Friday, March 23, 2007

Mexican Governor Protests GRAW 2

In a bit of news, it appears that the release of Ghost Recon Advance Warfare 2 (GRAW 2) has upset the governor of Chihuahua. (the article is in Spanish, but you should be able to babelfish it or Google Translate it)

Essentially, part of the concept of GRAW 2 is that in 2014, Mexican rebels uprise and the nation is caught in civil war that threatens to encroach on the US borders (I haven't played the game, so somebody correct me if I'm wrong). Anyway, the US Soldiers, the Ghosts, head to Chihuahua and start attacking the rebels. I haven't played the Tom Clancy titles for some time, but if memory serves, there is an emphasis on stealth and the tactical nature of the game isn't glorifying the concept of destroying the city or killing civilians or anything like that.

In any case, the governor of Chihuahua caught wind of the nature of the game and promptly pulled it (and continues to pull it) from every store he can find that sells the title.

I'm torn on this argument (and similar arguments I've heard in recent years about the "enemies" in warfare games portraying a culture or group in a negative light). To one extent, it can be seen as an affront against a culture or a group of people. However, the game is portraying the 'villains' as being the rebels who are uprising against the government. While there are always people who will support rebels over their own government, it seems that the government should be glad to see the game portray the US as coming in to help put down the rebels and save the government.

I'm not a huge player of "shooters" anyway, so I might not be the best person to try to argue for or against the situation. However, I see the dilemma of wargames such as this. You have to have an enemy in the game to make it compelling. You can take the sci-fi/fantasy route and create an alien/non-human force to battle against. Or you can choose some country/group and set them as the enemy for the duration of the game.

The conflict is how to portray that human group such that reality can be distanced enough that they don't take offense and feel that the attack in the game is paralleled to a desire to attack or drag down in the real world (which seems to be the Governor's nature for offense...he is concerned that US groups are rejoicing in the idea of US soldiers attacking Mexicans).

Even historical wargames run into the problem of portraying the enemy because on the front lines of war, everyone is essentially the same. Which I guess implies we should focus on the "human race" as ally aspect and push for titles with alien/non-human enemies.

Or better yet, push for fewer violent titles...and more puzzle/strategy/family-friendly games. ;)

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