Games With Fake Wars Are Stupid

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Games With Fake Wars Are Stupid

Games using the plot device of "Private military companies starting wars for fun and profit" really doesn't make sense to begin with.

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Props for that reference in the last line being actually accurate to the thought experiment. And I would gladly read Yahtzee's "Dragon" theory.

Would this "Dragon" theory be similar to Steven Reign's little fairy tale from Rush Hour 2?
And everyone knows PMCs aren't the ones who start the wars Yahtzee, it's the oilfield services companies that do that.

While PMC villains are over played and over dumb, it could be worse. At least no one has copied that retarded Bond film where the villain builds a super stealthy nuclear submarine and uses it to start a war so he can sell newspapers. Now that was an awful villainous scheme.

Yahtzee, the cat knows if it's alive or dead, you silly goose.

I'm not sure there's a whole lot of alternatives for global conflict games. This is certainly their crutch though. A simple nation A wants to overthrow nation B is simple enough.

What kind of scenarios would you find more believeable that also wouldn't currently come across as racist or offensive?

You are kind of ignoring the fact that this kind of thing happens all the time in the real world. Why do you think France and the US are always stirring up trouble? Both countries have so much of their GDPs dependent on arm sales that it's not even funny.

So wait, are you alive or dead? Maybe your both. Has anyone collapse your waveform recently? (Bow chicka wowow)

Paranoid fantasies are as American as Apple Pie.

Jupiter065:
You are kind of ignoring the fact that this kind of thing happens all the time in the real world. Why do you think France and the US are always stirring up trouble? Both countries have so much of their GDPs dependent on arm sales that it's not even funny.

I didn't know France and the US were PMCs.

The analogue falls flat in part because the countries involve themselves directly with a level of control a mere PMC cannot.

Point #2 misses the mark due to the harsh and binding terms of the private soldier's contract at, say, Blackwater. Violate any of it, and you and your descendants will know no joy for generations.

That's barely even hyperbole, they seriously prosecute that hard. So it's not loyalty that keeps them in line, but fear. Keeps with the Saturday morning cartoon villain role, doesn't it?

Bobic:
While PMC villains are over played and over dumb, it could be worse. At least no one has copied that retarded Bond film where the villain builds a super stealthy nuclear submarine and uses it to start a war so he can sell newspapers. Now that was an awful villainous scheme.

Except, by some facepalm-worthy example of human self-interest, that plot is actually closer to something the really happened in real life (admittedly a few years after the film was released), when Rupert Murdoch used his media empire to fan the flames in the lead up to the Iraq war, because he knew that the inevitable carnage that would ensue would mean lots of juicy war coverage for him.

No Stealth Torpedo Boats involved though, which is a shame because that would have at least got him some badass point to balance out the warmongering shit-head points.

AmzRigh:
Point #2 misses the mark due to the harsh and binding terms of the private soldier's contract at, say, Blackwater. Violate any of it, and you and your descendants will know no joy for generations.

That's barely even hyperbole, they seriously prosecute that hard. So it's not loyalty that keeps them in line, but fear. Keeps with the Saturday morning cartoon villain role, doesn't it?

I dunno. I think that when you get to the level of mass-genocide that video games PMCs get up to, EULA agreements kind of lose their sting. I'm pretty sure the country that your former employer would have nuked were it not for your warning will be happy to wipe their asses with any legal extradition requests for you. And they have a good shot at wiping the PMC from the face of the earth.

bificommander:

AmzRigh:
Point #2 misses the mark due to the harsh and binding terms of the private soldier's contract at, say, Blackwater. Violate any of it, and you and your descendants will know no joy for generations.

That's barely even hyperbole, they seriously prosecute that hard. So it's not loyalty that keeps them in line, but fear. Keeps with the Saturday morning cartoon villain role, doesn't it?

I dunno. I think that when you get to the level of mass-genocide that video games PMCs get up to, EULA agreements kind of lose their sting. I'm pretty sure the country that your former employer would have nuked were it not for your warning will be happy to wipe their asses with any legal extradition requests for you. And they have a good shot at wiping the PMC from the face of the earth.

Yeah, if a PMC is committing Crimes Against Humanity and such, if someone rats them out it doesn't matter what they have written on paper because, a) they'll be using all their funds to save themselves from being cast into an oubliette, and, b) no jury on earth will hold up a contract of a company that ascribes to the "What Would Hitler Do?" business model.

