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tamias6

World War II Video Games

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Recently the History Channel as created a World War II video game called Battle for the Pacific in which players are thrown into the heat of battles like Iwo Jema. I'm sure the game is well put together. However I'm wondering about the morality of such games like Battle for the Pacific and Metal of Honor. Are these World War II themed games harmless entertainment or are these games sensationalizing a horrible moment in Human History?

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It's all in good fun, I've never played one of these games and lost sight of what history has taught me. But then again teenagers are a different story and they may view things completely different from me.

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I don't see a problem with them. Many of the games are historically consistent with actual events, and maybe people actually learn something about history from them.

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I thought about this when the last version of Call of Duty hit the shelves. I have mixed feelings about war-based video games:

On the positive side, they are fairly educational and provide a much more accurate notion of what war was really like than WWII films contemporary with the battles. This is especially true in the more difficult settings, where you basically get shot and killed as soon as you hit the battlefield.

On the negative side, most players experience these games on an easier difficulty setting, where they can walk through a hail of gunfire and suffer no more than a bump in their health-meter. It's a little bit sick to produce a video game where you run around shooting people in the face -- especially when those video-game portraits are supposed to represent actual human beings who died a painful death in exactly those same circumstances. In Call of Duty you kill literally thousands of enemy troops across the course of the game, which would easily make your character the most brutal killer in military history. That doesn't jive with reality and I have a bit of a problem with a company selling that product to children (and, no doubt, that is a large part of the market they target).

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I think well produced video games based on real military tactics and situations can provide individuals with a good insight the horrors and randomness of life and death in war. However, run and gun games are a different story.

Tom Clancy's games always seemed pretty realistic to me. I don't how many times I said to myself glad I'm not doing this in real life when my characters died in from unseen fire or had their position over-ran. There are no continues in real life.

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I think they are harmless entertainment. First person shooter games like Medal of Honor (or the great Wolfenstein 3D) are supposed to be fun. If someone who plays Medal of Honor thinks that WWII was that easy and/or fun in real life, then that person is a moron. And, if our society thinks that "Medal of Honor" should be a tool for educating children about WWII, then we have a big, big problem.

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^ The problem is that kids typically don't have a parent sitting over their shoulder explaining the relative realism of each video game they play. Parental involvement often stops at the decision whether or not to purchase the game; after that, it's just like any other toy to be played with unsupervised. So it's completely understandable that a teenager -- or even an adult -- who is constantly playing a war game can begin to formulate a concept of combat that reflects what is seen in the game. Not only have psychological studies shown this to be the case, we have seen it in action in several of the highly-publicized school shootings over the past decade. Kids show up strapped with weapons, and just walk down the hall shooting at random because that is how they visualize real-life combat.

I agree with Rural_King that the better games are those that provide true-to-life battle situtations. Even Medal of Honor, in its more realistic moments, can give you a knot in your stomach when you find yourself pinned down by gunfire or in the middle of a bombing raid.

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I've always enjoyed playing war based video games based on WWII battles, scenarios, and even from other conflicts in human history. There are times I've played the good (Allies for WWII) and the bad (Axis/Nazis) in these scenarios. (I like to play the historical loser because it's usually a much greater stategic challenge) I enjoy the games but they shouldn't be any kind of an educational tool for our children, and if they are viewed by folks as such I have to agree with an earlier post, these folk are morons.

I also agree that parental involvment could help shed the light of reality on the history these games area based on.

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If all else fails, get addicted to World of Warcraft like I did earlier in the year. :D It's all fantasy, so it's not based on any real war to begin with. :thumbsup:

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I don't see a problem with them. Many of the games are historically consistent with actual events, and maybe people actually learn something about history from them.

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^ But is it really all about small children? The bulk of the evidence seems to show that teens and adults are just as likely to internalize the violence portrayed in shoot-'em-up video games and try to enact it in their real lives.

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^ But is it really all about small children? The bulk of the evidence seems to show that teens and adults are just as likely to internalize the violence portrayed in shoot-'em-up video games and try to enact it in their real lives.

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^ I'm not speaking about legal protections, just the ethics of entertainment (per the topic). I don't think the government needs to step in and protect adults, as there is no legal or moral justification for that kind of intervention. But videogame makers should feel an ethical responsibility not to market escapist violence.

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True. Thanks for clarifying. Sadly in an age when shock value means easy money, ethics will never be put into the production of video games or into entertainment in general.

^ I'm not speaking about legal protections, just the ethics of entertainment (per the topic). I don't think the government needs to step in and protect adults, as there is no legal or moral justification for that kind of intervention. But videogame makers should feel an ethical responsibility not to market escapist violence.

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