Six Days in Fallujah Triggers Outrage

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Six Days in Fallujah Triggers Outrage

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The inevitable outrage against Konami's Six Days in Fallujah, an game in development based on the 2004 battle against insurgents in the Iraqi city, has already begun.

Announced yesterday, Six Days in Fallujah will be a realistic "survival horror" game based on the real-life battle of Fallujah that puts players in the role of a U.S. Marine fighting to clear the city of Iraqi insurgents. The game is being developed by Atomic Games with the assistance of numerous veterans of the conflict and will present the battle in a more realistic light than usual, offering "insight" into the reality of war both through the game itself and in interviews with Marines who took part in the conflict that will be interspersed throughout.

But that sort of documentary approach isn't adequate for some observers, who are calling the game "crass and tasteless," according to a report by the Daily Mail. Reg Keys, whose son Thomas was a Royal Marine killed in Iraq in 2003, said the game "glorified" the war in Iraq and showed "very poor judgment and bad taste."

"It is particularly crass when you consider what actually happened in Fallujah. These horrific events should be confined to the annuls of history, not trivialized and rendered for thrill-seekers to play out, over and over again, for ever more," he said. "It's entirely possible that Muslim families will buy the game, and for them it may prove particularly harrowing. Even worse, it could end up in the hands of a fanatical young Muslim and incite him to consider some form of retaliation or retribution. He could use it to get worked up and want to really 'finish the game'."

"I will be calling for this game to be banned, if not worldwide then certainly in the UK," he added.

Similar sentiments were expressed by the Stop the War Coalition, albeit for very different reasons. "The massacre carried out by American and British forces in Fallujah in 2004 is amongst the worst of the war crimes carried out in an illegal and immoral war," spokeswoman Tansy Hoskins told TechRadar. "It is estimated that up to 1,000 civilians died in the bombardment and house to house raids carried out by invading troops. So many people were killed in Fallujah that the town's football stadium had to be turned into a cemetery to cope with all the dead bodies."

"There is nothing to celebrate in the death of people resisting an unjust and bloody occupation," she continued. "To make a game out of a war crime and to capitalize on the death and injury of thousands is sick. There will never be a time when it is appropriate for people to 'play' at committing atrocities. The massacre in Fallujah should be remembered with shame and horror, not glamorized and glossed over for entertainment."

But of course the truth is that there is an appropriate time to "play at committing atrocities," as evidenced by the plethora of games based on the Second World War and other conflicts that have resulted in far greater loss of life than the war in Iraq. The problem with Six Days in Fallujah, according to Tim Collins, a former colonel in the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, is simply its proximity to the ongoing conflict.

"It's much too soon to start making videogames about a war that's still going on, and an extremely flippant response to one of the most important events in modern history," he said. "It's particularly insensitive given what happened in Fallujah, and I will certainly oppose the release of this game."

But at least one former member of the military has expressed support for the game. Andy McNab, an ex-Special Air Service commando and author of Bravo Two Zero, said the cultural attitude toward videogames in the U.S. is considerably different than in the U.K., adding that in the U.S., "Everybody has been watching it on the news for the last seven years."

He also pointed out that other forms of entertainment have been used to tell stories about the war almost since it began, without suffering this kind of backlash. "In America a 90 year old and a 12 year old will know what happened at Fallujah," he said. "It's on the TV, there are books about it... so the game is a natural extension to that... it is folklore. The only difference being that it is presented in a different medium."

"The media has used the war as entertainment anyway," he said. "The hypocrisy is in the fact that when the media wants a 'shock horror' story they will focus on something like this."

How the game's documentary styling will actually hold up is unknown; despite all the recriminations about what it will and will not do, Six Days in Fallujah is still in development and is only tentatively slated for release sometime in 2010.

via: GamePolitics

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Shindler's List is also crass and tasteless. Those horrific events should be confined to the annuls of history, not trivialized and rendered for thrill-seekers to see it, over and over again.

Bah...

Malygris:
But of course the truth is that there is an appropriate time to "play at committing atrocities," as evidenced by the plethora of games based on the Second World War and other conflicts that have resulted in far greater loss of life than the war in Iraq. The problem with Six Days in Fallujah, according to Tim Collins, a former colonel in the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, is simply its proximity to the ongoing conflict.

