200: War and Peace

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grok70:

Video games are a wierd medium. In the PC world, the vast majority of gamers are WHITE MEN with expendable income. Servers are often extremely hostile to people of other races, and in general to women. Women who play online have to do deal with all kinds of anti-social misogynist behavoir. By coming into the server and simply trying to break the goal system, it may be a protest, but it is alienating. Now, if they started servers that operated well, presented various kinds of the material desired, but promoted respect, then it could be done. Have they thought of starting a server that posts anti-war news articles upon entering? That bans the use of misogynist words like, bitch, whore, cunt and racist words, etc.? These are very important things. Maybe this way women and people who arn't of european decent would feel comfortable in the forum. This would be a way to use the medium in a positive manner to convey the message.

People like you are EXACTLY the reason why server populations that appear racist, misogynistic and homophobic are usually the better servers, and why I will do my part to keep good servers like that.

If it doesn't let me generalize, flame entire races/genders/orientations at once and in general act offensive to everyone and everything, it probably isn't a fun server.

Too...many...words...

Here are a couple. Succint. To-the-point.

insanelich:

grok70:

Video games are a wierd medium. In the PC world, the vast majority of gamers are WHITE MEN with expendable income. Servers are often extremely hostile to people of other races, and in general to women. Women who play online have to do deal with all kinds of anti-social misogynist behavoir. By coming into the server and simply trying to break the goal system, it may be a protest, but it is alienating. Now, if they started servers that operated well, presented various kinds of the material desired, but promoted respect, then it could be done. Have they thought of starting a server that posts anti-war news articles upon entering? That bans the use of misogynist words like, bitch, whore, cunt and racist words, etc.? These are very important things. Maybe this way women and people who arn't of european decent would feel comfortable in the forum. This would be a way to use the medium in a positive manner to convey the message.

People like you are EXACTLY the reason why server populations that appear racist, misogynistic and homophobic are usually the better servers, and why I will do my part to keep good servers like that.

If it doesn't let me generalize, flame entire races/genders/orientations at once and in general act offensive to everyone and everything, it probably isn't a fun server.

Part of it is that games are one of the few domains of guys that are sacrosanct. Think of the barber shop of yore, it used to be a place where men could openly converse without women. Think of the Andy Griffith barbershop and the one seen in Gran Torino. As long as you're amongst friends who can take a jib it's alright. When it is extended to strangers on a server it is often insulting. (Probably chauvinistic, but guys tend to be a bit more brash and forthright in their conversations) Games/servers should incorporate morals in their rules and codes of conduct so that insulting Jews about the Holocaust is a bannable offense but it also calls into question how much of a carebear environment the game should be. This can only be decided by the Developers and Administrators of the game/server. Should you continuously log onto a Neo-Nazi server you'll only have yourself to blame for.

As for the peaceniks, protesting by impeding a team's efficiency is rude and uncalled for. If they were to try to rationally explain their views either on a forum or IRL I might be inclined to listen. But if they are detrimental to my team's ability to win I am more likely to ragequit or start playing Serious Sam to relieve the stress.

For the most part gamers can recognize the difference between reality and a game and are therefore able to keep the morals of their lives intact regardless of what virtual genocides they may have inflicted. Those who can't differentiate between them call into question their perception of reality. Trying to impose real morals on a virtual world is like trying to solve world hunger by distributing enriched sawdust. Might it work? Yes. Will people like you for it? No. And it skips the crux of the matter that these systems of values (respect for life, good ole' chivalry etc.) should be better ingrained in the children by their parents over a period of years.

wonder how long it would take (if anti war protesters created a corp) to get wardeced and killed by the entire population of eve. but seriously though stay out of our games unless they are like americas army brainwashing things.

I'll keep it short.

I generally consider myself a pacifist (Not...hardcore pacifist, but i despise pretty much any kind of real life war). I still like to shoot virtual people in thier faces.

Let me just do that and take your protest somewhere important. Video Games are the wrong medium for that.

portal is a great example of a non-fighting game
fighting had very little do with it, except jumping behind robots and picking them up and smashing them off each other ;)

Great article, I was completely unaware that this sort of thing was going on.

