“You are formally charged with War Game Crimes and with Playing Games against Humanity…”

There’s an academic-Left kook element of no small size among international law NGO activists. These folks see themselves as a secular, international relations, Ulema, able to issue press release “fatwas” that are supposedly binding but in reality, have no legal basis in anything except their own imaginations.

Naturally, such an unserious intellectual position eventually leads them into bizarre and frivolous wastes of time.

Can Video Games Turn You Into a War Criminal?

….According to a new study by two Swiss human rights groups, TRIAL and Pro Juventute, many combat-heavy games actively encourage players to kill injured soldiers, attack civilians and destroy churches and mosques. As satisfying as these actions might be for players, they flagrantly violate real-life criminal and humanitarian law.

The organizations reached this guilty verdict with the help of three attorneys, who watched gamers blast their way through 19 titles, including recent hits like “Call of Duty 4,” “Army of Two” and “Metal Gear Solid 4.” Each time a player flouted the Geneva Convention or another international treaty, the legal team took note.

Their final report reads like Radovan Karadzic’s rap sheet. “Call of Duty 4,” a first-person shooter set in Russia and the Middle East, is accused of allowing gamers to “attack civilian buildings with no limits in order to get rid of all the enemies present in the town who are on roof tops … Under [International Humanitarian Law], the fact that combatants/fighters are present in a town does not make the entire town a military objective.”

Cluelessness is a closed system.

8 comments on this post.
  1. andrewdb:

    For a more realistic war game, try here: 

    http://www.theonion.com/content/video/ultra_realistic_modern_warfare?utm_source=videoembed

  2. Starbuck:

    Damn, I just obliterated Sulemein the Magnificent by razing his cities, destroying his mosques, and shooting his peasants in Civilization IV.  Why limit ourselves to FPS games!

  3. Charles Cameron:

    The first paragraph of the Conclusions to the Pro Juventute / TRIAL report, Playing by the Rules: Applying International Humanitarian Law to Video and Computer Games, p. 42, includes the following:

    Many of the attacks against civilian objects were directed at religious buildings such as churches and mosques. In only one of the games, attacking a church ended in mission over, but the same did not happen when attacking other buildings dedicated to religion, namely mosques. In another game, the destruction of a church only merited a reprimand and an expression hoping that such act could be "understood" by their allies.

    Shortly before reading those words, I’d downloaded a copy of the Fourth Generation Tactical Decision Games Manual and read in the Rules of Engagement, rule j, p. 12:

    Do not target or strike hospitals, mosques, churches, shrines, schools, museums, national monuments, and any other historical cultural sites, civilian populated areas or buildings UNLESS the enemy is using them for military purposes or if necessary for your self defense.

    I would like to see Pro Juventute and TRIAL update their report, dividing the analytic section into two parts labeled "Analysis: Commercial Games" and "Analysis: Military Games" — the first part detailing the games already considered, 24: The Game, Army of Two, etc., while the second part would include analysis of games such as America’s Army 3 and the 4GW TG Games from Quantico.Viewing the serious military games as correctives for the excesses of their entertainment siblings might give the NGOs a more interesting and nuanced perspective on the varieties of gaming and the spectrum of moral influences in which they have, it seems to me, a legitimate but poorly informed interest. 

  4. Schmedlap:

    If video games truly are this effective at training people, then maybe I can make it into the NFL if I spend more time playing Madden NFL 10!

  5. Fred Leland:

    At first it was movies, then violent catoons, now video games? According to the experts on these topics in my day watching the Rambo series would turned me into a madman. "I think I am fine?"

    I have read a book on the topic called, Stop Teaching our Kids to kill by LT COL Dave Grossman (great admirer of his work "On Killing" and "On Combat") that explains these games could indeed have an effect on kids with no guidence as to whats right or wrong. The book claims video games desensitize these types of kids to violence. My understaning is they lack certain attributes and/or ethics and carry their mis-guided ways to the streets.  These games also develop hand eye oordination and make "believe it or not" proficient weapons handlers in a way simulators prepare military or law enforcement.

    In the end a small percentage of people may be effected in a negative way by these games, but it appears once again that some folks take only the facts they like and build them into a negative campaign . Like ZEN says "cluelessness is a closed system."

  6. Ian:

    Does this mean that I’m finally going to get the Nuremberg Trial expansion pack for Call of Duty?

  7. Schmedlap:

    Comment above is some very well disguised spam. Good job.

  8. joey:

    I watched my 6 year nephew Play the latest COD title, his reactions, ability to read the environment, adapt to other players tactics (and whitewash me) was amazing.  With evolution of remote control warfare the age bar drops, a 6 year old can be a more proficient killer than an adult.  Tell them its a game and let them loose.Enders Game made real.