Thursday, October 6, 2011

Iraq photo of the day - Blackwater video game

Maybe once a day on the Internet, you have to stop and ask yourself, "Is this real?" Usually it's a story about Sarah Palin's fifth grade education level or a photoshopped cat eating the John Hancock building. Today, it's a game where you get to play as private security contractors made infamous by events in Fallujah, Iraq. Look at the promo photo above. These guys are so badass, they don't even wear helmets. They're way too extreme for helmets, bro.   

I haven't seen much video of this soon-to-be-released title, but I'm assuming you kill "insurgents" while protecting American corporate interests. And oh yeah, maybe you get paid in American taxpayer dollars. I'm really curious about the campaign mode in this game and how the developers crafted their narrative despite the controversy of Blackwater, now named Xe Services. Does your character get psyched when, at the end of the week, he opens a paycheck for a few thousand dollars? Tax-free night differential and hazardous pay really add up when you have nearly no expenses in a combat zone.

My first thoughts were, does the game reference the March 2004 killing of four Backwater contractors in Fallujah that sparked the April and November sieges? Do you get to kill civilians? How is the player awarded for finishing a mission? Apparently the game doesn't tackle any of the controversy. This article details how the developers played it safe and pacified the experience: here. There's also a one minute video of some surfer looking guy in his Manhattan condo playing the game. He should be wearing a helmet.

I'm disturbed. Potentially, this is how Blackwater rewrites history for the next generation. Even though they rebranded themselves after killing civilians in Iraq, they decided to release the game under their old name, not Xe Services. As the Iraq war fades from new headlines, is this Blackwater's way of covering their bloody tracks of violence against innocent people? Or is a promotional tool that makes it okay to privatize "peace keeping". I'm not sure. I'm leaning towards "it's just another badass way for Xe to make more money", and that's all. Just more money. That might be the most disturbing part of the whole thing.

1 comment:

Jamie Gaughran-Perez said...

..but I'm confused about who made this and with whose blessing. On Amazon is says 505 studios... In the article they speak with Erik Prince (founder of Blackwater), but he's no longer with Blackwater/Xe. Is this Blackwater white-washing history, or a studio taking the Blackwater cache / controversy and white-washing its way to profitable? All kindsa complicated either way.