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    • CommentAuthorKunundrum
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
    The games are probably like they are because the guys who grew up playing them are finally able to make them, and can make them how they want. Most boys play with guns when they're little, and it translate well into videogames. They're detailed because it makes it better, and they have to research tthe topic with people involved with what the games about so people don't tear them apart for it being fake. And as far as the recruiters go, to me it's no different if they're sponsoring or advertising with video games, or if they're outside of a highschool, which happened to me all the time. Once again, there could be more to it, but I don't think so.
  1.  (112.2)
    I have a buddy who did some time as a Lieutenant in Afghanistan and he told me a story about using some very basic flanking tactics to take out some Taliban who were holed up in a building and he said it was so much like Rainbow Six or Ghost Recon that it frightened him a little.

    Some background on Red Storm might be good here.

    The Tom Clancy games are modeled on real tactics and realistic combat models - yes.

    They are not, however, trying to sell the military, but rather attract a game audience who wanted (nay demanded) super realism in their combat games. This is actually the reverse of what people are theorizing here, these games are built on using military legitimacy to sell software not software to sell the military.

    They are aimed squarely at arm chair combat geeks who want to be rangers just like super realistic combat flight simulators are aimed at the same who want to be top gun.
      CommentAuthorIan Mayor
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007 edited
    To JTraub

    I believe Red Storm produced training tools for the military based on a version of Raibow Six which they developed in tandem with Rogue Spear. Or at least, they claimed they did during an EDGE Studio profile 8, 9 years ago (I can't find reference to this online but this wired article indicates a former Red Strom producer left the company to head up the America's Army Game development.)

    There is certainly a strange synergy between games development and the miltary, I've known games programmers who have worked in the Star Wars programme and at GCHQ and it's not uncommon for a dev team to consult with ex miltary types for purposes of 'realism' in games and to add a bit of colour to the environments and scenarios your creating (I've had the dubious honour of being teargassed by John Mac (at the base in Abergavenny they shot that clip) during one such consulatation, he was entertaining and terrifying in equal measure).
  2.  (112.4)
    Ian, sounds right, I had written something about the development but did not have the facts, so deleted. There is certainly extensive synergy - but very little of it can be clearly drawn to the idea the games (other then America's Army) are marketing tools for recruitment or training for kids in disguise.

    Rather there is a large market for "realism" that dovetails with the needs of the army for training people already enlisted.

    Somewhere there is a old story of IGN(?)'s editors having a 5 on 5 bout agaisnt actual rangers in one of the Rainbow Six games- and how the fidelity real world to game world translation meant the game editors where toast in under 10 seconds.
    every time.
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
    American's Army has always been offered up as a recruiting tool. The Army themselves were actually extremely forthcoming about this when they released it. And as was mentioned, it's pretty old.

    As far as I'm aware it was written off as a failure, too. They spent a lot of money to "get it right" (and they did, it's quite solid) but virtually everyone who plays it either already is in the military or has no urge to join and just wants to play some online shooters with their buddies.

    So, now they do things like find a game that they know a lot of young males will play (hi there, Halo!) and sponsor it in some way to get their name up there. Same as any other form of advertising. The story of Halo itself had been predetermined in rough form quite some time before the actual title was shipped; they actually altered the plot to focus more on the Flood and less on the Covenant well before the first game was released. On top of that, you've got half the alien army breaking off and joining the humans at the end of the second game, so, eh, I dunno how many real-world parallels you can really draw there. It's pretty much a pure sci-fi shootemup. It's got about as much politics in it as World of Warcraft. Really it just boils down to a bunch of angry teenagers calling each other as many combinations of homophobic and racial slurs as they can come up with while fighting over some digital turf, without a whole lot of real-world involvement behind it.