I'm just not sure I see the point of protesting in a deathmatch game -- in taking up player slots and in effect ruining the game, where is the message of protest? It seems to me that griefing a game like this does nothing more than annoy gamers. And to that effect, it's really only protesting and disrupting in-game activity, as does every form of griefing. I would hardly call my blocking a doorway and playing Banana Phone much too loudly a "piece", yet it would seem my virtual jackassery and this sort of protesting produce the same outcome: annoyance and nothing more.

Open worlds are another thing entirely. I can see why they started in games like Counter-Strike and Tribes: they're violent and very popular -- but if not for James' article I would have no idea this protesting existed. Annoying ten to twenty players in a server isn't exactly wide-reaching political action. Now, get together a hundred players and sit in the Wintergrasp battleground with flowers equipped for weapons, and you're starting to get somewhere.

Even then, though -- it's gone from annoying to silly. Really the only corporeal course of action towards virtual protest would be to make your own moderation of a game taking the opposite stance, and gain your own audience. Eventually that moderation will get press attention, people will talk about it and download it, and some discourse might be sown.

It's been done before in different arenas: Progress Quest laments the grindy-ness of the MMORPG genre by making itself a satire. And consider this Onion piece http://www.theonion.com/content/video/hot_new_video_game_consists

protesting in counter strike is like asking them for help you will get nothing but insults and hate

level250geek:
Criticizing a game for making war look pretty when war, is indeed, Hell? Perfect.

Arguing that a morally black and white war game is inherently political is asinine; the idea implicitly assumes that all opposing thought is uncomplicated thought, and therefore all uncomplicated thought must be opposing thought. Sometimes it's nice to be the good guys without a bunch of self-righteous idiots steaming in and reminding you that the reality you're trying to escape from is full of shades of grey. We know, you halfwits, that's why we're escaping from it.

On a point unrelated to the political points that the protestors are bringing up, but on one related to the issue as a whole.

What if you're trying to watch an action film in the cinema, and suddenly you get an service interruption, and are suddenly watching a protestor spouting anti-violence slogans? Or worse, someone appears at the front, shouting their views on violence?

What if you're reading a book about war, and suddenly you get someone coming into your room, decrying you for reading it, and pointing out that its not real?

What if we did it to *them* in their relaxation time, uninvited, spouting views about how computer games are a form of escapism related to almost every other form of media, and that problems of seriously impressionable people being corrupted or otherwise by them are a direct result of that person's mentality, rather than the games. If it wasn't that, it would be a film, a book, an overheard story. What if we unavoidably invaded their time, impossible to get rid of without outside influence (server influence)?

Perhaps they ought to consider this too?

Furthermore, I resent the idea that I play computer-games, therefore they are superior, because they obviously assume that I NEED an outside influence to consider these issues.

Added to which, Evil Tim is right. The whole point of most games, heck, most films and most books, is that your own presence upon the side of righteousness is taken for granted. Games that complicate this, such as CoD4, might do so intelligently, but the nuclear terrorist in the game makes it clear that, however questionable the actions, the motive is the right one.

I once saw a website hosted by very religious Christians 'trying' to review games. They were taking best guesses at the games because they weren't allowed to play most games. They tried reviewing GH3 but couldn't because it had the devil in it as well as prohibied music. People need to do something about these kinds of things.

I'm sorry but I agree with the first amendment but to interfere with other people and constantly accost them from doing something that isn't really hurting anybody is also infringing on their rights. Its just a game and protesters can do what they want but shouldn't be surprised to get a sniper round to the head when impeding progress in game. Though I prefer a good old fashioned pistol whip.

Yeah no.
Gamers have the right to play what they want.
Most of us can tell the difference between the real world and the virtual world.
(I should prepare for someone to quote this saying they can't...)
But when we go to play we want to escape the real world. Only to have hippies come in and say what we can and shouldn't do?
No.
I say no.

Protesting Anti-War in games that encourages people to get shot in the face virtually.
Yeah, thats set up for success.

