Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Videogame Over

During a commercial break of the NCAA championship basketball on Monday night, I watched a trailer for the new "Battlefield: Bad Company" video game (see above).

I was nauseated.

Just two hours earlier, I had watched the leaked classified video of a US Army helicopter killing a group of Iraqi men in Baghdad -- including two journalists for Reuters. (The video, below, contains disturbing images and language.) The footage, a film from the helicopter's point of view, looks uncannily like the video game scene in "Battlefield: Bad Company." Worse, the soundtrack to the actual killing sounds like a videogame. A spokesperson for WikiLeaks, the whistleblower website that brought the footage to light, even commented that the helicopter pilots act "like they are playing a computer game and their desire is they want to get high scores" by killing opponents.

At one point, one of the pilots laughs amid the carnage. Worse, the footage reveals US ground soldiers firing on people trying to help a man wounded in the helicopter assault. Two children were injured as a result.

I'm not advocating videogame censorship. And I'm not someone who believes that videogames inspire players to perpetrate real violence. But anyone looking to play "Battlefield: Bad Company" might wanna watch the real war video and then reflect on just how fun the game seems afterward.

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