|Wolfenstein rewrites history|
The Vietnam War has had a number of games based around it.
The Battlefield series went there,
and the Shell Shock games are set
during that war. World War One and trench warfare was the setting for Iron Storm, but that was placed in an
alternate reality where the war never ended and it was 1964. The Wolfenstein series is taking a similar
route with its next game, where the main character B.J. Blazkowicz is still
fighting the Nazis in 1960. Some alternate history games are excellent, see the
Wolfenstein games, some are less so,
see Turning Point: Fall of Liberty. If
you prefer things to be a bit more true to life, then head to the war in
Afghanistan with the Russian made game 9th
Company; or fight against the Russians in that war with Rambo III, which may be a less accurate representation.
|Turning Point: and a poor attempt at alt history|
It seems post WW1 only gets a look in shooting game wise, as
before this time guns didn’t hold much ammo, which took an age to load, and
there wasn’t much in the way of tanks or long range weapons either. This type
of warfare seems to fit better with large map based strategy games. Ancient
Rome, to the Crusades, to the Napoleonic Wars, World War Two and beyond has
been fodder for strategy enthusiasts, but First Person Shooters not so much.
For an example of how these wars just don’t work as FPS’s, pick up Gods and Generals, which was set during
the American Civil War and based on the movie of the same name. Once your slow
firing pistol and musket were out of ammo you were left in an open field
brandishing your sword like an idiot, though not as idiotic as some of the AI
in the game.
|Warrior of Rome II on the MegaDrive|
|View the Hell that was the American Civil War|
5) Korean War
|Sam Fisher was banned in South Korea|
|M.A.S.H. on the Atari 2600|
4) Chaco WarThis was the bloodiest war fought on South America soil in the twentieth century. Two Paraguayans and three Bolivians died for every square mile of the disputed territory. It was between two of the regions poorest countries, who were both desperate to control the Chaco area because it was thought to be rich in oil deposits. The large oil companies of the time had interest in the region also and behind the scenes would have supported one side or the other. This war was the first time aerial warfare had come to South America, though in some very old obsolete planes. The population of Paraguay was a third of Bolivia’s, but it managed its war effort better and came out on top by the time a Peace Treaty was signed in 1938. The war was fought in a very arid region, often soldiers died more from lack of water and from disease than from the enemy. The importance of gaining accurate supplies from the air was crucial to the outcome of some battles. The region is still a bit of a powder keg today, as the U.S. want to build a base there to oversee ‘humanitarian’ efforts in nearby Argentina.
3) Algerian War of Independence
|Indy visited Algeria, but mostly to chat up women|
2) Second Congo War, or Africa’s First World War
|Star of Africa on the C64|
1) Indochina War
|Conflict in Vietnam on the Apple II|
There isn’t a year in the twentieth century were two opposing forces didn’t come to blows. It seems strange that only a fraction of these events are used as source material for videogames. What do people think? Are there other conflicts which could lend themselves to a videogame interpretation above the five just mentioned? Should developers steer clear of real world conflicts and instead put their energies into imagined scenarios featuring made up armies? Is portraying a conflict in a First Person Shooter somehow worse than moving a battalion from one hex to another on a map? Shooting games are massive sellers. Books and movies based around war are hugely popular. So is it possible to marry the two without being labelled as exploitative? Right now, I’m not so sure.