Game about world war II: tribute or dance on the bones of the veterans?
At the end of April, just in time for the anniversary of the victory, Activision announced a new Call of Duty codenamed WWII. Action about world war II has always attracted not only gamers, but also many critics. One the idea of such a video game seems sacrilegious, others resent historical inaccuracies, others believe that the conditional Medal of Honor can not teach the younger generation anything good. Edition 4PDA decided to find experts and talk about the ethics of games devoted to the bloodiest conflict of the twentieth century.
The main objective of the shooter is to entertain, to arouse human emotions. But what about the desecration of the memory of the fallen? After all, some believe that the authors of the war games, turn grief into attraction with shooting Nazis. Is it ethical to create such works?
Alex Kershaw: I do Not see anything shameful, terrible and unethical to do action about world war II. And shoot at Nazis!
Alex Skvortsov: When someone is trying to make the evaluation of “ethical” or “unethical” certain phenomena or objects, it is important to avoid moralizing — that is, unambiguous, categorical judgments based only on subjective mood.
Computer games, whether you like it or not, is an integral part of our reality. They are addicted to the millions of people and many thousands are engaged in the production. To consider them as a clear evil or banal entertainment is wrong. It has developed a culture, which should carefully explore. At the philosophical faculty of Moscow state University even has a laboratory for the study of electronic entertainment. And there are so deep (including moral) basis, it becomes clear that some games are not less intelligent, than philosophical treatises.
So the question “is it Permissible to do the shooters on the world?” I have answered in the affirmative. This war is not only the main event of the twentieth century, but one of the most important upheavals in the history of mankind. Although already passed more than 70 years since its completion, the interest in the topic fades. There are new books, movies, theatre, music.
Why war may not be the subject of the game? Just because the man in the street believes this kind of art an entertainment? And movies and books about the war, is especially popular — they have gone far from the fun? And if all tenderly cherish the memory of the tragedy? It is also a creative world that has the right to interpret history. Yes, it is a product of mass culture. However, there is no doubt that the authors put a lot of effort for the approximation of plot and action to reality.
How managed is another question. Such works can significantly motivate young people to study the past. There are certainly those who play, bury in books, newsreels, memoirs and look at this conflict differently. I had to communicate with gamers who are seriously studying the historical events reflected in their favourite hits.
The awakening of this interest — the first serious argument in favor of the ethical acceptability of the same Call of Duty. The second argument is its ideology. In the teaser you heard such expressions as “the hour of sacrifice”, “facing the darkness”, and the name (“Call of duty”) speaks of the need to protect the homeland. Remind us how terrible evil facing humanity and what a terrible price they paid for victory.
But if a gamer during the passage will be distracted by the context and perceive it as “amusement Park”? Does not cancel if this situation is the heroic background is sought by the developers? At least the creators have done everything possible to make their audience could not feel detached or neutral in relation to the critical moments of history.
Should there be ethical limitations? In my opinion, they are obvious. I would not want to clearly flashed Nazi symbols or racist slogans sounded during the Third Reich. This is a very sensitive topic that can offend the feelings of many. But just here the German Nazism is presented as a radical evil that must be eradicated.
Is there an event in the history of mankind, which in any case should not be covered in video games? But the answer would have to ask the following questions. And is there something that should not be the object of reflection in contemporary art? Or, for example, we have to make movies and sing songs? In my opinion, absolute moral prohibitions no. Speech can go only about the moral restrictions of how it can be displayed. Everyone would probably agree that the demonstration of the terrible tragedies comedic to be offensive. But the story about the tragedies has important educational value and serves as a warning to future generations.
The creators of Call of Duty and other popular military-shooter — Americans. However, the first part of the series contains scenes from the face of the British and Soviet soldier. Many critics believe that the most likely to display the history of the Soviet warriors of the Western developers are not capable in principle. Can the cultural barrier between the two countries really be so deep? Is it permissible to tell about the exploits of one side of the conflict (for example, about the U.S. army in Normandy), ignoring the merits of the allies?
Alex Kershaw: the Main audience of developers and publishers — American, and gamers from the United States interesting to see the contribution of their country to the victory. But, I think it correct to show all sides of the conflict.
Alex Skvortsov: Rather, it is meant no cultural barrier and lack of knowledge of the authors about the second world war. To study it is not easy and may not be available for foreign game development. But what the developers have done a scenario involving Soviet forces, stresses: they are interested in our participation in the war.
It seems to me that “monopoly on suffering” should not be. There are Western experts who studied the history of our country, its tragic episodes, the worldview of our people. And many honor the memory of Russian soldiers and admire our feat. There are also local scientists, entered in the history of other countries. Call of Duty Red army is shown as a force fighting evil, and so the authors acknowledge our contribution to the victory.
If you want to tell an objective history of the world, not limited to the story of only one side impossible. If you take a narrower topic, for example, “the allied Landings in Normandy” or “the counter-Offensive near Moscow” it is not necessary to analyze in detail the events that occurred in parallel, sooner or later. I do not think that video games should be the exception.
