Games With Fake Wars Are Stupid

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Heh, usually, I think you're a clever idiot, but, now, Yahtzee, I think you might actually be intelligent. What do you know about comics? Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen have two things in common: they're incredibly depressing and written by Alan Moore. The first two kicked off the Dark Age of Comics in the 90's. But, it turns out, incredibly depressing apocalyptic art is not all that Alan Moore's capable of. (Not porn comics, and hrghh now I'm thinking of ZP erotica and blerch) He's also written Tom Strong. It's not in the same oeuvre (what the hell does that word even mean) and even seems to be a repudiation of same. If nothing else, it seems to be a statement of, knock it off imitators, there's plenty of things to write about other than being super miserable all the time. And there's an analogy about this piece. Clearly you're not Alan Moore, but, hey, I've also drunk a half bottle of bourbon, so, we're even. I'll check back in the morning

I've always liked how the Metal Gear series can suddenly shift from super serious to quirky and silly. It gives it a "Yup. This is a video game alright" feel.

As for PMC's, I have no feelings toward them whatsoever, but I do prefer real armies. Not necessarily national armies, but more something like the Brotherhood of NOD.

I don't think your Sunday activities will last for long seeing as there are tons of atoms radioactively decaying in regular air and the soil. It's what we call background radiation.

Anyway we really only have to look at Iraq and Iran to see that this has been pulled off multiple times in history. Though in a bit of a different way. Country has resource. Country keeps resource to national business exploitation. Other countries come together to instill a puppet ruler to get access to said resource. Puppet ruler gets instated unleashing a civil war that will engulf the country for many years to come or instilling the puppet fails resulting in all out war between nations.

In the end the exploitation of the resource may or may not work giving more profit to the actual rulers, the giant corporations and in the past financiers of royal extravagance. We now have Big Oil exploiting the Iraq oil fields for basically no costs when they were given No-bid contracts and the puppet ruler they instilled is happily going along whilst the civil war rages on. We just stopped reporting it but yesterday there were 75 dead from bombings and shootings.

Sure PMC's are a stupid idea because the PMC would only profit from perpetual war which is an impossibility. But engineered conflicts for corporate gain? Sure, as soon as the puppet is there the money starts rolling, all paid for by the taxpayers. So made up wars being silly? Not so much given that wars have been fought for made up reasons since the dawn of time with ulterior motives for all involved.

1337mokro:
Country has resource. Country keeps resource to national business exploitation. Other countries come together to install a puppet ruler to get access to said resource. Puppet ruler gets instated unleashing a civil war that will engulf the country for many years to come or instilling the puppet fails resulting in all out war between nations.

It's worth pointing out that the post invasion bloodshed in Iraq (and to an extent, Afghanistan) wasn't so much due to the installation of a puppet ruler as it was a combination of age old sectarian hatreds that had been exacerbated brutally by the regimes that had gotten kicked out, and a catastrophic failure of US strategy and counter-insurgency doctrine (for which there was no excuse given the fact that even the locals were expecting them to implement the thoroughly tried and tested COIN doctrines used by the British Army!).

Desert Punk:
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!

It's a surprisingly grey area, one deliberately muddied by our government, as UK law clearly bans PMC's but not private security companies (security guards). There should be little area for confusion, but the government employs them all the time, and they positively encourage them to operate out of the UK. They are often nominally headquartered in a UK dependency such as the Channel Islands or the Cayman Isles, to which UK law doesn't apply and in which addition have dodgy tax laws.

I have a cousin who is presently working as a mercenary for a PMC. It's sad, he loved the army, he is a damn good soldier and would have continued to work for them until retirement. But he gave the army 15 years of his life and they made him redundant.

In short, as long as you call yourself a security guard and your HQ is nominally in an offshore tax haven, the British government would love to have you set up shop here. And the MOD are short-sighted idiots.

Atmos Duality:

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.

Yup, that's capitalism for you.

Yeah you are right about Peacewalker. The guy was launching a nuke so that he can prove that nuclear deterrence works?

His logic was extremely flawed and the whole plan was stupid, not to mention vague.