Zachary Amaranth:
Paranoid fantasies are as American as Apple Pie.

Jupiter065:
You are kind of ignoring the fact that this kind of thing happens all the time in the real world. Why do you think France and the US are always stirring up trouble? Both countries have so much of their GDPs dependent on arm sales that it's not even funny.

I didn't know France and the US were PMCs.

It wouldn't even work if they were PMCs. Such action ultimately costs the country more money than it would make back in trade through such measures, by virtue of defense contractors gouging the military for more than they do the market (I can say this is the case for the US; and it'd blow your mind how much military-paid hardware is just laying around Iraq).

Government Defense Contractor: "Great! We sold more TOW missiles and APCs to foreign nations due to conflict!...And our military still spent far more than that in taxpayer dollars!"

It's a snake eating its own tail.

Yahtzee: Making "Fight Club" seem like the healthy nihilistic option, since 2013.

Zachary Amaranth:
Paranoid fantasies are as American as Apple Pie.

Jupiter065:
You are kind of ignoring the fact that this kind of thing happens all the time in the real world. Why do you think France and the US are always stirring up trouble? Both countries have so much of their GDPs dependent on arm sales that it's not even funny.

I didn't know France and the US were PMCs.

The analogue falls flat in part because the countries involve themselves directly with a level of control a mere PMC cannot.

Well, there's something to be said for applying Yahtzee's analysis to independent nations as well. That's why modern politics have a more restrained attitude towards war than they used to - well, Western politics that is.

The problem with this is that if you don't do something like that then you'll have to come up with something else. Which leads to such gems as Russia declaring war on the entire world at once.

I Agree with Yahtzee. It's why Delita from Final Fantasy Tactics was my favorite villain as a kid. I didn't even realize he was one of the game villains until months after I beat it. (Also they have a ton of great villains of all stripes and colors)

And once again Mr. Yahtzee shows everyone how intelligent he is. But what's the point, Mr. Yahtzee? These readers of yours cannot possibly match you in brains. they only know how to make it seem so on the surface. They're all socialites. You can make a spin doctor from any idiot.
Unless your motive for speaking in the open are not pure, how can you be so sure you're not wasting your breath?

Actually a lot of wars were encouraged or lengthened by news media/war profiteers. Remember the Maine? There was a lot of corruption involved in WW1 and the Iraq War. Companies like GE own NBC and make over a billion dollars a year in contracts. Halliburton has scammed the government a lot but they made tonnes of cash. The only difference is that now games refer to PMC's starting wars instead of newspapers.

Jupiter065:
You are kind of ignoring the fact that this kind of thing happens all the time in the real world. Why do you think France and the US are always stirring up trouble? Both countries have so much of their GDPs dependent on arm sales that it's not even funny.

Gotta love these conspiracy theories. As much as I loathe the French and despise the US's system of government I can still recognize that it would take an absurdly deluded individual to first think such a thing was a worthwhile goal of a nation and second have to be terribly lucky to maintain support as they attempt to push that agenda.

The whole PMC thing always falls flat when it attempts to be a global-wide conspiracy. They work as the personal 'henchmen' of a wealthy antagonist who in turn has his own global agenda but they're a business and a business won't do something that promises its own downfall in 3-5 years without anyone left alive to/capable of buying it. Unless you're called Umbrella.

I would think everyone is missing a point here.

Why in gods name would a PMC need to generate more potential business opportunities to begin with?
It's not like they're starved for customers. While sliding down the ethical scale there'll be lots of murderous warlords more than happy to hire you - long before you have to go and bring your own war.

A fan of Schrödinger's, eh?
I love quantum mechanics too :P

Good article as usual, but making so many valid points hurts the humor-to-seriousness ratio a bit.

BTW, PMC's don't need to start conflicts, the CIA already has a monopoly on that!

It's okay though Yahtzee, because this time the ultimate bad guy played college ball! So unique! So fresh! So original!

...Okay, still played out and dumb with a minor meme opportunity, but considering "I played college ball" was one of maybe 3 things in the entire game that wasn't completely and utterly devoid of entertainment value (the other two being Raiden's civilian disguise and that blonde chick's rack, because if you're going to have someone on screen shoveling completely boring exposition down my throat for half the game, better some stonking great tits than the utterly boring Russian, utterly boring German, utterly boring black guy, or utterly boring robotic dog), so I'm going to have a little fun with it dammit.