It's not the body count that determines whether a battle is an atrocity or not.

My Lai Massacre? A few hundred people.

D-Day? 20,000+

The former was an atrocity, and we've yet to see a game made about it. The latter was a soldier-to-soldier battle, and you can't get away from games about it.

Fallujah is not controversial merely because it is near to us. It is controversial because people argue--with good reason--that it falls closer to My Lai than it does to D-Day.

I completely agree with Andy McNab on what he said, this isn't an issue of making any of these war events "glorified", this game is [supposedly] doing the same thing that books and movies have been doing for the last 30 years- presenting a side of the same story that has been given many times before, only this time it's from both a sympathetic everyman role and a character who has been faced with what many would consider the impossible (i.e. The choice over whether to save and take a life).

Unfortunately. the mainstream media doesn't see video games the same as many more intelligent and cultured people see video games- A viable and growing media that is still in it's infancy.

AUGHH! Urge to kill rising.

People like this need to just piss off and die. When they quoted some guy saying that it will provoke Muslims into violence, I had to stop reading for a few seconds, out of sheer anger at the ignorance.

"These horrific events should be confined to the annuls of history, not trivialized and rendered for thrill-seekers to play out, over and over again, for ever more,"

Yeah, great idea: Lets pretend it never happened. We'll just wait until the next time someone wants us to invade a country on false pretenses, bad intel, and poor planning, to acknowledge we made a mistake.

"It's much too soon to start making videogames about a war that's still going on, and an extremely flippant response to one of the most important events in modern history," he said. "It's particularly insensitive given what happened in Fallujah, and I will certainly oppose the release of this game."

Insensitive to who? The people who fought there? They're the ones that asked for the game to be made. Christ.

I've never understood why it's okay to write books, make movies and TV shows about something, but not make a _reasonable_ game about it. There are bounds of taste, to be certain, but if we can make FPS games about the bloodiest and most costly battles ever engaged in by the human race, then the entire Iraqi war is fair game, too.

it the daily mail....sigh

oliveira8:
Shindler's List is also crass and tasteless. Those horrific events should be confined to the annuls of history, not trivialized and rendered for thrill-seekers to see it, over and over again.

Bah...

All nasty history must be forgotten, after all, if the children forget, it didn't happen, right?

Look, someone will always be offended by something, and will inevitably complain. We should just stop caring.

Survival Horror Game??? It does seem a little too soon for a game about the Iraqi war but hey I'd buy it. Unfortuanetly I can see this game being horribly biased, either portraying US soldiers as being horrible evil invaders or the other extreme of them being the ultimate patriotic good guys fighting against the heartless Insurgents.

Wouldukindly:

oliveira8:
Shindler's List is also crass and tasteless. Those horrific events should be confined to the annuls of history, not trivialized and rendered for thrill-seekers to see it, over and over again.

Bah...

All nasty history must be forgotten, after all, if the children forget, it didn't happen, right?

Totally agree. If you close your eyes and wish really hard all the bad things will go away!

There are constant news broadcasts about the war. There are documentaries. There is a TV series that recreates the first weeks in Iraq. Several games have already taken place during the conflict as well.

F*** em, one day they're going to have to learn that video games can engage with mature topics just like everything else. The fact that the game wishes to engage with topics like civilians in a war zone and the atrocities of war makes it all the more appropriate.

It isn't about time someone made a game that dealt with this stuff?

What a bunch of idiots for hating the game because of that... Do you think that people didn't die in the World Wars? Wheres your critism for that?

looking forward to this game.

Would like to see what sort of effort was put into it before opening my big mouth and bitching without even informing myself ;)

Ray Huling:

Malygris:
But of course the truth is that there is an appropriate time to "play at committing atrocities," as evidenced by the plethora of games based on the Second World War and other conflicts that have resulted in far greater loss of life than the war in Iraq. The problem with Six Days in Fallujah, according to Tim Collins, a former colonel in the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, is simply its proximity to the ongoing conflict.

It's not the body count that determines whether a battle is an atrocity or not.

My Lai Massacre? A few hundred people.

D-Day? 20,000+

The former was an atrocity, and we've yet to see a game made about it. The latter was a soldier-to-soldier battle, and you can't get away from games about it.