But the game did have great conversations with those tapes and some cool people

3. Creating a niche for your business doesn't necessarily mean you'll fill it

The equivalent to the "Engineer war so that people will hire your PMC" scheme would be if someone at, say, Cadbury's, tried to improve sales by dumping hunger-inducing drugs into the water supply. You make everyone hungry, but they're not necessarily going to buy your product, are they. This notion often seems to slip by the evil PMC.

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classic case of adapting/skewing an analogy to support your argument.

The narrative in gaming is limited but in the real world politicians are pressured by other politicians and lobbyists.
In many cases the politician has a lucrative seat waiting for him on a board;
eg. Dick Cheney and arms maufacturers after pushing for war, half the Republican Party and Drug lobbyists after passing legislation for free drugs for old people for over the top prices paid for by the tax payer. etc etc (I'm not a Democrat or even american...just the most obvious examples)

So you can ensure people will buy your product because the government will make it mandatory...the government hires PMC's with tax payer money currently. It buys weapons with tax payer money.

So after you drug the water supply with hunger pills, the government will give out 'free' chocolate to combat this (because you have an arrangement with them to buy it off you)..and simply add it onto the national debt. Your company gets money, the politicians get money...and average joe pays for it.

In the case of a fictional universe with PMC overload - we can just assume they have a monopoly on the market (or government links)

MGS4 is the most messed up storyline I have experienced but by the end you are supposed to realise the military industrial complex is self sustaining. Human logic no longer comes into it. Just like how you can't shut down wall street and trading goods that don't actually exist yet, you can't shut down the military industrial complex. it would be like firing half the brokers and traders in each City. They don't produce anything of value but everything will just collapse for a while.

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.

I don't know about the people who work for Umbrella, but Umbrella's only purpose was to provide funding for Spencer to achieve immortality through research on the Progenitor Virus.

So Spencer, and by extension Umbrella, only cares about that. Money isn't an issue, and so Spencer doesn't care if half the world is reduced to ruins, so long as he gets his immortality.

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.

Academi previously known as Xe Services LLC, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide have been use by USA in operations in the Middle East currently they have CIA contracts there pretty much the go to guy for dirty OPS. In fact the company its self had to change its name twice because of law suits regarding the use of Excessive force. Moreover America has used the military industrial complex to its advantage before just look at Woodrow Wilson's nonintervention policy. We sold guns and bombs to the Allies and didn't enter the war until Germany started to threaten our money. Same thing in world two FDR's Arsenal of Diplomacy, which was ironic because it was just Deal between Government and Big industry to sell more guns to Allies. In fact GE helped build the Atomic Bomb. TL;DR Military Industrial Complex is real and it's scary that people deny it.

level27smartass:
TL;DR Military Industrial Complex is real and it's scary that people deny it.

Cool!

I mean, it did nothing to actually refute me, and in fact sort of solidified my argument. Even Blackwater doesn't make a solid argument here.

But cool anyway.

Thamian:

1337mokro:
Country has resource. Country keeps resource to national business exploitation. Other countries come together to install a puppet ruler to get access to said resource. Puppet ruler gets instated unleashing a civil war that will engulf the country for many years to come or instilling the puppet fails resulting in all out war between nations.

It's worth pointing out that the post invasion bloodshed in Iraq (and to an extent, Afghanistan) wasn't so much due to the installation of a puppet ruler as it was a combination of age old sectarian hatreds that had been exacerbated brutally by the regimes that had gotten kicked out, and a catastrophic failure of US strategy and counter-insurgency doctrine (for which there was no excuse given the fact that even the locals were expecting them to implement the thoroughly tried and tested COIN doctrines used by the British Army!).

Oh of course, absolutely the root of the violence is something else, but can't say it wasn't very helpful in finding a puppet. After all the puppet was found in the minority group and the promise of power, money and security is quite an alluring thing to control someone with. It also prevents any counter political movement from forming because now we have two clear sections that want to kill each others.

Call it the Scared Puppy approach to governmental manipulation with a dab of divide and conquer.

1337mokro:
[

Oh of course, absolutely the root of the violence is something else, but can't say it wasn't very helpful in finding a puppet. After all the puppet was found in the minority group and the promise of power, money and security is quite an alluring thing to control someone with. It also prevents any counter political movement from forming because now we have two clear sections that want to kill each others.

Call it the Scared Puppy approach to governmental manipulation with a dab of divide and conquer.