"STOP THE WAR! STOP THE WA-" HEADSHOT!

celeborn10:

Part of it is that games are one of the few domains of guys that are sacrosanct. Think of the barber shop of yore, it used to be a place where men could openly converse without women. Think of the Andy Griffith barbershop and the one seen in Gran Torino. As long as you're amongst friends who can take a jib it's alright. When it is extended to strangers on a server it is often insulting. (Probably chauvinistic, but guys tend to be a bit more brash and forthright in their conversations) Games/servers should incorporate morals in their rules and codes of conduct so that insulting Jews about the Holocaust is a bannable offense but it also calls into question how much of a carebear environment the game should be. This can only be decided by the Developers and Administrators of the game/server. Should you continuously log onto a Neo-Nazi server you'll only have yourself to blame for.

You're pretty much entirely wrong.

The reason for the appearance of racism / homophobia / misogyny is to keep the goddamn bleeding hearts / drama whores out.

It's much the same reason /b/ was so fond of gore, coprophilia, racism, homophobia and misogyny before it got flooded to oblivion.

To make it exceedingly clear that if you take things too seriously you're not welcome, because the server population would rather have fun than listen to endless tiresome tirades.

Evil Tim:

level250geek:
Criticizing a game for making war look pretty when war, is indeed, Hell? Perfect.

Arguing that a morally black and white war game is inherently political is asinine; the idea implicitly assumes that all opposing thought is uncomplicated thought, and therefore all uncomplicated thought must be opposing thought. Sometimes it's nice to be the good guys without a bunch of self-righteous idiots steaming in and reminding you that the reality you're trying to escape from is full of shades of grey. We know, you halfwits, that's why we're escaping from it.

I'm not disagreeing with you. All I'm saying is, like shooters or not (and I rather like them myself), they do indeed sanitize and romanticize warfare. So if somebody says "Hey, this game makes war look fun!" and voices their opinion saying so, they have a point. So long as they don't ruin the actual game play for everybody else, then I will respect both their opinion and their expression of it.

Frybird:

Let me just do that and take your protest somewhere important. Video Games are the wrong medium for that.

Very well said. Much like no one really cares about the "End the War Think Tank" that meets your local Starbucks, nobody really cares about the protests done in a game of Counter-Strike.

Silly hippies, games are for fun.

I hear shit like this and I get angry. Not because there are some people messing up my online FPS experience (because I don't play online, or FPSes, really), but because of the cause of the people doing the messing.

These people are the victims of their own guilt. They feel bad about something, and they want to do something, but they aren't motivated to do anything effective. So, rather than do something that will actually stop a war, like try to extract the policy makers who make the decision that war will happen out of office, they try and change human nature. Why? Because it's a hell of a lot cheaper and they don't have to leave their house to do it.

Imagine, if you will, a world where people would protest a hot-button issue like abortion/prochoice/prolife by picketing the company that makes the bricks that make up the building where the abortion clinics are. That's what this crap is, people taking the path of least resistence. "I want to change the world, but I want to be home in time to catch American Idol."

There is a pleasing symmetry between what these bean-bag protesters do, and the caricature they paint of the American citizen as some jingoistic fighter-by-proxy. They do the exact same thing with their protests, rather than put themselves in harm's way, they wag their finger at the world from afar.

I accord them even less sympathy than I would a badly mispelled forum post. People who type like 'tards are usually just lazy. These 'protesters' actually got up and expended some effort to be as lame as they are.

What's worse, they demonstrate willful ignorance not only of politics but also of economics and the video game industry. I'm sure these idiots infest free games as well, but if they actually paid to protest in games like the ones mentioned in the article, then they're skewing the numbers for market research, and we'll wind up with a boatload of FPS sequels and knock-offs that will take years to properly sweep away (points at the mid-to-late '90's log jam of fighting games).

Jesus. I need to stop writing or I'm going to explode. I cannot stand lazy people.

Well I belive it's time for me to hasten to the nearest game store and buy a copy of Counter strike and do some good ol' fashioned hippe bashing.

Velvet Strike's website says that they stop the violence by camping, spamming and shooting teammates. That's really peaceful.

Papopapo456:
"-Look! Those persons are having fun.
-Oh My! This is totally wrong.
-Yeah! They are having fun with virtual murder, which has no consequence on the real world and helps with the stress.
-We should do something.
- I know, lets throw a big bunch of grenades to where they are, while shouting loudly. Because grenades are totally safe, aren't they?
- Of Course!"

That's how those jerks think.