Fallujah is not controversial merely because it is near to us. It is controversial because people argue--with good reason--that it falls closer to My Lai than it does to D-Day.

"You kill one person it's a tragedy, you kill ten thousand people it a statistic." By Joseph Stalin.

Wouldukindly:

oliveira8:
Shindler's List is also crass and tasteless. Those horrific events should be confined to the annuls of history, not trivialized and rendered for thrill-seekers to see it, over and over again.

Bah...

All nasty history must be forgotten, after all, if the children forget, it didn't happen, right?

If I remember correctly, Turkey still uses this method. Every time someone recognizes the event, they become all defensive and claim it never happened.

And anyway, does anybody even know what story/how they'll tell the story yet?

Glorified the war? Wouldn't we have to see the final game to say that? From what we heard about the design goals it'll probably bang on the "war is hell" drum.

But yeah, it's expected that the news media will pounce on it, after all distorting the facts until it looks like the competition is ruled by an evil overlord is their job.

L.B. Jeffries:
It isn't about time someone made a game that dealt with this stuff?

Sure. But it's not going to happen here.

This game will be G.R.A.W. with Arabs.

The soldiers will be involved only in the marketing of the game, and a good number of people will be taken in by the atmosphere of authenticity this will provide.

I mean: what stuff do you think this game could possibly deal with? What are the odds that this game will put a player in the position of having mistakenly killed a civilian?

"You blew up the wrong house and crushed three young children to death! Don't you want to kill yourself?!?"

Fighting insurgents amongst civilians and killing a whole lot of both is what Fallujah was all about. There's not a chance this game will deal with that issue.

Which was the town that was leveled due to a firestorm after a allied bombing raid?

Guess what peeps, war is crappy. People die, we lose friends and family.

But we will always have war... If you think you are better than that you are lying to yourself. Ask yourself why most peace demonstrations end with violence? And it isn't because there are lovers of war there.

Loss is bad and every soldiers life is an important lesson in humanity. But to get upset over a game depicting the terrorist take over of a city in Iraq and its subsequent release sounds like it should be a movie. So why not a game?

Dont jump on the sensitive people but don't give in to them either.

Xiado:
Look, someone will always be offended by something, and will inevitably complain. We should just stop caring.

While that response is reasonable, that is the last thing we want to do in this situation!

If we ever want games to grow as an art form, to be a form of expression, to be able to show atrocities in history, with the maturity and dignity that the people who died should be shown as in movies, books, and documentaries, than we have to face these issues head on.

I get it, it's the Daily Mail, they suck, I know. But even the Daily Mail has a point that if this game turns out to be a glorified version of what is (apparently) a horrible massacre in Fallujha (I don't know much about what happened) then we've just completely desensitized the entire medium!

We have an opportunity to prove these guys wrong, that this game can show the horrors of war while being mature and letting the player know that this stuff was horrible and bad, while at the same time letting the player enjoy themselves somewhat. That combination is going to be hella tough since it's usually one or the other.

I know, the daily mail sucks a load of donkey balls, but we have to take their criticism because we have the chance to prove them wrong. We want to do that, not ignore them and say "Fuck you! We can do what we want!" because then we show that they're right about Video Games being an immature hobby.

Of course, we know next to nothing about the game or how it'll play, so we'll have to wait and see...

The third paragraph is 'annals'. 'Annuls' mean to nullify.

People really trip over the word 'game' don't they? If it were a movie, they'd be no problem at all.

[quote="Malygris" post="7.105695.1708163]
albeit for very different reasons. "The massacre carried out by American and British forces in Fallujah in 2004 is amongst the worst of the war crimes carried out in an illegal and immoral war," spokeswoman Tansy Hoskins told TechRadar. "It is estimated that up to 1,000 civilians died in the bombardment and house to house raids carried out by invading troops.

"There is nothing to celebrate in the death of people resisting an unjust and bloody occupation," she continued. "To make a game out of a war crime and to capitalize on the death and injury of thousands is sick. There will never be a time when it is appropriate for people to 'play' at committing atrocities. The massacre in Fallujah should be remembered with shame and horror, not glamorized and glossed over for entertainment."

[/quote]

Are you also forgetting other war crimes...such as...I don't know...Hiroshima?

