November 16th, 2011
Despite more than a decade of real war, military shooters are the biggest attraction of modern video games. Would that still be the case if Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 were released during an actual military draft, a la Vietnam?
No, says a new essay by Seth Schiesel in the New York Times.
"If there were a draft in this country, video games about war probably wouldn’t be so popular," Shiesel writes. "The fantasy would be less appealing if the reality of killing and dying in combat with other human beings were more imminent for more people."
Not only that, but after a glut of World War II shooters last decade, modern military games are careful not to bring the war too close to home. In other words, no big-budget combat games are set in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"Despite the public’s political exhaustion after a decade of real war, imaginary war remains as popular as ever," the paper writes (i.e. Both Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 will be among the year’s biggest-selling games). "These games give you the chance to play soldier in a fanciful, safe way. Call it the promise of plausible heroism."
What do you think: Would you play as many realistic war games as you do if all of your buddies were being drafted? Would you play as many if they were set in either Iraq or Afghanistan?
See also: More PC gaming news