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access_time May 14, 2011 at 7:55 AM in Features by Andrew Kent

Terrorism and Video Games

I recently read an article on Kotaku whose author is discussing how he was “cheated” out of playing a terrorist in Brink. The author of the article goes on to talk about how there are 16 missions divided between two factions: the Resistance (dubbed terrorists by the Security), and the Security. Both sides apparently provide at least two “what if” missions making it “easier” to be sympathetic to both sides and making the player more “comfortable” playing both sides says the author. Apparently playing a terrorist would be too un-American for a video game.

However, there are plenty of games where we play terrorists, their names are just disguised. When playing any Old Republic game you are playing a terrorist whether you like it or not. Sith hate the Jedi, so any small force opposing them are terrorists in their eyes. Even in Episodes IV-VI of Star Wars the Rebel factions are still terrorists to the Galactic Empire despite who is wielding what side of the force. In Final Fantasy XII, your team members are terrorists to the Arcadians. I’m not debating the story in the Brink article; in fact this article has a completely different agenda. What the author said about games being changed because of their terrorism references made the gears start turning. As previously stated, there are legit (albeit disguised) terrorists in video games, whether they be antagonists or protagonists. It’s sad that in today’s day and age we think that some video game is going to make a person want to be a terrorist. People play racing games and Grand Theft Auto, but that doesn’t turn them into speeding maniacs or gang members. Sometimes video games do influence people in a mentally detrimental way, but those people probably need psychological help in the first place. We humans should know the difference between fantasy and reality, yet the higher ups don’t think we are “intelligent enough” to see that apparently.

Video games, like other forms of entertainment, are a respite from reality and should be treated as such. In video games, people can explore some of their strangest fantasies and darkest desires. Whether deciding to choose the dark or light side of the game, gamers generally do not struggle with the opposing ideals in games like The Old Republic. They make their decisions on what they consider more entertaining in the world of the game. Whether it be saving the mad man from destruction or destroying him and taking up his mantle, the choice does not make a person evil or pure, does not make them a terrorist, it just shows their preference in gaming.

You can read the original article on Kotaku here


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