But sometimes, as far as I know, gamers more outrageous. In Western works consistently demonstrates the superiority of the American and British armies of the Soviet. It turns out that the weapon we have is worse, and the soldiers not as skillful and deliberate maneuvers. But the us army is almost perfect and defeats the enemy with great advantage. This is quite frustrating and ethically incorrect. But it seems that it is the creation of a domestic hit, which will show a more objective picture. And, of course, to explain that we must always critically take the view of Americans about their exclusivity.
Any shooter, usually takes the situation simplistically. There you are the enemy who must be killed without asking questions. Does it hinder to perceive the events of the Second world war as complex and ambiguous, to analyze them in order to prevent their recurrence in the future?
Alex Kershaw: I’m not scared — humanity still perfectly distinguish fiction from reality, and I don’t think that will change. It is necessary to treat such things easier — it’s not a University course on ethics.
Alex Skvortsov: the fact that this game is a different genre. She is devoted to the consideration of the political contradictions of the warring parties. It is not a strategy, and action. Show us the war through the eyes of an ordinary soldier — pass psychology but not politics. And, unfortunately, this psychology is that there are we and they, our enemies. Nothing in common between the combatants could not be; the enemy is just an object to deal damage. In extreme cases, for reasons of humanity, the enemy of a pity not to finish.
In addition, talking about the fight against evil, which is unacceptable and should be eradicated. When you consider all the features and subtleties of the battle, the gamer is unlikely to develop a simplified picture of the war. The teenager, enthusiastically receiving such a shooter can learn about this conflict much more than the adult, drawing knowledge from popular movies.
Thanks to modern mass culture the Second world less perceived as a tragedy and more like a myth? Harmful if such a change of perception?
Alex Kershaw: I do Not see any problems. In the end, the victory over Nazism — this is the real victory over evil, and it is well worth it to receive it.
Alex Skvortsov: the major historical events acquire over time myths, it is an objective process. But myths, as a rule, do not discount the phenomenon, but, on the contrary, it hyperbolizing positive, heroic side. So, the past lives in memory of the people. Numerologically episodes, no one remembers. Another thing is that the tragic events over time, often smoothed and less remembered. For example, in my childhood, the Day of Victory in the first place was seen as “a holiday with tears on eyes” and the second as a great success. Now these two experiences have changed the order.
But Call of Duty, in my opinion, doesn’t avoid serious topics and even committed them to emphasize. First, we show that war is the ultimate horror, in which a little romance and even less beauty. Second, I emphasize how insignificant the life of a soldier on the battlefield and the price of what sacrifices achieved victory. In addition, die young people who could live and live, but the voice of duty requires sacrifice. To ignore and not to feel this mood is impossible.
Despite the “adult” ratings (18+), the conditional Call of Duty playing children and adolescent students who know the story best from textbooks, because veterans already not much left. Is there a threat that the young people learn about the past in this way — with a loud, “safe” entertainment?
Alex Kershaw: I’m glad that people will learn from Call of Duty and the like, at least on the major battles and about what technique was used.
Alex Skvortsov: it is impossible to imagine that the Russian student did not know about the most terrible conflict of the twentieth century. Talking about him already from the 1st grade, when children are not fond of such a difficult video games. Rather, the Call of Duty once again will remind the student about those events. And, given the susceptibility of adolescents to media reality, this reminder will encourage him to seriously study the past. And the fact that war is presented in the form of entertainment? But there are a lot of educational technology use gaming techniques. It is naive to believe that the teenager may be interested in the scientific description of the war.
Although the characters in many shooters on the world — fictional, the events there often seem real. What do you think, is it appropriate to use them for educational purposes?
Alex Kershaw: Of Course! So about the Second world war millions of teenagers know, as a historian, I’m glad of it.
Alex Skvortsov: the video game by Itself rather distract from the educational process. Education seeks to generate knowledge and action for such purpose is not intended. But some images, videos — why not? With precise pedagogical interpretation they form a vivid picture for the students. But, unfortunately, the Russian school are reluctant to implementing this technique. Pictures and movies, of course, used, but to give them the task to formulate the right questions for discussion — that not every teacher.
Not a single Western shooter, in which there are Russian characters, not devoid of stereotypes. For example, the Soviet story campaign in Call of Duty borrow a lot from movies like “enemy at the gates” — the Hollywood tapes that have little to do with reality. Is it ethical to use a coarse (or not) stereotypes, illuminating the tragic pages of the past?
Alex Kershaw: of Course, the stamps often occur and it is not too good. But I would not give it much importance.
Alex Skvortsov: unfortunately, stereotypes are characteristic not only of ordinary consciousness, but a scientific worldview. What can we say about popular culture? Once the famous Irish writer C. S. Lewis said: every nation is confident that his men are the most courageous, and women — the most beautiful. And it is also a stereotype that does not change.
Of course, offensive clichés can’t be ethical, their use is an indication of low culture. But, as I understand it, any new game is trying something to beat their predecessors: for example, rethinking the prevailing stereotypes. Because this market is very competitive, we should expect a more objective, realistic display of fighting. Obsessive stamps will be perceived by consumers as an indicator of low level of training of developers. A high confidence level will provide support not on films, but on serious research.
Interviewed By Pauline Esakova
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