Does it feel good Ms. Michael Moore that you are fighting something? This isn't a Guantanamo bay simulation it's called fucking war. Was it bad to kill thousands of civilians? Erm, yeah! Are we going to 'glorify' that? NO.

L33tsauce_Marty:
Does it feel good Ms. Michael Moore that you are fighting something? This isn't a Guantanamo bay simulation it's called fucking war. Was it bad to kill thousands of civilians? Erm, yeah! Are we going to 'glorify' that? NO.

While I agree, I'd like to emphasize the point that we know next to nothing about this game. Hopefully it won't glorify war, but we can't be sure of that.

Why are we both, the media and gamers, expecting to know what this game is right away? We know it's in Fallujah and that it's supposedly Survival horror but........that's it.

Considering that your typical Iraqi insurgent tends to show their displeasure by suicide-bombing civilians, I find it difficult to care what some non-military treehuggers who've never even held a gun think about this game.

Ray Huling:

L.B. Jeffries:
It isn't about time someone made a game that dealt with this stuff?

Sure. But it's not going to happen here.

This game will be G.R.A.W. with Arabs.

The soldiers will be involved only in the marketing of the game, and a good number of people will be taken in by the atmosphere of authenticity this will provide.

I mean: what stuff do you think this game could possibly deal with? What are the odds that this game will put a player in the position of having mistakenly killed a civilian?

"You blew up the wrong house and crushed three young children to death! Don't you want to kill yourself?!?"

Fighting insurgents amongst civilians and killing a whole lot of both is what Fallujah was all about. There's not a chance this game will deal with that issue.

Dont be so sure. Atomic is unusually dedicated to realism. They're still the only dev that gave soldiers free will and realistically depicted the Sherman's uselessness in going head to head against panzers in an RTS, and they managed to make it really fun and competitive in multiplayer while they did it.

There's nothing stopping them from having civilians running about in the combat zones, and if you've ever played America's Army, you'd know that when you're in a rush, that one guy giving you a thumbs up looks a lot like he's pointing a handgun at you at first glance. Ever watch Black Hawk Down? Try picking a target out of those mobs where insurgents are using civilians as cover.

There's also nothing stopping them from having cutscenes showing the war from the other side. Would you say that at the end of a level, showing a 7 year old Iraqi kid kneeling over the body of a dead insurgent in an alleyway you just plowed through wouldn't be powerful?

Atomic is not Ubisoft, and Konami is not EA. I have faith in them. This is their first real attempt at a game since their disappointing breakup, and reformation. If I get a quarter as many hours out of this one as I put in any of the Close Combats, it'll be well worth the purchase.

Ridiculous.

All the things these folks are accusing Six Days in Fallujah of are things that may indeed come to pass. But there is no reason to assume they will, based on the name alone. It is being designed at the urging of soldiers and based on their contributions. I have heard nothing but assurances of the game's mature and responsible handling of the source material. Everything critics accuse this game of doing has already been done by movies and books. They didn't give a shit then, even when crass commercial interests were exploiting atrocities.

These are soldiers trying to tell their story. Real flesh-and-blood men who watched their friends die and engaged an enemy in mortal combat. Anyone trying to stop them from telling their story can fuck off.

Jumplion:

Xiado:
Look, someone will always be offended by something, and will inevitably complain. We should just stop caring.

While that response is reasonable, that is the last thing we want to do in this situation!

If we ever want games to grow as an art form, to be a form of expression, to be able to show atrocities in history, with the maturity and dignity that the people who died should be shown as in movies, books, and documentaries, than we have to face these issues head on.

I get it, it's the Daily Mail, they suck, I know. But even the Daily Mail has a point that if this game turns out to be a glorified version of what is (apparently) a horrible massacre in Fallujha (I don't know much about what happened) then we've just completely desensitized the entire medium!

We have an opportunity to prove these guys wrong, that this game can show the horrors of war while being mature and letting the player know that this stuff was horrible and bad, while at the same time letting the player enjoy themselves somewhat. That combination is going to be hella tough since it's usually one or the other.

I know, the daily mail sucks a load of donkey balls, but we have to take their criticism because we have the chance to prove them wrong. We want to do that, not ignore them and say "Fuck you! We can do what we want!" because then we show that they're right about Video Games being an immature hobby.
Of course, we know next to nothing about the game or how it'll play, so we'll have to wait and see...

