Editorial: Video games trivialize veterans’ sacrifices

Today, more and more games focus on the violent actions of war. It is alarming to see games such as “Conflict Desert Storm,” released by Gotham Games, and “Battlefield 1942,” by EA Games accessible to today’s youth. These games place players in simulated combat situations that are supposed to mimic real life. Although rich in graphics and audio stimuli, these games are troublesome in their basic premise.

The fact that players are able to relive the battles in which many of their relatives fought and lost their lives is a credit to today’s technological capacities, and although the abilities of the graphic artists are commendable, the subject matter behind these video games is disturbing. The stories of the American war heroes are filled with courage and emotion, but these video games simply focus on the action of the battle — the shooting, killing and suffering of the digital counterparts of our grandfathers. These games glorify the violence of war and do not to take into account the emotional ties that are inherently linked to any war.

In the current state of the world, where the United States seems eternally at war with terrorists in various nations, it is important for gamers to understand that war is not simply the good guys against the bad guys. Instead, there are many far-reaching implications of battle that these games do not even begin to address. In video games where players are given “machines of war” and the “sidearm of their choice,” there is no acknowledgement of the significance of the men and women who gave their lives to fight these battles or the families that were devastated by the losses of loved ones.

In addition to their insensitive nature, these games are simply propaganda that, whether intentionally or not, further the current trend of romanticizing the glories of war. Furthermore, when these games are combined with the media’s constant portrayal of war, they can give unenlightened youths wrongful impressions of the purpose of fighting. The media bias favoring American military policy abroad does not always give both sides of the story when it comes to reporting the causes of war.

If exposed only to biased media in combination with these video games, today’s most impressionable generation is more likely to believe the policies toward countries who disagree with America are always correct, a dangerous scenario which has destructive potential.

The solution to this problem is to see past the flashy graphics and understand that these insensitive games are trading off the heroics of past generations — heroics which assured many of the freedoms we enjoy today. Gamers must realize the real implications of war — chaos and death — and stop patronizing the companies that are so eager to manipulate and deceive them.