Killing civilians in computer games

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Around three weeks ago this story appeared on geek/gamer news sites;

Leaked Modern Warfare 2 Footage Shocks – Game play from the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which appears to cast players in the role of a terrorist, has caused a maelstrom on the Internet.”

I didn’t bother looking into it at the time because killing innocents in games isn’t new (think GTA, etc), but now it has been reported that the Russian government has ordered the game to be recalled from stores due to this, noting “The mission in question features a civilian slaughter carried out at the behest of a Russian terrorist named Makarov.”

So, some context; here is a video of the entire airport terrorist attack mission. If that has gone by the time you read this, YouTube search for “Modern Warfare terrorist”.

Ultimately I take the progressive view that self-aware people who play games know there is an obvious distinction between what goes on in the game world and what goes on in real life, the exact same thing with literature, theatre, cinema, etc. I don’t think that the interactive nature of the medium changes anything – arguing that it subconsciously changes people’s values is bunkum.

Saying that, society is so often described to be shit these days due to, in my opinion, a horrible feedback loop involving parents and the education system, in that there hasn’t been good progressive carrot replacement to making people think about the repercussions of their actions now that the conservative and authoritarian nature of discipline that was used in past times has been shown to be an illiberal way of doing things and thus phased out (as in, time has ironed out the hypocrisy of those who could arguably could been classed as generally ‘classical liberal’ in tone who were also social conservatives, in the same kind of way as the founding fathers of USA owning slaves, etc).

Bottom line: There are both ‘positive‘ and ‘negative‘ aspects of liberty, parents should parent their kids on this and other such topics, and social conservatives should eventually die and allow the education system to become more enlightened.

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