More on war games
Last week I wrote about the depiction of war in video games and suggested that the line between virtual and actual conflict seems to be getting thinner. Now, two Swiss human rights organizations have determined that some video games feature violations of international law. The orgs, Trial and Pro Juventute, argue that the violence included in many of today’s “military games” would actually constitute war crimes, and that allowing gamers to simulate such actions legitimizes them.
Opponents of these games can object either on consequentialist or virtue-based grounds. Either war crimes in games have a traceable effect on the values and behavior of games and thus society, or there’s just something inherently wrong with allowing war crimes to take place, even in a virtual setting (or both). It’s hard to prove the consequentialist argument, and the virtue-based argument seems a bit censorial… Would we censor all forms of media in this way?
The Swiss orgs responded that games are especially dangerous because of their interactive nature. We don’t just watch war crimes take place – we make them happen (and are often rewarded with bonus points).