Schlechte Aussichten für Anti-Kriegs -Shooter

Vor vier Jahren habe ich über „Anti War Games“ geschrieben. Seitdem ist (entgegen meiner Befürchtungen) ein wirklich sehr guter Anti-Kriegs-Shooter entwickelt worden. „Spec Ops: The Line“ wurde von der Kritik zurecht hoch gelobt. Das Videospiel ist eine Neuinterpretation von Joseph Conrads Klassiker „Herz der Finsternis“ (das auch schon „Apokalypse Now“ inspirierte).  Leider wird es vermutlich keine Fortsetzung des Spiels geben. Laut Gamestar hat sich das Spiel schlicht zu schlecht verkauft. Sie zitieren den Yager Studio Gründer Timo Ullmann:

»Die Leute, die sich für einen intellektuelleren Ansatz interessieren«, sagt er, »werden vermutlich immer eine kleine Minderheit bleiben. Eine Elite, wenn man so will. Bei den Kosten, die hinter den absoluten Top-Produktionen stecken, wird es immer ein großes Risiko sein, das Spiel zu sehr auf diese Gruppe zuzuschneiden.«

Zum Artikel auf Gamestar.

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Anti War Games?

There are great anti war films which leave you with the feeling „never again“. But how about games? In all ego shooters I know disabling enemies (by killing them) is the core element and therefore has to be fun. Otherwise the game would not be played and bought. So can anti war games (even ego shooter ones) work?

Yesterday I wrote about a leaked U.S. military video closely resembling the level „Death From Above“ from Call of Duty 4.
There is another game the leaked video reminded me of: It is the free flash game September 12th by newsgaming. In this game you can also bring death from above, in this case to „insurgent looking“ as well as unarmed inhabitants of a middle eastern town. But every time you kill a civilian, others gather to moan him and turn into insurgent themselves. The indirect controls are designed so you can’t only kill the gunners – so the longer you play the higher rises the rate of insurgents.
Coming back to the question „can anti war games work“? September 12th is anti war, but is it a game? You can’t win or loose. It is more an interactive caricature than a game.
September 12th is not fun to play – similar to an anti war movie which is usually not fun to watch. Big budged anti war movies can be commercially sucessfull in a free market, but I don’t see that happening for big budged anti war games.
I have heard a project to make an anti war (or a least war critic) ego shooter. I am thrilled to find out how it will achieve being anti war while being fun to play.

Virtual and real deaths

Wikileaks released a U.S. Military video showing the killing of 16 civilians including two Reuters Photographers. Please note that the video is very disturbing and graphic (link). Why I write on it here? It looks and sounds VERY similar to the Call of Duty level „Death From Above“ (game play video) which made it even more disturbing for me. I thought about why that might be the case.
I think the reason is that I felt guilty that I enjoyed playing the level. Back then I already had a bad feeling noticing the cold blooded commentaries and the unrealistic easy distinction between „good“ and „bad“ fighters as well as neutral civilians. But playing the level still was great fun. And that I felt that fun makes me feel sick now.
It might be interesting to use both videos when discussing media usage with young adults.