
Did not see this one coming, but via Kotaku (thanks Cheater87!), Electronic Arts has folded like a cheap suit and announced that it is renaming the Taliban forces in its upcoming Medal of Honor game to the more benign “Opposing Force.”
To be fair, Medal of Honor Greg Goodrich, in a statement on the game’s website, indicated that the renaming was done in response to “reverence for American and Allied soldiers.”
More from Goodrich:
In a bid to clear up any “misunderstanding about the patriotism” at the heart of the game hated by defense ministers around the world, Electronic Arts will offer an open beta for the PC versions of its Medal of Honor game ahead of the title’s October 12th release.
PC owners will be able to take part in the open multiplayer beta from October 4th through midnight of October 7. The beta will consists of two maps (Shahikot Mountains and Kunar Base) and a pair of game modes (Combat Mission and Sector Control).
EA Games President Frank Gibeau offered:
We also hope that by offering the Multiplayer Open Beta, we can clear up any misunderstanding about the patriotism and respect that are the foundation of this game. The Medal of Honor franchise has always shown extraordinary reverence for American and Allied soldiers -- this game is no exception.
An opinion piece in a Fort Meyers, Florida newspaper describes the ability to take on the role of insurgents in the upcoming Electronic Arts game Medal of Honor as games reaching an “all-time low level.”
Taking a page (or bait?) from UK Defense Secretary Liam Fox, who urged retailers not to sell the title, the author of the News-Press editorial posed a similar challenge to readers:
…we do suggest that Americans at the very least refuse to buy 'Medal of Honor.' We suggest that retailers refuse to stock it. And we especially suggest that parents not allow their children to own or play it.
GamePolitics reader Dante pointed us towards a short Finnish recounting (translated) of an article from a Danish newspaper, which appeared to indicate that the Medal of Honor “scare” started by Fox News, and perpetuated by UK Defense Secretary Liam Fox, had spread to Denmark.
In a pair of articles published on the Danish website MetroXpress, while the game did come under some criticism—it was described as “disrespectful” to soldiers from that country who served in Afghanistan—reasoning that Medal of Honor is just a game took over after a tersely worded introduction.
A Canadian researcher (and conspiracy theorist), who focuses on the “causative forces behind major changes in historical development” and believes that culture is “created and altered by those in control, always to lead the people like sheep into the next pasture,” believes that videogames, of course, are a part of this process.
Alan Watt has written a series of books on the subject and operates a website entitled Cutting Through the Matrix. In a YouTube video, Watts says about humanity, “The average person is so out of touch, so incredibly out of touch, with the only true reality there is, that it’s a different world all together. They cannot tell fact from fiction anymore.”
On entertainment in general he offers, “You cannot be entertained today and enjoy it. If you watch any of these movies… as soon as you’ve identified with these characters, you’ve lost it and you’ve been indoctrinated. They are downloading into you.”