The Boy wants an XBOX360 for Christmas more than I want to see my bride prancing around the Christmas tree doing the "Barbie Girl" dance dressed in her Star Wars boxer shorts.
So we went to the store today to look over the expensive entertainment and there I ran across this:
Look, I understand that kids have always played at war.
I realize that American kids and English kids (and German kids) put cookpots on their heads and fired broomstick rifles at their friendly "enemies" in 1916 and 1942. Hell, I'm sure Sumerian kids and Prussian kids and Aztec kids did the same. War has been the basis of a hell of a lot of art and music and, yes, entertainment throughout human history.
I'm not sure why this shooter game squicked me out so quickly and thoroughly.
But I think perhaps because this isn't just kids playing at war they don't understand.
Perhaps because this was created and crafted by adults old enough to understand that the digital soldiers the children and young men will be playing at fighting and killing are ghosts of the real living men and women really bleeding and dying in a distant land for opaque and byzantine geopolitical reasons.
But somehow killing pixels of imaginary stormtroopers or long-vanished landser seems less sickening to me than making a game of what might happen to an Army brother of mine in the high cold hills of a land whose fate means less to me than the most trivial wound that young soldier might receive.
I know it's not logical or sensible but the very notion of playing Heavy Fire Afghanistan makes me vaguely ill.
Update 12/9: On the other hand, THIS is the real deal.
H/t to Leon for directing me to this hilarious spoof. But y'know what? One of the worst parts of "real" war is the gawdawful boredom coupled with the problem that you can't stop paying attention and relax except when you're completely out of contact - and then you often find that there's nothing to do; you've read every goddamn paperback on the FOB, the game system is hogged by a dozen guys from Bravo Company, and it's too fucking hot, or cold, or rainy to play outside even if you feel like it.
Wars just pretty much suck for anyone who isn't commanding brigades, and even then. Wars just pretty much suck, and I just don't see how you could make a first person shooter out of an ongoing war and sleep at night.