To a great surprise to everyone, this post is not going to be about the fuss surrounding the killing of civilians in Modern Warfare 2. Instead, I’ll write about a few older games.
I like FPS-games, and some years ago I played America’s Army for some time. Like its name implies, it’s a game about the US Army. Players take on the roles of American soldiers and play against each other in short matches with realistic weaponry. As an interesting detail, regardless of the side you are playing on, all the opponents are portrayed as Arabian terrorists. So basically, it’s a game about heroic American soldiers killing Arabian terrorists. If this doesn’t sound like propaganda enough to you, I should add that the game is sponsored by the US Army, and is filled with recruitment posters. So it is a thoroughly political game, with a nationalistic message. This has also been used against it.
But the US Army is not the only one who knows how to play this particular game. The Hizbullah Central Internet Bureau in Lebanon has published a game called Special Force which has almost identical elements, but in which the player controls a soldier participating in the Islamic jihad. The purpose of this game is of course to kill the occupying Israeli forces. Very direct message, just like in America’s Army.
An interesting counterpart to these two attempts at propaganda is Under Ash. Like Special Force it is a game about the struggle of Palestinians against the Israeli. The player controls the actions of a young man who fights against the Israeli, first with stones, and then with guns. The game is extremely difficult, dying in combat is very easy, and killing any civilians results in instant game over. Unlike the two other games mentioned, it almost seems to have a political anti-war message.
(I read about these games in a article by Galloway.)