Well, the developers said they aim for a historical representation of the events, and that it doesn't glorify the Americans or the war. It may even be a step forward. It all depends on how it is handled. I honestly don't think the idea is offensive, but it all depends on how the developers approach it. We have to wait until it is released so we can judge whether it's immature or making a mockery out of war.

Ray Huling:

L.B. Jeffries:
It isn't about time someone made a game that dealt with this stuff?

Sure. But it's not going to happen here.

This game will be G.R.A.W. with Arabs.

The soldiers will be involved only in the marketing of the game, and a good number of people will be taken in by the atmosphere of authenticity this will provide.

I mean: what stuff do you think this game could possibly deal with? What are the odds that this game will put a player in the position of having mistakenly killed a civilian?

"You blew up the wrong house and crushed three young children to death! Don't you want to kill yourself?!?"

Fighting insurgents amongst civilians and killing a whole lot of both is what Fallujah was all about. There's not a chance this game will deal with that issue.

If not this massacre, then which one? If the game fails, then it will fail instructively. It will give people guidance on how to handle the topic in a better way that induces a more appropriate player experience. Games taking place in relevant settings and dealing with current issues has to occur somehow and this is as good a bet as any.

I can understand some people's opposition to the game to a certain extent. But really they make it out like just another game that is trying to make a quick buck and that's ridiculous. Like other people have said other forms of media have used the war for profit, and a game can bring across mature points as well as anything, at least they should be able to. The developers aren't trying to glorify the war, the whole point of the game is to help people understand that war HAS NO GLORY!

People won't listen to common sense and to them the word "game" automatically means "Damn it to hell! The child corrupting menace!"

Musicfreak:
Survival Horror Game??? It does seem a little too soon for a game about the Iraqi war but hey I'd buy it. Unfortuanetly I can see this game being horribly biased, either portraying US soldiers as being horrible evil invaders or the other extreme of them being the ultimate patriotic good guys fighting against the heartless Insurgents.

thats the real problem.

nilcypher:
People really trip over the word 'game' don't they? If it were a movie, they'd be no problem at all.

Movies and TV and Books about war are different then games about war. They have the ability to not be "fun" experiences and still be good so they can handle war in a mature light. Games can do that too, but they don't. I read somewhere that the game director says the first priority is making it a good entertainment product, not any sort of commentary on the Iraq war. Mind you this is going to be a Call of Duty clone with an Iraq War skin. That's offensive. It would be one thing if the game doesn't have auto-regenerating health. It would be one thing if your soldiers couldn't fire their machine guns while running backwards. It'd be one thing if their wasn't infinitely spawning enemies.

The fact remains that video games trivialize war. They turn the loss of human life into a fun diversion. That's fine when it's a fictional war, or a fight versus aliens, but in a real life war, that has not resolved, that is not fine. Movies and Books don't do that. They merely document and/or dramatize war.

So yeah, people trip over the word 'game'. Because there is a big f***ing difference.

For the record I find World War II games borderline offensive, and I find dramatized stories about the Iraq War do be in poor taste. I am in the minority on those points, but World War II was a real war that does not deserve to be trivialized and people need perspective on the Iraq War before making blockbuster Hollywood movies exploiting it.

The issue is that we're basically fighting a war without the propaganda we used to reinforce say World War II. We're also dealing with an enemy that challenges our entire enemy and the way we see the world. To the civilized mentality in the US and UK nowadays we are used to thinking in terms of a clean divide between civilians and soldiers, and the idea of fighting a backwards, xenophobic culture that is immune to reason is something we just cannot adapt to. Even now you have people insisting that we must be up against a tiny, radical fringe in The Middle East, rather than the entire culture (albeit with a smaller percentage of actual fighters) despite evidence to the contrary. Truthfully the closest thing to fighting in The Middle East and the enemy we phase there are the unreasoning "bad guy" cultures of various science fiction works. An old story called "The Dark Wing" comes awfully close to what the enemy we're facing is like, except we're dealing with other humans as opposed to Avian aliens.

At any rate, what we're looking at is a cultural divide. You have a lot of people who think that the war is both fair and justified. You also have others who are against the war, either specifically, because it cost them something, or because they are against war in any form and will literally do anything to stop our participation no matter what it takes or how ridiculous they have to get.