Yeah, I don't think the 'jerks' are doing it to cease the fun, more so protesting about issues in the real world. Playing a game to spread word of current events seems to be no different then getting any new time, writing in a magazine, posters, etc. It's all forms of media. Games want to be recognised as a serious form of media, then people are allowed to do this.
I doubt they are prosteting that video games are wrong, more that things in life are, and making people aware. Personally, I think it's great. Though sometimes misguided. I couldn't imagine what angry pre-teens playing Counter Strike would react to this? Though, as long as they're making a clear message, someone will listen.

If I were to get teamkilled by an anti-war protester, I would probably end up laughing so hard that I would piss myself. Thats like being knifed at a knife amnysty. Somewhat defys the point. However, I really hate to say it, if they want to make a point, they shouldent try to make it on CS servers.

Used to play quite a bit and your average counter-strike player is a tard. You know it. You have played it. Those who outside of the game might participate in some intellectual discourse or who in the game wont punctuate every sentance with the word "Fuck" (pardon my Klatchian) are few and far between. And in honesty, thats a good thing. I dont join a server to protest against war, or have a debate with the 15 other players, at least half of which are trying to shoot me. Thats just tarded. I join a CS server to shoot people. Multiply. Same with BF2142, which seems to have been spared. I suppose the future setting might make anti-war protesters think twice >.>

However, If they want to make a point, then they should protest in WoW, in honesty. Big events in that do, occasionally, get press coverage. Like when the plague from ZG got into major cities. It may have ended up in rags like the daily mail, but thats still press coverage. And, say, 200 people hanging around outside the AH in SW, talking about the war, people would notice. And it would be free (Account trials etc). And even though the average age of an alliance player in that game is 13, people would notice. Sure, people would flame. Sure, the vast majority of the people you were preaching to would ignore you. But heh, if 5% of the people who heard your message were to think about it, then due to the sheer amount of players in the game, it would get your point across.

That was a bit of a rant, but my point is quite simple. If your going to preach a political message, preach it where someone might give a damn and it wont cause them intense rage. A bunch of people in Stormwind preaching can be ignored. Half your team covering the walls in roses cannot.

However, I love the idea, in the right context. It amuses me to no end that anti-war protesters are taking the protest to online games. Go them. Keep it up. Just stay out of small scale games that are reliant on teamplay.

I'll say it once. If people put together a large scale anti-war protest on a WoW EU server, I would be there. Its suprising that MMO's havent been hit by major political statements such as these yet.

And on a final note. Two Million Brits marched against the war. Two MILLION. And they were ignored. So a few teamkilling asshats aint going to get much attention either.

Raza out.

Honestly, video games are a place to unwind and get away from the real world, how would you like it if your "planet terror" or another pointless movie was suddenly interrupted to protest the genocide of zombies? some mediums of entertainment should really be left free of moral and political propaganda. Each person believes what he wants to, but you don't need to disrupt people's game to spread your views, that is a private environment where people are just trying to have fun, I don't need people trying to shove their ideals in my face when i'm trying to kill people. Do they really think trying to protest violence in a game where violence is the main objective as a smart idea? I mean, people know what games they buy, they made the conscious decision to play violent games, so, why would they change their mind if a bunch of protesters are spamming their servers, wouldn't that deter you fro, wanting to listen to the views of that particular group?

Is it me or people who have nothing to do always get on the internet and fuck shit up.Its kinda like 4chan when the anonymous came.Why cant these people just stay at home or just go on a remote island or something.Cause I would hate to see a human peace wall on warpath on Team Fortress 2 or Team Fortress Classic

xmetatr0nx:
Good for them, i think they have the right to do whatever they want. That said, if in real life i am tempted to take a gun to a lot of protestors, absolutely nothing is going to stop me on an online FPS that already provides me with a gun. Its not so much that i hate them for being annoying, its just funny to shoot people sometimes.

Yeah, for example; should I find an online protestor group I'm going to show them that just because they won't fire doesn't mean I won't.

Honestly, if I can get more points and achievements with them, that makes me very happy.

But I must say, I refuse to bend to their political agenda in a game-world. The purpose of the game is to kill things. It isn't fun when you aren't killing things, because that's what it's about. I ask you, why should I stop enjoying an unreal game to listen to people bitching about the real world problems I'm trying to get off my mind by playing?