Ultimately this is me hoping we never go back for more Rising and just stick to more prequels like Ground Zeroes, or for a really far out idea, letting the series finally rest while Kojima gets to work on that something else he's always saying he wants to do. ...No, silly me, that last thing can't happen, what good is a popular IP if you can't milk it until everyone is so sick of it until it bombs? I mean, as much as I would have loved to see just one Jak and Daxter game for PS3, on the other side of the coin it is nice of Sony and Naughty Dog not to milk the franchise straight into the ground as well.

kailus13:
The problem with this is that if you don't do something like that then you'll have to come up with something else. Which leads to such gems as Russia declaring war on the entire world at once.

Right, because that makes even LESS sense than PMC's being in responsible for everything. I get ramping up the stakes, and the need to not single out one nationality/ethnicity for the antagonists, but you can't have both without it being ridiculous. So I prefer MG:Revengeance fully embracing the absurdity over CoD:MW's super-serious take, which comes off as more ludicrous. How's that for tonal inconsistency?

I think the issue is a matter of what the audience perceives to be realistic (this is different from actually being realistic). The whole point of making the enemy group a PMC is that you want to present a threat that seems plausible. It's why the game doesn't opt for invading demons from hell or Ming the Merciless - the tone is set to be realistic and so the threat has to be too.

So you have a PMC as the main bad guys. Okay. You run into trouble when you attempt to raise the stakes. Now if this PMC's goals were just to start a dust-up between two developing countries and profit from that, that can be percieved as realistic. You run into problems when you reach for super-high stakes and have a PMC attempting to orchestrate the start of WWIII on its own. Such an endeavor entails forcing a very specific course of complicated events and the expenditure of tons of resources, and 'in it for the money' stops being perceived as a realistic motive when the audience begins to wonder why the companies myriad of investors have decided to commit billions of dollars towards a project that by necessity they can't know anything about when investing in the latest housing bubble seems to be a much surer option.

I think the incongruity works in Metal Gear. It isn't a perfect series, but it has enough charm and tragedy to draw you in emotionally, and I think a guard running around holding his arse in the midst of that makes it all the funnier. I didn't like it in Metal Gear Rising because it was completely unsubtle on both ends of the joke spectrum, but dialogue like this from Metal Gear Solid 2 makes me laugh:

"Raiden, find the node."

"Did you say nerd?

"Not nerd. Node."

"Oh."

Yes, it's stupid to eliminate farmland and give them war jobs because people need to eat. But as I've learned sharing a state with Seattle, there are honestly people who think that "we don't need farms, food comes from Safeway!" I certainly wouldn't put it past a supervillain to be that short-sighted.

P.S. Thanks

Atmos Duality:

It wouldn't even work if they were PMCs. Such action ultimately costs the country more money than it would make back in trade through such measures, by virtue of defense contractors gouging the military for more than they do the market (I can say this is the case for the US; and it'd blow your mind how much military-paid hardware is just laying around Iraq).

Government Defense Contractor: "Great! We sold more TOW missiles and APCs to foreign nations due to conflict!...And our military still spent far more than that in taxpayer dollars!"

It's a snake eating its own tail.

Indeed. The only reason it works on this level is that we allow big government to subsidise personal interests. In other words, that the larger body is not out to make a profit in the first place.

I think the most ridiculous PMC plot was in HAWX. The PMC in that had enough clout to host an entire fleet of warships (complete with aircraft carrier) and attack washington. A little over the top, but the one in MGR:R was pretty bad too. Desperado did have a pretty neat logo though.

Ultimately PMC's don't have nearly as much power as people think they do. They are mercenaries when you get right down to it, and they need to be very careful what they do where they operate. None of this bs about killing civilians and doing all this evil crap. They pull that stuff they go to jail in that country, and thats the end of that.

Mostly they just protect VIPs and secure places of interest like oil fields and US bases. Some Blackwater was deployed during Katrina in New Orleans if I remember correctly. I doubt they'll have any sort of real power until drones becoming more readily available, then you might have some issues.

Bobic:
While PMC villains are over played and over dumb, it could be worse. At least no one has copied that retarded Bond film where the villain builds a super stealthy nuclear submarine and uses it to start a war so he can sell newspapers. Now that was an awful villainous scheme.

NinjaDeathSlap:

Except, by some facepalm-worthy example of human self-interest, that plot is actually closer to something the really happened in real life (admittedly a few years after the film was released), when Rupert Murdoch used his media empire to fan the flames in the lead up to the Iraq war, because he knew that the inevitable carnage that would ensue would mean lots of juicy war coverage for him.