By taking one of our victories and promoting it as a good thing in video games and such (as we do our triumph over the Nazis) the anti-war factions are afraid that it will be a blow against their message, in a situation where the media coverage has mostly been one sided. For the most part you see anti-war and anti-Bush commentary everywhere, but nothing even close to some of the horrendous, dehumanitizing things we said about the Nazis during World War II, or even the "Better Dead Than Red" messages of the Cold War. It just isn't out there like it used to be because our goverment chose not to exercise it's media control rights this time around which was arguably a mistake.

At any rate as far as the game itself goes, I have mixed opinions about using "current" real world politics in video gamees and escapist media. It's hard for me to point fingers at some of the crud I've said was obnoxious and then say that this is okay. Even if it is however a number of degrees less than say the whole "Civil War" thing that Marvel put out which was intended to be an analogy to War On Terror politics (which still managed to be a good story even if I don't care for/agree with some of the underlying political messages).

To be fair I think people should just leave this game and it's development alone. It's no worse than anything else that's been produced, and heck if it has a heroic America/pro-war message, so much the better. If it educates people about what war really is and the nessecity of doing some truely unpleasant things, so much the better. All these people screaming about massacres and "war crimes" have no idea what we had to do in order to win World War II especially in the final days against the Volkssturm. On top of that all those factories and such we bombed to cripple their war machine? Full of civilians, and not all of them were making weapons (armies fight on their stomachs, need uniforms, etc...). Some of those factories even had our own people (prisoners) forced to work in them.

I expect outcry, but honestly there was outcry over Resident Evil 5 making some of the African Natices look like the tribals from "National Geographic" or "The Discovery Channel". Accurate in one context, politically incorrect in another. Showing a bunch of American troops gunning down a bunch of accuratly portrayed, un-politically correct Muslims in a massive insurgent stronghold (we didn't assault it for fun)is of course going to get some people's goats. I mean that is only okay if you have a Black Rapper like Fifty Cent doing it. MAYBE we could have avoided the contreversy by sending in the G-unit... Hmmm.

The point is, ignore it, let the consumers/gamers decide about the game on it's own merits. If the game is drek, that is how it will be received. If some Muslim gets all upset about it, so what? These dudes have been kidnapping american tourists/reporters/etc... and doing horrible things to them already. They have plenty of reasons in their own minds to kill us, having a bit of propaganda of our own isn't a bad thing (if that's what it turns out to be).

... not every game can be tasteful enough to have Barack Obama as a playable character like Mercenaries 2: World In Flames. I find it ironic that a game can be produced that will feature our president mass murdering South Americans and working to steal their oil/resources as the result of a personal vendetta in Venezuala, and nobody cares... well except Hugo Chavez apparently. Yet make a game based on a historic recent battle where we had the bad taste to win despite the best efforts of some disconnected ultra-liberal peaceniks... and suddenly that's a problem.

Who knows, maybe the developers will also put Obama into the new game, so he can drive his new "rolling bunker" Caddy (the one they call "The Beast") down the streets and run people over. That will probably end the outcry. Even better if they have him triple Tag Team with Fifty Cent, and "Rampage" Jackson. I imagine complaints about the game would mysteriously reduce in frequency and severity. :)

L.B. Jeffries:

If not this massacre, then which one?

That's something of a bizarre question. It will not--and cannot--be any massacre. There is no way any commercial game can approach this kind of experience. Possibly no game at all.

L.B. Jeffries:
If the game fails, then it will fail instructively.

Again, this is a strange question. It's not a matter of failure. What would failure be? Failing to deliver the experience of shooting a little girl in the stomach by accident?

This kind of thing is simply beyond the pale for games.

L.B. Jeffries:
Games taking place in relevant settings and dealing with current issues has to occur somehow

No; they really don't.

Look; I know we're getting into a fundamental difference between us: you approach games as a critic; I approach them as a cultural reporter. You see games as part of an artistic tradition; I see them as a platform for play.

This brings me to agree with dcheppy above: the play of a shooter is just not commensurate with the weight, not only of this particular theme, but of a whole host of themes available to other media.

I think we won't really know if the game is appropriate until we see the achievement list.

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