Hazmatdeath:
Honestly, video games are a place to unwind and get away from the real world, how would you like it if your "planet terror" or another pointless movie was suddenly interrupted to protest the genocide of zombies? some mediums of entertainment should really be left free of moral and political propaganda. Each person believes what he wants to, but you don't need to disrupt people's game to spread your views, that is a private environment where people are just trying to have fun, I don't need people trying to shove their ideals in my face when i'm trying to kill people. Do they really think trying to protest violence in a game where violence is the main objective as a smart idea? I mean, people know what games they buy, they made the conscious decision to play violent games, so, why would they change their mind if a bunch of protesters are spamming their servers, wouldn't that deter you fro, wanting to listen to the views of that particular group?

You've got the right idea.

I'm not against violence in video games per se but I do find it disturbing the excessive amount of gratuitously violent video games pumped out each year by callous game developers. Most gamer's don't think about it twice but if they actually stepped back from the gaming console or gaming PC a few paces they might just wonder..."Hey, why are we spending so much of our free time pretending that we're murdering each other in armed combat?"

Not to mention how war is glorified and portrayed purely from a one sided, usually pro-American, perspective in video games. The "Hey, it's just a game" excuse doesn't wash anymore when you have millions of people spending hours of their day pretending that they're murdering another human being because they were told so and so is a terrorist and deserves to die. Sounds rather Orwellian, does it not?

level250geek:
I'm not disagreeing with you. All I'm saying is, like shooters or not (and I rather like them myself), they do indeed sanitize and romanticize warfare. So if somebody says "Hey, this game makes war look fun!" and voices their opinion saying so, they have a point. So long as they don't ruin the actual game play for everybody else, then I will respect both their opinion and their expression of it.

But they only have a point if they imagine that the player doesn't already know that, which is condescending in the extreme. I doubt many gamers are so utterly dense as to imagine real warfare is as simplistic and entertaining as a game of Counter-Strike, and by imagining all players who enjoy such a game are that dense they're just showing how little regard they hold for any viewpoint but their own.

The America's Army guy is probably the best example of this; he apparently believed that nobody playing the game could possibly realise that real people had died in a war, so took it as his perogative to spam the in-game chat with names of the dead. It requires a special kind of arrogant stupidity to believe this to be in any way useful or necessary.

MorkFromOrk:
Not to mention how war is glorified and portrayed purely from a one sided, usually pro-American, perspective in video games. The "Hey, it's just a game" excuse doesn't wash anymore when you have millions of people spending hours of their day pretending that they're murdering another human being because they were told so and so is a terrorist and deserves to die. Sounds rather Orwellian, does it not?

Nonsense. Imagining oneself as a hero in a morally black-and-white world is simple escapism; we go to those worlds because we wish to inhabit, however briefly, a world where we are necessarily righteous and our enemies necessarily unrighteous. This is why games proclaiming themselves to be morally complex like Haze and Blacksite failed so miserably; nobody wants to put themselves in the shoes of a man who isn't allowed to achieve anything in order to teach the player An Important Lesson That War Is Bad.

As for why so many games are set in modern warfare situations or WW2, it's simple: laziness. If you use a contemporary or past setting, you don't have to invent your own weapons, terrain or scenarios, nor do you have to explain who the bad guys are or why they're the bad guys. It's like instant FPS, just add water and a couple of control gimmicks. Even some supposedly futuristic games like Halo and Killzone do this: most of the Marine hardware in Halo is based on contemporary equipment, and Killzone is basically just anime Nazis versus modern US Marines. In fact, you have it backwards; the game uses your existing recognition that the enemies are bad to avoid explaining why they're bad, it doesn't try to convince you they are.

Trying to make out a political message where there isn't one just shows you have trouble percieving anything except in terms of left or right wing politics. Nobody is pretending they're murdering another human being; the enemy avatar only has two real properties; you die if it shoots you, and it dies if you shoot it. It has no beliefs, no motives, and no purpose in the universe but to fire bullets at you. Any idiot can see such an object is not a human being. You are told to go that way, these things try to stop you, so you stop them stopping you. Nothing Orwellian about that.

