Achievement Unlocked: Reality Check Needed

OK, so here’s how I see it. Geneva Convention: Good. Red Cross/Red Crescent: Good. War crimes: Bad. The Hague: Good.

What I don’t get is what the good things above have got to do with fiction, and why they suddenly become insane when games are involved.

The Red Cross is has been investigating whether actions and events in games constitute violations of the terms of the Geneva convention. They have been forced to conclude, like the rest of the sane world, that they do not.

This is quite frankly one of the most stupid things I’ve ever heard of. I mean, I like the idea of arresting people who play Call of Duty wearing a headset, but still…

Such as him.

But here’s what I say. While we’re waiting for the court to come to trial on these dangerous, dangerous games, let’s get started with some war crimes that we already know of. First off, let’s start by having inspections into the war profiteering of the leaders of “The Last Alliance of Elves and Men”, specifically Isildur’s robbing the dead of their rings.

Next, I think we can all agree that Hugo Weaving’s stint as a Nazi named The Red Skull at the very least demands a trial for crimes against humanity. (We can also look into his exacerbation of the situation in Zion and The Machine City, I think.)

Anyone who likes Draco Malfoy should be investigated as a Voldemort-sympathiser.

And finally, Frank Miller should be arrested for being an asshole. No, really; he should.

Back to being serious, though, this is mental waste of money and time. It’s also depressing to know that some people think like this. Games are a work of fiction, like any other, and trying to impose our real world laws on them is not realistic, not sensible, and discourages the making of good fiction.

… Unless, of course, they don’t agree that games are a work of fiction like any other. Unless people think that games are somehow lesser art forms; a position that a lot of people seem to hold.

But let’s have that conversation, not one about whether or not the actions in games are crimes against humanity.*

Because "Games as Art" is actually an interesting conversation, and one that's worth having.

Reading their revised position, it looks a lot more sane: now they’re talking about using games to inform people of the laws of armed conflict. Which is good, but that’s not your decision to make. If game developers want to inform people fine. You want to help them, fine. But it’s not your place to tell them what they can and cannot have in their works of fiction.

I’m just glad it got thrown out like it did, because the ICRC are right: there is a serious problem of blurring the lines between fiction and reality. But the people who are having trouble telling the difference here are the Red Cross.

Oh, and because it’s related, go read today’s Cyanide and Happiness!

* By the way; in-universe, some of them obviously are.

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Posted on December 9, 2011, in Gaming Stuff and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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