EastBay PlayReaders Message Board › TOO RELEVANT TO PASS UP - VIDEO GAMES
Wanted to pass along this mini-editorial in the Chronicle today which links video games with the recent Afghan massacre. This subject continues to be so relevant.
Too like a video game by nushin arbabzadah
There's an eerily unreal quality to the Kandahar shooting spree, as if one is describing a scene from a violent video game. One cannot help but feel that the soldier acted out a cruel fantasy, targeting innocence itself by killing sleeping children.
Video games are popular among soldiers who spend much time inside heavily protected compounds that separate them from the very people they are supposed to protect. Army life, after all, is as much about combat as boredom that must be killed for time to march on. Spending countless hours playing violent video games can easily create a disconnect from the dusty Afghan reality outside, reducing the flesh-and-blood human beings to faceless enemy characters of a virtual game. The compounds' walls of protection become blank canvases of projection, mirroring the hatred, fears and suspicions of both sides.
It is this seclusion that makes it possible for a U.S. soldier to go on a shooting spree, acting as if he were in a video game. It is this divide that makes it possible for an Afghan civilian to view the U.S. troops behind the walls as soulless metallic extensions of a war machinery rather than people. Like a video game, the enemy can change shape, a caring soldier transforming himself into a killing machine; a charming teenager into a suicide bomber. Such is the truth of a war with no visible front lines: Reality becomes unreal and real people become one-dimensional characters of a tridimensional video game.
The Kandahar rampage is a wake-up call for a return to reality and humanity in this war of machines versus ghosts.