Konami’s recently announced Six Days in Fallujah
rolls into town at the head of a of convoy of outrage
over the fact it’s based on a very real and very contemporary battle of an ongoing war.
In a well-weighted editorial on Eurogamer
, Rob Fahey nails why this outrage is nonsensical, and why it’s particularly unpalatable when it comes from the tabloid press:
“It's not just the fact that the [Daily] Mail and others are essentially calling for the worst form of censorship, the blocking off of an entire event and saying ‘this is off limits, and may not be portrayed’ - something which would stab to the very heart of the freedom of expression our media should be championing... the thing that rankles most about this situation is the fact that this is a tabloid newspaper telling another medium that the way in which it's handling current events is insensitive. I won't need to remind any reader who walks past a news stand on the way to work, or flicks on Sky News or CNN in the evening, just how ‘sensitive’ the news media is in its coverage of war.”
The whole piece is worth a read as it eloquently defends the right of games to portray reality. Fahey’s defence of games isn’t totally blind though – indeed, he challenges those making games such as Six Days in Fallujah
to engage more fully with their subject material:
“If a game like Six Days in Fallujah is to have any value, it must come from adding something to that discussion [of the war]. This isn't about taking a pro-war or an anti-war stance - although both are valid starting points, there are countless others. It's about making people think, informing them through their entertainment experiences, and commenting, as creators, on the media we create and the events we portray.”
Games based on real combat aren’t uncommon – the Call of Duty
series has been at it for longer than the duration of World War 2 – and Call of Duty 4
is the most notable depiction of combat in Iraq gaming has seen so far (although, bless its little corporate socks, Activision has decided to tell players it was actually set it in unnamed MiddleEastistan). What makes Six Days in Fallujah
interesting is that unlike other ‘real war’ games, it’s not an FPS, or an RTS. Instead, it’s a third person ‘action’ game.