Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Support Six Days in Fallujah

For those of you that are following the difficult saga of the game Six Days in Fallujah, there was a recent story in Newsweek this weekend that provides some more information and interesting quotes from the makers.

For a recap, Six Days is a title that aims to faithfully recreate the 2004 Iraq War conflict, and perhaps at the same time promise to be a landmark release that gives the medium it's first "game documentary" and a marked increase in its legitimate artistic credibility. But artistic breakthroughs are never a smooth affair, and so the game received enough roiling from controversy to cause publisher Konami to run for the hills. Which makes me wonder how a videogame about a real-life military conflict is more controversial than the (literal) mind-rape that is the Silent Hill series, but I digress.

The outrage from the aggrieved, painful losses aside, or crass political opportunism aside, stem mostly from the usual conventional wisdom the mainstream public has of videogames: that the artform is mere childern's toys and mindless consumer entertainment, and the lesson seems to be that Six Days should've stuck to zombies or aliens rather than something actually relevant. This argument always indicts the elder segments of our population in the same fashion gay marraige always does, and is nothing new in the way that resistence has always plagued newer mediums: book burnings of anything "scandalous" (re: non-religious) were common from the early AD onward to the Modern Era, professional beared chin-scratchers often dismissed motion pictures as the domain of novelty and peep shows until Birth of a Nation, and burnings of comic books were as recent as 1948. What's unique about videogames, however, is that they, along with The Internet, have had the pleasure of concerted full-bore assault and demogogery from our modern Main$tream Medias, an insititution once confessed by MSM pundit Jonathan Alter during the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal (arguably the MSM's own dizzying peak) to be "rich, fat, and greasy". Which once again makes me wonder what's the real threat: a massive, "rich, fat, and greasy" institution frequently contemptuously derided by its own peers or The Nipples of Mass Effect, but again, I digress.

Speaking of the M$M, on with the linked Newsweek article. Now, I apologize in advance for any of the usual foibles of M$M journalism you're going to suffer through; you'll have to sift through the usual regurgitated conventional wisdoms, brainless assertions such as "Mostly, videogames are associated with mindless entertainment or gratuitous violence or both", and dubious "experts" such as this winner from a "Miguel Sicart", "expert on videogames" of Copenhagen (uh..?), who concedes that "games don't do a good job of accurately portraying a sequence of actual events", a statement that makes me go "WTF?", "Duh?", and "You're wrong" all at the same time. But once more, I digress.

Yes, it's worth it to read this article for several reasons. One of which is the confirmation to even the game's critics is that they are fighting against the wishes of the very soldiers who wish to see this game made, including one Capt. Read Omohundro who lost 13 under his command ("It seems pretty natural to me that these guys would want to have their war documented in a videogame." he notes). The other is the continued relief from Peter Tamte of Atomic Games that, despite the critics, Six Days is still alive and well for the time being, searching for an investor. Tamte had a brilliant speech last month in where he correctly asserted that games are now "culture creators", and the goal of Six Days is not the usual aggressive mercantilism and nerd-pimping we've see usually from the mainstream gaming sector. So that having been said, it's highly important for the medium frankly that Tamte succeed at least in releasing Six Days, for if anything the usual from the industry hasn't lately been earning the bread, and its antics wearing thin with gamers if, for example, the growing backlash against Valve's cynical Left 4 Dead sequel is any consideration.

For what it's worth, in the interest of supporting our troops and the videogames they are creating, I went and created a PetitionSpot thingy, my first apparently. The signatures are capped at 500K, which is also the figures in sales a game has to make in order to be a hit. I don't know if it'll do much, or maybe if someone beat me to it, but here it is. If you have time and wish to support Six Days in Fallujah, please sign. Thank you.

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