Study Examines Video Game War Crimes

Tagged: War Games, Gaming
Source: Shack News - Read the full article
Posted: 4 years 39 weeks ago

Video games frequently flaunt international human rights and criminal law without portraying the consequences, a study by Swiss human rights organisation TRIAL and youth rights advocate Pro Juventute Switzerland has unsurprisingly discovered.

Lawyers trained in international humanitarian, criminal and human rights law cast their legal eyes over twenty shooters including Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, 24: The Game, Far Cry 2 and "Metal Gear Soldier 4 [sic]" for the study titled 'Playing by the Rules.'

The study makes for slightly surreal and mildly entertaining reading as one discovers what would be the real-life consequences for fictional video game characters.

Fist-bumping Army of Two stars Sigor and Rios, for example, "may be tried for their mere participation in hostilities" as "mercenaries are considered to be civilians and as such, they have no right to participate in the hostilities."

Battlefield: Bad Company is unsurprisingly singled out for its widespread destruction of civilian property, not to mention the "pillaging" of gold--"strictly prohibited under IHL."

The Call of Duty 4 mission which involves manning an AC-130 gunship receives one of the study's few compliments, described as "a positive step in the direction we wish for other games" for causing players to fail should they attack the church--though it notes the scenario is unlikely to occur in reality as it could easily "cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof."

Criticism of Modern Warfare continues with the assessment that the violent interrogation and execution of villain Al-Asad by the player's moustachioed chum and superior officer Captain Price is torture--"prohibited in any context, under any circumstances" in reality.

Such "ticking bomb" scenarios are the target of much criticism due to their relation to "recent controversy about whether so called 'enhanced interrogation methods' are allowed under international law."

Similar politicising surrounds the study's findings on both sides, expressing concern that video games may colour players' perception of "what combat situations are like and what the role of the military and of individual soldiers or law enforcement officials in such situations, is" to fuel what is called "the dangerous tendency to step back from what has been achieved in the field of human rights in the last 60 years."

The message of the scenes should never be that everything is allowed, or that it is up to the player to decide what is right and what is wrong. In real life, this is not the way it works. In real life, there are rules and there are sanctions for violations of these rules. It is not up to the soldier or to the law enforcement agent to decide what is right and what is wrong. The events in Abu Ghraib have shown, what such "private justice", even if carried out by well trained and high ranking officers, may lead to.

The choice to focus on video games over other mediums similarly appears to be rooted in political concerns, with the study saying as "the line between the virtual and real experience [is] blurred" by the interactivity of the medium--a claim often made by various interested parties but yet to be proven in any substantial way.

The US Army's promotional game America's Army--intended to drive recruitment--and 'virtual' training tools are offered as support for the supposed "link with reality."

Overall, the most common human rights and criminal law violations found were attacks against civilians and non-military targets, as well as shooting wounded or surrendered soldiers, and "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or torture."

The study concludes by imploring developers to take the rules of international human and humanitarian rights into consideration by forbidding certain acts and showing the consequences of actions. TRIAL and Pro Juventute Switzerland believe such a move "would surely render the games more interesting and would create players with a more accurate perspective of what is lawful and what is not."

 

Comments

Anonymous

Yes video game really have violence and killing inspiration and criminal law violations, I really was shoked when I was playing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, there is moment when you're working with terrorists and killing people in airport, I don't know why this was needed I think Call of Duty is great game but all developer must understood that this games playing many children and we must not show them such things, children mind can't understood this as we can, so really I always prefer to strategy games specially for children's.

Anonymous

I agree mainly with these words: "awyers trained in international humanitarian, criminal and human rights law cast their legal eyes over twenty shooters including Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, 24: The Game, Far Cry 2 and "Metal Gear Soldier 4 [sic]" for the study titled 'Playing by the Rules.'" BMX games

Anonymous

As we all also have freedom of speech and virtual games are art and not real events, it would be just as much a violation to start dictating how games should be depict their universe.

However that been said, I would personally like to see games be made more properly towards a real scenario at the cases where that clearly is their aim. I'm unimpressed when they base a game on something real and it appears that the only lengths they've gone to do so is to google the subject of copy.

On top of that I'm sort of tired about the freedom in games to go/fly/drive/shoot around large open maps with little obstacles in your way. Long have most of the restrictions in games been to more simple productions, and the coming of more freedom in game was a step towards a more real feeling. I think it's now time to bring back restrictions to what you can do based on the scenario you're put it to make it more feel realistic.

So even tho it should be as much up to your imagination as possible on what to do and how you will solve a mission, needing to think about what you cannot or should not do because it wouldn't be doable in reality and not because designers didn't account for it to be done like that would be a step in the right direction in making it more realistic as well as more challenging and mind activating.

dragunover
Offline
Joined: 12/13/2008
Posts: 3

Awful one! I disagree with this.

Many war crimes go without consequence in real life.
Oh, but I guess the rest of the world outside the US / Britain don't count.

"TRIAL and Pro Juventute Switzerland believe such a move "would surely render the games more interesting and would create players with a more accurate perspective of what is lawful and what is not." "
Doubt it.

Slisgrinder
Offline
Joined: 02/19/2008
Posts: 4

"would surely render the games more interesting and would create players with a more accurate perspective of what is lawful and what is not."

Its a VIDEO GAME!!! And I second your opinion that war crimes do go on in this world.

Anonymous

Great one! I agree with this fact that some of the video game really have violence and killing inspiration and criminal law violations found were attacks against civilians and non-military targets, as well as shooting wounded or surrendered soldiers. That`s why I always prefer Online strategy games specially for teenagers.