Well... Sorry to tell you this, but of the three men you could possibly accuse of being the puppet only one is from a minority(Prime Minister al-Maliki is a Shiite (majority in Iraq), President Karzai is a Sunni (majority in Afghanistan) and President Talabani is ok, both a Sunni and a Kurd (both minorities) but he doesn't actually run Iraq's government, that al-Maliki's job).

The two 'clear' (this is middle east, nothing is quite that simple out there (see the on-going conflict in Syria for a perfect example of that principle)) sides in other words are represented in the Iraqi government at the highest level and have been ever since the elections in 2005, meanwhile in Afghanistan, the primary insurgent force (i.e. the Taliban) is from the same majority as the President.

In other words, what you're saying doesn't make any sense in this context. Depending on such a strategy might work, but there are more efficient ways of going about it, especially in the context of the global war on terror. I know the US didn't have much of a clue about how to fight such a war back in the day, but even back then they weren't that stupid. As much as the access to the extra oil would have been nice, you do realise how badly terrorist attacks hit the stock markets don't you?

And thinking about Syria, that's another wonderful example of a dictator from a minority completely fucking things up as far as sectarian relations are concerned. Fuck knows what the end result of that one's gonna be. It's not going be pretty either way.

Abomination:
and despise the US's system of government

Do you maybe mean 'despise the US's policies'? Which I could sort of get behind.* Or do you mean its basis as a federal presidential constitutional republic, as opposed to, say, a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy. That would be more unusual and I'd be curious to hear your arguments for the one over the other.

FWIW, I think New Zealand is spiffy though I have only a cursory understanding of its government.

* inasmuch as I'm not a fan of a lot of our interventionist foreign policy and think our domestic social programs could use a great deal more support

Covarr:
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.

Seriously?! There are people that dumb?!

Mahoshonen:
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 perceived 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 agree with this, the problem isn't PMCs encouraging war in and out of itself, but escalation, example:

Modern Warfare 1: The US invades somewhere in the middle east (it was supposed to be Saudi Arabia originally), Khalid Al-Assad sets off nukes and kills lots of US soldiers, later Russian rebels take over a Russian base and attempt to nuke America, and are stopped by the British SAS, US Marines, and Russian military, said Russian rebels are implied to fall to infighting and other various problems.

Modern Warfare 2: The Russian rebels HAVE OVER RUSSIA!!! And an evil terrorist named Vladimir Makarov HAS AMERICA!!! AND RUSSIA IS INVADING WASHINGTON!!!, THEN THEY"RE GOING TO INVADE THE REST OF AMERICA! OH YOUR GOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!11!!1!1one!1

Modern Warfare 3: RUSSIA IS INVADING EVERYWHERE AT ONCE!!!11!!11!1q!!asfkj.nusadclkjdzfldfgOEfeoinoeeke;da/lkw12!@e3kew (this story description of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, has been "enhanced" due being batshit insane, don't worry, it's all incoherent bullshit from here)

At this point the BLU Heavy temporarily leaves his cocaine to patrol his base, suddenly he is attack by a sentry! Being maintained by the evil Engineer Who's Hat Keeps Changing Every Time The Camera Angle Changes! Or EWHKCETTCAC (just so you know I'm actually trying to pronounce that). Ewhkcettcac has set up camp in the BLU base, the Heavy will have to defeat him! But HOW? Suddenly a BLU Soldier reveals the solution! The sentry is programmed to fire only at people wearing BLU uniforms, the Heavy gets naked, and walks calmly to Ewhkcettcac, who kills himself out of shame for his failure, SUDDENLY! A TWIST! The Heavy realizes that the RED Spy is STEALING HIS COCAINE! After getting dressed the Heavy challenges the Spy to an epic battle. After defeating the Spy the Heavy claims his prize, well, reclaims his prize.

(If you guess what video I'm referencing I'll reward you with absolutely nothing, I also wouldn't be surprised if that was the next "CoD: Black Ops" game).

Yeah, that kept bugging me about MGS4's "war economy" in which most of the world's armies had apparently been replaced by PMCs handling every aspect of the war for them - why would governments pay these guys several times the salary they're paying their soldiers for doing basically the same jobs? Why would they exchange an army that is at least somewhat loyal to the country for one that only serves the mighty buck and would thus turn against you as soon as it makes sense from a business standpoint?

