WW2 Video Games: Why it isn’t right

Bryn Valdez , Reporter

 

Should game developers create video games about WW2?

 

Upon the release of the new Call of Duty: WWⅡ game, questions have arisen surrounding the game’s subject matter, and the ethicality of  video games regarding events surrounding the Holocaust. While many games centered around the war have been released in the past, the high profile Call of Duty brand has been popular among DHS students.

At first glance, the game seems harmless, but when further examined, the contents becomes problematic in that romanticizes a tragedy. Children and teenagers shouldn’t be learning history from a video game, let alone one that widens the divide between nationalities, amplifies the existing epidemic of toxic masculinity, and promotes gun violence, all due to the subject it deals with.

A prime example of how this translates into real-life is the case of Adam Lanza, the shooter who killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012.

An anonymous interview conducted by the FBI states, “He rarely leaves his home and considers him to be a shut in and an avid gamer who plays Call of Duty, amongst other games”.

It is commonly thought that the rush of playing shooter games was a contributing factor in the Lanza’s plan to execute a massacre. Still, the games are often defended through the lense that it is addressing events that need to be discussed.

“I don’t think we should hide history, we should really embrace it, as long as it’s not portraying it inaccurately,” said Fr. Sean Meyers, an avid gamer.

In fact, the game is supported with a lot of research on the behalf of the developers, such as accurate tank and uniform design, but that still does not excuse how serious the subject matter is.

While it is hard to argue that kids shouldn’t be exposed to the reality of the world we live in, the game contains slurs and overly-violent images, even for a video game, such as innocent people hanging from trees.

It is also important to consider how the release of this game would be perceived from the perspective of someone who was directly impacted by the war. Imagine feeling as if your hardships and loss were simply reduced to a form of entertainment for  people who have not, and probably never will experience anything like World War II.

On top of that, it is not difficult to see how video games such as these may shape the way children will view history. For many, video games will be an earlier and more lasting influence than the material taught in schools.

With that said, some would also argue that the game provides educational value, or support for history lessons learned in schools.

“For me at least, a game is the best way I can learn about history and be engaged in it,” said Baken.

Students should be learning from credible sources, such as school. It is nearly impossible for a videogame, designed around entertainment value, to replicate the emotions and in-depth details that are essential for students to understand.

With that said, many students still enjoy the game, and don’t see the ethics as big enough an issue to stop producing video games modeled after real hardships. Although lacking concrete numbers, Activision says “[WW2] set a record as the best-selling digital full game by units sold on its first day of availability”.

We live within a society that is so comfortable with violence, one could even go so far as to say it is a contributing factor to the ongoing gun epidemic that this country faces. In the last year 58,506 gun-related acts of violence have been committed, 331 of those being mass shootings, according to gunviolencearchive.org.

The only way to save the accurate picture of history is for a change of entire culture: one that no longer commends acts of violence, and teaches children to idolize hyper-masculinity. This starts with preserving the divide between real life issues and games created for the purpose of entertainment.