Evil Tim:

level250geek:
I'm not disagreeing with you. All I'm saying is, like shooters or not (and I rather like them myself), they do indeed sanitize and romanticize warfare. So if somebody says "Hey, this game makes war look fun!" and voices their opinion saying so, they have a point. So long as they don't ruin the actual game play for everybody else, then I will respect both their opinion and their expression of it.

But they only have a point if they imagine that the player doesn't already know that, which is condescending in the extreme. I doubt many gamers are so utterly dense as to imagine real warfare is as simplistic and entertaining as a game of Counter-Strike, and by imagining all players who enjoy such a game are that dense they're just showing how little regard they hold for any viewpoint but their own.

The America's Army guy is probably the best example of this; he apparently believed that nobody playing the game could possibly realise that real people had died in a war, so took it as his perogative to spam the in-game chat with names of the dead. It requires a special kind of arrogant stupidity to believe this to be in any way useful or necessary.

I can see your point, and I do agree that often protest--be it in video games or on the City Hall steps or in front of the Washington Monument--have at least a small degree of condescension to them.

All of this leads me to say that if you want to truly criticize video games for showing a squeaky clean image of war, then make a video game that doesn't. Make a video game that shows war in its true, brutal form. Now that is a form of protest that lacks condescension and moves the industry forward all at the same time.

Razada:

If your going to preach a political message, preach it where someone might give a damn and it wont cause them intense rage. A bunch of people in Stormwind preaching can be ignored. Half your team covering the walls in roses cannot.

That's pretty much what I've been saying, but not really knowing how. Thanks!

level250geek:
Make a video game that shows war in its true, brutal form. Now that is a form of protest that lacks condescension and moves the industry forward all at the same time.

The problem is that such an opt-in method of delivering your message is fundamentally democratic, while protesting is fundamentally undemocratic; it's about giving disportionate focus to a particular view in a way that's hard to disregard. The protestor's mindset is that loud, annoying public demonstrations get their message out better than simply putting it somewhere people might pick it up and read it of their own accord.

Plus, such games seldom work because, particular with FPS games, the actual way the game functions runs counter to the message you're trying to deliver. Neither Haze or Blacksite could hide their derision for their own subject matter, and being asked to play through a game that's constantly bitching at you for enjoying it and refusing to show any positive side to anything you do is stupid; the game just becomes a chore, only it's an amazingly emo chore that keeps telling you that you shouldn't be doing it.

A game that proclaims it shows the realities of war still needs to show courage, duty, heroism and sacrifice if it wants to be anything but the opposite kind of one-sided. CoD: World at War is fairly good in that respect, not hiding the vicious, even monstrous acts that occur during the campaign, but also showing loyalty between soldiers, officers who want to get their men home, and so on. The logic that a game where you can die already really needs a list of real-life deaths to 'give perspective' or whatever, on the other hand, is just going to make tedious games that whine at the player for doing the things they have to do to finish the levels.

What a waste of time.

I do apreciate the irony, though- well intentioned "artist" types with no talent engage in trolling behaviour to get themselves noticed. Exactly what actual trolls would do, only not so massively pretentious.

It's a bad idea, servers are not the place or the time. It's that simple, they've got the wrong idea about gamers, true gamers do not play because we're all bloodthirsty rampaging sociopaths that love and support war, we play because it's a challenge, because when 16 guys form a clan and that clan goes forth to pwn all across the board - it is FUN.

If a group of people ran out into the highway to form a human chain so that all drivers would think about the danger of someone getting run over....few would cry when the semi doing 70mph wasn't able to stop in time....

Papopapo456:
"-Look! Those persons are having fun.
-Oh My! This is totally wrong.
-Yeah! They are having fun with virtual murder, which has no consequence on the real world and helps with the stress.
-We should do something.
- I know, lets throw a big bunch of grenades to where they are, while shouting loudly. Because grenades are totally safe, aren't they?
- Of Course!"

That's how those jerks think.

I do enjoy ruining these protests when I suddenly interrupt their flow with sudden gunfire and grenades and obtuse and often obscene sentence fragments.

You want to protest? Do it in real life where someone might actually care!

Pacifism+Counter-Strike=?

I don't get this let me try my other approach.

X^2*Pac(0-π+I)
_______________
5Y^3/3(Counter+Strike)+∞=♥?

Nope still nothing. And darn trying to find all those symbols was hard.

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