I doubt Hitler would have gotten as far as he did if he'd used an army of Landsknechte mercenaries instead of an indoctrinated Wehrmacht (ok, let's see how long it takes for some German to point out that the term "Landser" for German soldiers serving in the World Wars is in fact derived from "Landsknecht").

Yes, PMCs have their uses even for governments with large regular armies (they can provide training and extra logistics, you have plausible deniability for morally dubious acts like torture or arming factions embargoed for human rights abuses), but mostly their services are either aimed at small-time wars in ressource-rich nations, nations with a very poorly trained army (i.e. mostly to train the aforementioned army, not fight as frontline troops) and corporations without their own army wishing to protect their assets.

Also, lastly, if PMCs are so damn powerful - how come Blackwater recently changed their name *again* (from "Xe" to "Academi")? I think it's pretty clear that they want to portray themselves mainly as a provider of training services, not somebody who will fight an entire war for you.

Elijah Newton:

Abomination:
and despise the US's system of government

Do you maybe mean 'despise the US's policies'? Which I could sort of get behind.* Or do you mean its basis as a federal presidential constitutional republic, as opposed to, say, a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy. That would be more unusual and I'd be curious to hear your arguments for the one over the other.

FWIW, I think New Zealand is spiffy though I have only a cursory understanding of its government.

* inasmuch as I'm not a fan of a lot of our interventionist foreign policy and think our domestic social programs could use a great deal more support

I mean its 2 party system, paranoia of federal government authority, absurd bureaucratic costs of introducing new policy, the incredible power and susceptibility to lobbying that senators hold, and the tennis ball that is the constitution (the number of nations who do not have one yet have HIGHER personal freedom ratings than the United States should be a wake up call as to how the constitution is BAD for the United States).

Its policies are a result of its system of government, they're a symptom but the system is the cause or catalyst.

New Zealand's system of government does have a few shortfallings but by comparison to the United States we run like a terribly well oiled machine. I would prefer 5 years between general elections over our present 3 years but MMP means that if a party just drags its feet in order to simply oppose policy on the grounds that their opposition party suggested it they will find themselves losing a significant portion of their support to another closely-aligned-but-not-identical party.

From an outsider's perspective the flaws in the US government's system are so terribly obvious.

Abomination:
I mean its 2 party system, paranoia of federal government authority, absurd bureaucratic costs of introducing new policy, the incredible power and susceptibility to lobbying that senators hold, and the tennis ball that is the constitution (the number of nations who do not have one yet have HIGHER personal freedom ratings than the United States should be a wake up call as to how the constitution is BAD for the United States).

Its policies are a result of its system of government, they're a symptom but the system is the cause or catalyst.

New Zealand's system of government does have a few shortfallings but by comparison to the United States we run like a terribly well oiled machine. I would prefer 5 years between general elections over our present 3 years but MMP means that if a party just drags its feet in order to simply oppose policy on the grounds that their opposition party suggested it they will find themselves losing a significant portion of their support to another closely-aligned-but-not-identical party.

From an outsider's perspective the flaws in the US government's system are so terribly obvious.

Yow - easy, there, man. You've got some good points but the words you'd initially chosen did not necessarily translate into the items with which you are so frustrated. I appreciate your insights but not everyone inside is blind to the flaws. It would be more charitable to say that since we're inside they are the rules of a game by which we are obligated to play. *shrug* Short of pulling up stakes and moving (which I consider from time to time) them's the breaks. But your opinion is fair enough.

I'm lightly surprised by your apparent vitriol, to be honest. People here getting worked up over those issues I can dig, but you live in a physical paradise which is a well-oiled machine to boot. Are you overburdened with a predisposition to sympathy or simply frustrated by any kind of inefficiency / missed potential?

Anyway, we're likely boring folks here and are wandering pretty far off topic but drop me a message if you've an interest in continuing the discussion.

Elijah Newton:
You've got some good points but the words you'd initially chosen did not necessarily translate into the items with which you are so frustrated.
...
Are you overburdened with a predisposition to sympathy or simply frustrated by any kind of inefficiency / missed potential?