No Stealth Torpedo Boats involved though, which is a shame because that would have at least got him some badass point to balance out the warmongering shit-head points.

I think you guys are both missing what was really important, which was this:

With all the discussion about what would make an interesting game about a modern war, I can't help but think that the last big war this planet has seen sort of spoiled our perceptions. In World War II, one of the sides really was a cartoon villain. In most cases, the reasons for a war are hard to untangle and are the subject of long history books that try to take into account every socio-political factor that leads two or more countries to expend considerable resources towards a goal that in retrospective never seems to have been worth it.

In light of this, I think the best way for games to approach a war game is to never show in the game why a war broke out. It's okay to have a chain of events in the background, or have a signature event that can easily be pointed to as contributing to the start of hostilities (such as the assassination of an Austrian Archduke), but the raison etre for the War should only be implied in the background.

I'd argue that, since the setting is earth, it's better than the alternative of painting some country and/or group as the antagonist (See: any modern FPS (Though I'd be pleased as Judy if there was a game featuring Native Americans trying to fight off the foreign invader antagonists.)) Which isn't to say that it's not ridiculous, but if they're going to have some organized enemy that enforces goatees (Or at least sufficiently twirlable handlebar mustaches) as part of their uniform, I'd rather they skip the pretenses of realism and make them some vague company than Russia again.

Incidentally, I never really liked that example. The cat would clearly die. It's an airtight box for crying out loud, is carbon dioxide not a poison anymore?

Hell for a bit of added entertainment:

Most PMCs are based out of the UK due to how international laws on the subject work.

Kinda funny, you cant get near an assault weapon as a civi in the UK, but by god if you want to form a PMC, that is the place to do it!

Ishal:
I think the most ridiculous PMC plot was in HAWX. The PMC in that had enough clout to host an entire fleet of warships (complete with aircraft carrier) and attack washington. A little over the top, but the one in MGR:R was pretty bad too. Desperado did have a pretty neat logo though.

Ultimately PMC's don't have nearly as much power as people think they do. They are mercenaries when you get right down to it, and they need to be very careful what they do where they operate. None of this bs about killing civilians and doing all this evil crap. They pull that stuff they go to jail in that country, and thats the end of that.

Mostly they just protect VIPs and secure places of interest like oil fields and US bases. Some Blackwater was deployed during Katrina in New Orleans if I remember correctly. I doubt they'll have any sort of real power until drones becoming more readily available, then you might have some issues.

There are people that have actually argued that we could and should privatize war such that The PMC in HAWX could do just that. That said entities that we would recognize as corporations usually just co opt the military might of an existing nation state because no one in the modern era has been quite so foolish as to give PMCs the kind of power that they have in these games or other fiction.

To say that it doesn't make sense or is not realistic is actually quite ignorant of what people have actually done in the past. Hell the guy who created Debeers (Spelling?) had enough clout to get a machine gun that was still experimental to put down an uprising of settlers at one point early in the 20th century.

Abomination:

Jupiter065:
You are kind of ignoring the fact that this kind of thing happens all the time in the real world. Why do you think France and the US are always stirring up trouble? Both countries have so much of their GDPs dependent on arm sales that it's not even funny.

Gotta love these conspiracy theories. As much as I loathe the French and despise the US's system of government I can still recognize that it would take an absurdly deluded individual to first think such a thing was a worthwhile goal of a nation and second have to be terribly lucky to maintain support as they attempt to push that agenda.

The whole PMC thing always falls flat when it attempts to be a global-wide conspiracy. They work as the personal 'henchmen' of a wealthy antagonist who in turn has his own global agenda but they're a business and a business won't do something that promises its own downfall in 3-5 years without anyone left alive to/capable of buying it. Unless you're called Umbrella.

Please see the American Civil war. Also note that the war was effectively a con staged by what was essentially a landed nobility. See further that they would say on one hand that slaves were happy where they were, and then refuse to loan them out to build fortifications because they would run away.

Ps. Point 2 is just wrong:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Fruit_Company#History_in_Central_America

UFC accomplished their plan by petitioning the U.S. government claiming SOVIETS long before we the public found out. They did run into point three however. Even then it is not a given that a corporation attempting anything like this will end up being unable to capitalize on a successfully executed plot.

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