Thoughtcrime Alert

GlobalPost informs us that the International Committee of the Red Cross is in moderate-to-high dudgeon over atrocities. So far, so good, but the atrocities in question are virtual, in such first-person shooters as (specifically) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare:

While committee members agreed that your average gamer, asked to slaughter hundreds of opponents on digital battlefields across all platforms, should not be dragged to the Hague to be put on trial for their digital human rights violations, they did say that video-game developers should be playing a more responsible role, designing games that require players to abide by the international rules of armed conflict.

“In real life, armed forces are subject to the laws of armed conflict. Video games simulating the experience of armed forces therefore have the potential to raise awareness of the rules that those forces must comply with whenever they engage in armed conflict — this is one of the things that interests the ICRC,” the Red Cross said in a statement following the conference.

I’ve written about video-gaming morality before, but I have to admit I never expected things to go this far over the top this quickly. I should never underestimate the willingness of people to attempt to regulate our imaginations.

Merry Christmas, you aspiring war criminals.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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3 Responses to Thoughtcrime Alert

  1. It’s enough to give a guy some ideas for a whole new suite of video games, that don’t have a single thing to do with bullets or battlefields. Stay away from the ninnies! The ninnies are chasing you! Like zombies!

    Merry Christmas, Professor.

  2. majormaddog says:

    I didn’t see in the story how the Red Cross was trying to outlaw anything. Seems like they’re using their clout to urge video game developers to tone it down. Not sure how this is any different from a moralizing Christian organization urging people not to cheat on their spouses, engage in premarital sex or have abortions.

    • profmondo says:

      A better comparison would be the PMRC (as the article notes). You’ll recall I didn’t much care for that either. But you’re right — opposing imaginary actions in a video game is exactly like opposing violating your spouse’s trust or killing unborn children. Just zackly like that.

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