If it isn't the system of the government I can't think of another word to describe it.

I am not frustrated in the least - someone raised the idea that France and/or the United States engage in wars like some stereotypical PMC antagonist plot. I mentioned that despite how much I despise the former nation and recognize the political failings of the other I do not think for one second either would engage in such activities.

You asked me to elaborate on what particular failings I felt the US government system embodied and I elaborated.

There is no frustration, let alone emotion, I was simply stating my opinion on the matter as I was requested to.

Zachary Amaranth:

level27smartass:
TL;DR Military Industrial Complex is real and it's scary that people deny it.

Cool!

I mean, it did nothing to actually refute me, and in fact sort of solidified my argument. Even Blackwater doesn't make a solid argument here.

But cool anyway.

I was giving you examples of war profiteering and how America is using PMCs to do dirty work, PMC making money off way America asserts its self as global strong man.

It's quirky bits alongside attempts at serious character drama where the writing gets just plain bad. Like Metal Gear Solid 4, in which a soul-sick dying old man puts a gun in his mouth in hour 1 and rolls around in a barrel until he pukes in hour 2.

I don't care about metal gear very much, but I still have to disagree with this sentiment. Some of us don't mind if our peas and mashed potatoes touch, and if they do it's in no way evidence of a bad dinner. Life isn't just drama, nor is it just quirky. I can be crying over the death of a friend on a Monday but still manage to bring myself to laugh at an (old) episode of the Simpsons in the same week. If anything, I think more entertainment should broaden it's scope of what it's willing to show us outside of it's perceived genre.

This is why Cabin in the Woods was a brilliant movie, if not the most brilliant I've seen in the last decade.

Thamian:

1337mokro:
[

Oh of course, absolutely the root of the violence is something else, but can't say it wasn't very helpful in finding a puppet. After all the puppet was found in the minority group and the promise of power, money and security is quite an alluring thing to control someone with. It also prevents any counter political movement from forming because now we have two clear sections that want to kill each others.

Call it the Scared Puppy approach to governmental manipulation with a dab of divide and conquer.

Well... Sorry to tell you this, but of the three men you could possibly accuse of being the puppet only one is from a minority(Prime Minister al-Maliki is a Shiite (majority in Iraq), President Karzai is a Sunni (majority in Afghanistan) and President Talabani is ok, both a Sunni and a Kurd (both minorities) but he doesn't actually run Iraq's government, that al-Maliki's job).

The two 'clear' (this is middle east, nothing is quite that simple out there (see the on-going conflict in Syria for a perfect example of that principle)) sides in other words are represented in the Iraqi government at the highest level and have been ever since the elections in 2005, meanwhile in Afghanistan, the primary insurgent force (i.e. the Taliban) is from the same majority as the President.

In other words, what you're saying doesn't make any sense in this context. Depending on such a strategy might work, but there are more efficient ways of going about it, especially in the context of the global war on terror. I know the US didn't have much of a clue about how to fight such a war back in the day, but even back then they weren't that stupid. As much as the access to the extra oil would have been nice, you do realise how badly terrorist attacks hit the stock markets don't you?

And thinking about Syria, that's another wonderful example of a dictator from a minority completely fucking things up as far as sectarian relations are concerned. Fuck knows what the end result of that one's gonna be. It's not going be pretty either way.

I didn't know we were talking about 5 different conflicts at the same time. I was talking solely about the Iraq internal conflict and it's roots being in a governmental power being consolidated solely in the hands of a minority group after the conflict. We're 10 years further now and if they actually kept to election schedules we should have the 2nd or 3rd president pop up soon, if there is an actual democracy we might see a change in that. I can't blame Talabani for what the people 5 years ago did, though he was again also part of that tight-knit little group of Kurdish-Sunni politicians.

Though here is of course how all this works. You start a conflict, then instate an interim regime or whatever who WILL pass sweeping legislation such as the Hydrocarbon law, MASSIVELY unpopular with the Iraqi people, still passed. Personally overseen by consulting firms hired by Bush. This is one of many of the tell tale signs of puppetry. A law that is unnecessary, seeing as most if not all of the oil installations survived and really all they had to do was hire people to work there. Some oil fields were burning but even then why is it mostly American companies AND do the American companies demand the biggest profit percentage in comparison to other bidders and still get the contracts? Doesn't really make sense right? "We'll do it for half of what they are asking" ---> "REFUSED!!!"

