Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gaming: WWII Shooters, Demonizing Nazis Ok But Leave The Japanese Alone?

Joytiq blogger James Ransom-Wiley blogs, "Why I can't go beyond the first 5 mins of Call of Duty: World At War". Ransom-Wiley doesn't condone the violence nor does he distaste the game, or even dislike it for that matter. In fact he has yet to play the game, he has only watched a 5min preview, he simply doesn't like the fact "the featured enemy is the Japanese Empire."

He writes, "This morning I watched the first five minutes of gameplay, which promised "disturbing" game content and historical footage (read: real-life executions). The video made my stomach bubble. My knees a little wobbly. My breath short, and my face hot."

Why you may ask did he feel that way, he states and I quote:
"I have a very personal problem with demonizing the Japanese. I don't feel that way about the Nazis. I draw a disconnect between Nazis and Germans as large as the divide between "alien" and human. The Nazis have been transformed into monsters, which does not need to be justified in my gaming.

Much like Ben Kuchera over at Ars Technica said in his post, my jaw dropped. Mr. Ransom-Wiley sees it as being ok to "demonize" one group of individuals but when it comes to a group that he has ties to its not ok?

He has since updated with the following:
It's not my intention to make a definitive statement about the validity of demonizing one group over another for the purpose of creating a video game "enemy." I did intend to highlight the unique contradiction between my experience "fighting" against Nazis in games and my hesitance to take on the Japanese in World At War.
By standing on his soapbox and shouting out that he won't play the game just because he doesn't like the depiction of the Japanese in the game trailer isn't that exactly what he did? We are talking about historically accurate depictions here, real life video of things that actually happened during WWII. We aren't talking about some made up reality, the game is portraying a historical fact. Mr. Ransom-Wiley can bury his head in the sand if he'd like but that won't change the fact that these things did happen.

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