Are gamnes like 'Return to Castle Wolfenstein' in really bad taste?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Paul_D, Jan 14, 2002.

  1. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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    At first glance this would appear to be better placed in the gaming software forum, but I think there are wider moral issues, worthy of dicsussion.
    'Return to Castle Wolfenstein' is, for those that don't know, a first-person shooting game in which you take on the role of an ace allied soldier in the second world war. Blasting away Nazis doesn't sound so objectionable at first, but it occured to me while playing the multiplayer game - in particular a map in which allied troops have to advance up a beach and capture an Nazi base D-day style, that taking pleasure in recreating, what for some is a traumatic and horrific part of the rpast seems really inappropriate, and utterly disrespectful to those that died in the second world war. At least 'Wolfenstein' doesn't claim to actually 'RECREATE' the D-day landings; a new game coming out soon - 'Medal of Honor: Allied Assault' actually claims to recreate events of the war!?!?! (unless I'm mistaken about this!)
    It occured to me, that as the technology improves, these games are getting more and more realistic. Ten years ago when the FPS genre first began, the software was so primitive (relative to today) that relatively little thought was given to the moral implications of simulating murder. Blasting monsters with out-of-this-world rockets and cannons is one thing, but playing in an almost photo-realistic environment as a Nazi, and blasting away allied troops with relish with a mouted machine gun as they run around a beach landing is quite another IMO.
    Thinking about this, its quite amazing that the presentation one historical event can produce tears (see Saving Private Ryan), while another can elate and exhilarate you! I'm personnally surprised that they haven't kicked up more of a fuss about this one like they did when 'GTA' was first released. Just imagine how veterans would feel! In my mind, a comparable situation, would be if any of us picked up a copy of:
    "Escape from the World Trade Center" in 30 years time - an exhilarting game in which you can either play a terrified WTC employee, or a vengeful terrorist - objectives include escaping the towers, destroying the towers, rescuing survivors and much more!
    Don't get me wrong - 'RTCW' is an absurdly fun game - and I've wasted many hours battling to capture the beach, destory the nazi sub, capture the nazi gold etc. But, as I'm playing, there's always that thought in the back of my mind, that its all in very bad taste!
     
  2. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    At the end of the day I guess it's just a game. I mean, kids have been playing soldiers for years. Even a moving film about war is still entertainment from these events. I doubt those involved find it particularly enjoyable to watch.

    I think people know what's the game and what's real and the realism of the graphics has little to do with it, really.

    So I don't reckon that it's that bad, I hope.
     
  3. Iain Lambert

    Iain Lambert Screenwriter

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    Its worth noting that when you play the multiplayer aspect of RtCW that all Nazi imagery (Swastikas etc.) is replaced with more abstract designs, so while the feel is obviously the same you don't feel quite so much like you're actually playing a German soldier. Its an interesting moral dilemma, but then I stick to playing an alien in Quake 3, so its one I've wussed out of anyway.
     
  4. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    For the 95% of people that can seperate fact from fiction it's fine,

    For the other 5% obviously not.

    Brent

    Strange that I'm looking at getting Metal of Honour Allied Assault ASAP
     
  5. Shayne Lebrun

    Shayne Lebrun Screenwriter

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    There is no such thing as 'is in bad taste.' There is, however, 'what I consider bad taste' and 'what is illegal according to the laws of my country.' :)
     
  6. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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  7. McPaul

    McPaul Screenwriter

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    Just play the game dude.

    Blow up dem Nazis!
     
  8. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    You should get MOH: Allied Assault as soon as it comes out as its fantastic.
     
  9. Joe D

    Joe D Supporting Actor

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    If your having problems with it, play games that aren't based on past real life events.

    No One Lives Forever is an incredible FPS based in the 60's spy era.

    Deux Ex is also an incredible FPS based in the future sometime, great game.

    System Shock 2 is another FPS on a Space Ship way in the future.

    If your really wondering if something is moral or right, is it really right to recreate D-Day on film? No one yacks at Spielburg for it, so don't worry about beating up them nazi's in RTCW.
     
  10. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    Kelley_B ; you are correct sir. I can't wait.

    Brent

    I went looking on Monday
     
  11. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    To be honest, those that served in WWII are not going to be the one's playing RTCW. For kids, it's our ancient history.
     
  12. Bjorn Olav Nyberg

    Bjorn Olav Nyberg Supporting Actor

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  13. Bill Buklis

    Bill Buklis Supporting Actor

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    And perhaps just a few of these kids will be inspired enough to research and learn about the real aspects of the war and related history. See, there might just be some benefits after all.

    Unfortunately, for every one of those there's probably two or three idiots who can't grasp the meaning of reality and fiction.
     
  14. Joe D

    Joe D Supporting Actor

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  15. Derrik Draven

    Derrik Draven Supporting Actor

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  16. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Screenwriter

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    Hi Paul,

    I think your comparison to a WTC attack game in the future is a little off. In RTCW, while it is set in WWII with Axis vs. Allies, there are no factual events of the war depicted in the game (at least that I have seen so far). Although there are games that try to do that.

    Yes, the technology behind today's games is getting very powerful. This trend will certainly continue. I can't imagine what a game will look like 7-10 years from now. Combine that with a game based, to some degree or another, on actual events, and you have a recipe for ruffling a lot of feathers.

    However, lets try another angle. Assume for a moment that such a game is in bad taste. Okay, so now what? Does it matter if something is in bad taste? Do we want to label it as such? Restrict or ban selling it? Who will determine the "bad taste" guidelines? I am sure you can see where I am going with this.

    Just tossing out some thoughts. Please, let no person take offense.

    Cheers,

    Keith
     
  17. Iain Lambert

    Iain Lambert Screenwriter

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    One other little fact about RtCW is that in the one-player game things soon start to get supernatural, with strange zombie-like things and other monsters crawling out of the woodwork. So not only is it not depicting a specific battle, but its making it fairly clear that this is a fantasy. In multiplayer RtCW, and with the Medal Of Honour game, however, you can play a reenactment of the D-Day landings. As far as I can see, this is the only specific one from either game, and anyone seriously expecting people writing a game with a WWII setting not to watch Saving Private Ryan and think 'that would make an interesting level to model' is kidding themselves.
     
  18. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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    A) Most people responding to my initial post have missed my point entirely, or B) I didn't put across my point accurately:
    The fairly fundamental difference, is that Spielberg was seeking to recreate and thus EDUCATE viewers as to the ture nature of WWII - something which RTCW couldnt in a million years claim to be doing!
    RTCW is an excellent game, and is a tremendous addition to the FPS genre of games. I just thought that some of the broader aspects of its plot/setting where worthy of discussion!
     
  19. Craig Chatterton

    Craig Chatterton Stunt Coordinator

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    I got your point Paul, and I agree with you that the game is "challengingly realistic." I also agree that there WILL be a WTC game created someday. Maybe not in my lifetime, but I have no doubt it will happen.
    It's just the way we as humans relate to an event. We wouldn't even have known about the Trojan wars if Homer hadn't written a book about it, and HE got the information from stories that were told mouth to mouth for a few hundred years.
    Then it was movies; can anyone count how many WWII and Vietnam movies have been made? Then it was TV - who needs to make a Gulf War movie when it was broadcast live 24 hours a day as it happened?
    Now it's Video Games. Maybe someday I'll get to play Tonya Harding and try to smack Nancy Kerrigan with a pipe in the knees. [​IMG]
    Who knows how we'll reinact events in the future? Maybe technology will be so good by then that we'll be able to put on a helmet or something and actually relive it as it happens.
     

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