We can mull over conspiracies all day long. In the end really we can only conclude one thing. That the entire Iraq war was a miserable debacle most likely governed by greed and exploitation of resources rather than democracy.

Actually this is the Middle East, things are as clear as spring water. Foreign powers keep stirring the pot over and over and over and stirring up a shit storm. We had America funding their late dictator pall Saddam for YEARS whilst he did battle with Iran, then after he dared touch their oil in Kuwait well the rest is history. Same for the Taliban where they were perfect anti Red menace material, consequences be damned. It really is that simple. It's unofficial imperialism which always results in the crowning of Tyrants and the maintaining of conflict.

Same for most of North Africa with dictators being instilled and held in power for decades by outside manipulations.

Abomination:
You asked me to elaborate on what particular failings I felt the US government system embodied and I elaborated.

There is no frustration, let alone emotion, I was simply stating my opinion on the matter as I was requested to.

I am sorry for my misunderstanding. Thank you for having taken the time to respond.

Schroedinger's Critic. Existentialism at it's purest.

Where was I?
Oh, yeah. PMC looks a bit like PPC and that makes me want to drink unsafe quantities of alcohol.

"But I think we as a species would be a lot mentally healthier if we stopped taking comfort in delusions and learned to accept the transitive nature of our existence."

Somebody care to explain me that sentence?

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.

That was during EndWar plot, aka the three superpowers (EU/US/RU) were at each other's throats, mercenary forces was buying the stuff wholesale from the army to ease their supply lines.

This reminds me a lot of one of The Big Picture episodes where MovieBob said that conspiracy theories are the modern equivalent of ancient nature myths. People naturally want something to explain something that seems unexplainable. Now while it may seem counter-intuitive arms dealers don't necessarily want actual wars to happen war is messy and expensive and while you may make a profit in the short term from immediate sales to keep a party fighting in the end one of them is going to lose and the winner may not be in a position even after that to continue buying your produce. What you really want isn't a war but an arms race. It isn't the war but the fear of war and being out-gunned in that war that would drive up sales and would keep them going longer. The most you want is fairly limited conflicts that simply serve to keep the fear of preparedness for a greater conflict alive. Starting an actual all out war has too great a short term cost and your customer could end up bankrupting themselves rather quickly. If you just keep the fear alive you maintain the customer base longer and, since they are not actually having to leverage the costs of an actual conflict, you can get them to buy more expensive products that if purchased in the course of an actual conflict would be impractical. Of course if you customer does get into an actual war the cost of that war goes through the roof rather quickly. For example the US costs in WW2 were $US4.2 trillion (2011 inflation adjusted). The Iraq/Afghanistan war is just slightly less than that at around $US4 trillion. However in WW2 the US mobilized more than 16 million troops whereas the Iraq/Afghanistan war was less than 2.5 million. As you can see it is far more expensive now to mobilize far fewer troops than it was then and this is a direct result of the high cost of equipment. Equipping a soldier in WW2 would cost about $US190 (2011 inflation adjusted) whereas the cost of equipping a modern soldier is $US17,000. The cost of the rather small scale wars (relative to the men and material used for larger conflict such as WW2 not as a matter of duration) fought against Iraq and Afghanistan have had a severe detrimental effect on the US economy but are a fraction of what would be expected if there was a full scale conflict with a major power such as Russia or China. If you want them to keep buying your really high priced goods you actually want to keep them out of large scale conflict.

I think that we partly have Kiefer (William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus - lol!!) Sutherland and the series 24 to thank for popularizing these types of storylines. In a thinly veiled attempt to not appear TOO racist or xenophobic the series 24 often ultimately has the muslim terroists in the role of puppets of some sinister, shadowy PMC or private syndicate. Which (when you think about it) is almost more insulting to the muslims as it suggest they are not only aggressive, violent terrorists but also stupid... too backward to actually think or act for themselves!