    The politics of the Grand Theft Auto serious are interesting. It's basically like South Park. It makes fun of absolutely everything and as a result it's sort of hard to pin down which "side" the creators fall on. Usually your main characters are the most stable people in the entire game, and they've still enacted what amounts to one-man genocide against the population of the world by the time the credits roll.
  3.  (112.6)
    I think there's a lot of interesting ideas in this discussion with regards to the intentions of game designers and/or their sponsors, but at the same time I can't help the nagging feeling that this is any different to the "Marilyn Manson caused Columbine" argument. Appointing blame to a creative medium is usually followed by attempts to remold that medium to better raise our children, but when it comes right down to it, what is essentially being promoted is a lack of confidence in human awareness.
  4.  (112.7)
    I feel that my penultimate post put ideas into sentences rather than in paragraphs which made it seem jumpy, so I apologise. What I am trying to get at is this:

    I think many of the values that generations hold are given to them, at least in part, by the stories they are told as they grow up. These stories always have some kind moral value in them whichever way you cut it: either by accident or design. They also always stick in your mind (if they are good memes – that’s another thread).

    I think that games are a very young medium. Too young to be viewed as art by Ebert et al and too young to be understood what, if any, effects that they may have. In this they share certain elements with the early stages of comic books - you know the moral-panic stories: Comics made my kids eat our cats ears or comics turned my kids Commie. However, they are a fast, profitable and effective way of telling a story, of wasting time or whatever else you can get out of them; they stick in the mind (check out the cult video games thread for evidence) and so have some lasting effect and therefore value in expressing ideas. Just as we would not appreciate neo-fascist ideas pumped into our eyes via film or TV so we shouldn’t receive it in other less highly regarded mediums (because computer games are for kids, apparently folks… they share that stigma with comic books).

    I just find it all faintly sinister.

    I see that kind of stuff in films all the damn time. For instance: I couldn’t watch the whole of Black Hawk Down without seething with rage at the bestial portrayal of the mobs; especially when they get mown down without a moment’s thought and every American receives slow-motion footage of them taking the bullets like men accompainied by trumpet fan-fares whenever they so much as break a nail (on top of that they then get dragged to the helicopter as the mob members... well, who knows?). Disguising this stuff with aliens or near future combat just doesn’t cut it with me.


    With regards to Sims as part of series I would say that it is simulating the management of a city or an ant-nest and or an entirely new species: the Sims title is clearly a pun meaning both of the terms you described. I always believed that simulations were meant to be as accurate as possible in their depiction of life. But it isn’t; it is instead a simulacrum of how American suburban life should be or even how people believe other people want it to be (uh). It instills routines (mundane routines) similar to a training toy like the kid's kitchenette, toy cars, toy soldiers or the crying/shitting baby doll (Roland Barthes Mythologies is well worth a read).

    I don’t think that:

    “the idea that games may express the normative values of society to the idea they are intentional propaganda to promote exclusionary or corrupt values”

    are very far apart. It’s a matter of money changing hands or of hiring a nutty writer (what are the chances, eh?) or even just a shift in perspective.

    MGS is definitely one of my all time favourite games and deals with complex issues lucidly. But, because soldiers and assassination is placed in Lucifer’s dream-box (Copyright - Bill Hicks) it seems to automatically glorify war (even if you are rewarded for not killing people, which is superb). The most stringent anti-war movie always falls at this point. Movies, games or story telling of any kind puts its subject matter (at least to some degree) on a pedestal to be analysed or looked over.

    Putting a turd on a pedestal in a gallery shouldn't make it art but, more often than not, it does (Just a crude analogy to be taken on face value).

    You are, of course, entirely right about the whole war in Sims-idea. I was mid rant and couldn’t help but think of designing my own recruitment office where the sergeant falls in the love with one of the admin girls but I always forget to take him to the toilet and hilarity ensues.

    I’m not saying to censor games or blaming them for anything. I just wondered if anyone else had noticed these little ticks popping up in this new and still developing format. You can’t say that evil forces haven’t even given it a look see, surely?

    Gentlemen: To evil!

    (sorry about the length... uh...)
  5.  (112.8)
    I forgot:


    The sims 2 gay thang? That was added after protest. Anyway, you are a lawyer and therefore far cleverer than me. It's been a pleasure to discuss computer games in this manner with all of you. This is the first message board I've ever joined and I think I'm hooked.

    Crazy thought: imagine you could get one of your characters to play Sims in Sims (like you can play maniac mansion in maniac mansion 2) wouldn't that be like THE russian doll of consumerist drugs?

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