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Six Days in Fallujah Controversy?

Six Days in Fallujah Controversy?

Video games depicting war and historical battles have been around since the dawn of shooters on the PC. From Call of Duty to Medal of Honor all the way to present day Battlefield releases, games have attempted to take gamers to real places and fight in missions or battles that actually took place. Six Days in Fallujah was initially met with criticism back in 2009 subsequently ending its planned launch in 2010. Now that it is launching, is it still a controversy?

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When Should a story be told?

With respect to historical stories and events that are especially troubling or disturbing, the question has to be asked: When should a story like this be told? In general, my answer is just another question: When should a story not be told? What measure or standard would we use?

Whether you watch movies, read books, or play video games about the Holocaust, wars, genocide, or any of the host of awful things in humanities history, it’s all done from the perspective of conveying a vantage point or a unique view that we wouldn’t have otherwise.

So I think the most concise way to answer this question is: A historical story should be told when it is meaningful or impactful within the scope of human history. The reason that I personally believe this is because to ignore and not tell the worst stories from the past is to pretend they didn’t happen.

How should a story be told?

Obviously the first standard that most would admit should be well in place whenever telling a historical story is simple: accuracy. The very act of telling a historical story necessitates doing it in the most accurate way possible within the medium chosen.

Secondly, the standard that many would reasonably expect from a book, movie, or game that tells a historical story is: be respectful. This is obviously more subjective, but it is fair to hold an author, director, or developer to a standard of respecting the story, persons, or facts pertaining to the story they are using for their art.

Lastly, and this is probably the one that gets some movies or games into trouble: honesty. Historical events are messy and have lots of unpleasant things that have taken place. Many take issue with stories that don’t paint one side as perfect and the other side as pure evil. The honest look is usually somewhere in between and can make folks uncomfortable.

Are Video Games A Good Medium?

Most of the criticism that comes from those who take aim at games like Six Days in Fallujah is that it “trivializes” what happened when it is in a video game. The issue that this creates is that video games are “fun” and movies or books apparently are not. This is a standard that doesn’t feel consistent.

Ultimately I respect the soldiers who assisted with Six Days in Fallujah and even said that they feel a video game is one of the best way to translate the chaos of war. Since I have never been in an active warzone I trust and respect their input and thoughts on this.

The immersive nature of a game can, if done properly, give players a raw and honest insight into something we, as civilians, know virtually nothing about. Obviously movies and video games can tend to turn the player into an unstoppable hero, which can, admittedly trivialize things. But given that soldiers from the actual battle in Fallujah assisted both with interviews and professional insight, I trust them and the developers with that.

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