Now actually the idea of the man-at-the-top or the main villan as being somebody fully prepared to make many suffer for their own personal gain, treating human life as "collateral" and selfishly manipulating politics in their favor is not completely unacceptable to me. I think that in real life there are many powerful people who, living in very insulated, privileged worlds, end up playing with the lives of real people with little or no conscience, guilt or understanding. However where the whole idea falls down for me is where they manage to find the legions of henchmen fully prepared to lay down their lives, take huge risks and generally get put through the grinder so that their boss can realize his evil (is the evil mastermind EVER a woman??) plans.

In 24, for example, I really have trouble believing that the legions of "bad guys" lining-up to be bettered by "Uncle Jack" are being paid enough to make it worthwhile for them to shoot at federal agents, attack government installations and generally wage war on an entire country... usually the one in which they live, no less. On an individual level, once you are identified as being part of this there is never any going back, so the rewards have to be enough to be truely life-altering. And given the HUGE numbers of these morons we are asked to gun-down in these games or that Jack-in-the-box leaves lying in his wake, the monthly salary expenditure for these corperations must be astronomical! Maybe the buisnees strategy is that enough of them will die before they get paid to make it econimically viable - but you'd have thought that after a while word would get around and they'd have trouble finding personel.

The sad truth is that video-games have always had a serious deficiency when it comes to good story-telling. Now maybe this is partly understandable, the technology to tell interactive stories has only been available for 25-30 years, and over those 25-30 years the technology has also evolved dizzyingly fast. Looking back, the first 25 years of cinema today seem amazingly naive and unsophisticated.

Unfortuneatly, in recent years, massive over-commercialization and market-saturation of product choice has meant that it's no longer the ultimate quality of something that sells it. With so many things to divert our attention if something wants to stand out or sell itself, then it needs to do so in a VERY short period of time. This negates the possibility of any real depth or complexity and results most things being reduced to nothing more than a few sparkley objects thrown together.

Most action games are trying to ape hollywood in producing glittery roller-coasters that spend their entire duration bombarding us with fast-moving, visually complicated information whos basic job it is to distract us from the fact that what we are experiencing actually has no substance or content. It's like playing white-noise in order to distrupt a persons train of thought.

I come from the "old" school of action gaming, the original Doom, Blood etc. The first ever next-gen FPS I played was Half-Life2, followed by Bioshock,the first FEAR and then Painkiller - all excellent titles. I played a little of the CoD series on console around the CoD2/CoD3 era, but nothing since then. The thing is with the exception of a CoD4 MP free weekend I have never played a "modern military shooter"... that is until Yahtzee wouldnt't stop banging on about Spec-Ops: The Line. Now whilst I did find the Spec-Ops story interesting, by my standards and experience of FPS I would hardly even call Spec-Ops a game... more than half the time I spent in Spec-Ops I really didn't feel like I was "playing" at all. For me a scripted event simply is not gameplay - gameplay by definition is "interactive" which means that your decision processes should effect the outcome of events on the screen.

Spec:Ops did have an interesting story, and forcing the player down a narrow corridor occasionally pressing "use" to open a "door" does allow the developer tight control over the delivery... but HL2 showed us years ago that you can have a fantastically paced, involving story, with well developed characters and a coherant arc whilst NEVER taking the basic mechanic control away from the player and never needing to resort to "press this button to make this thing happen"... in HL2 (and HL1 so far as I remember) every "obstical" in the game is passed using the fundamental control mechanics of the game.

Why is it that almost all other game developers feel the need to resort to cut-scenes where control is taken away from the player? When valve want to advance the story with dialog they would simply lock you in a "room" with the other characters for the duration of the dialog still leaving you free to do what you want... runnage through cupboards, play with headcrabs or balance phys objects on one another. Occasionally you would be required to assit the other characters in some way to keep you engaged with what is going on, but otherwise the player always had total control. Gordon, being a silent protagonist, makes this system a little easier to pull-off, but it can still be achieved with a vocal protagonist.

After seeming to stray from the original point somewhat (what was the question?!) I'll bring it back into context (for anyone insane enough to still be reading by this point) that video-game story-telling is still a very elusive art, and over the whole history of video-gaming there are really very few examples that have managed to completely nail good story-telling within the context of the gameplay. I think it is fairly safe to assume however, that for those people looking for the magic marriage of story and gameplay, any IP that relies upon a PMC to drive the story is probably not going to be your "holy grail"...

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