Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stanley's Invaders! and collateral damage

I don't need to tell you the whole story about the recent uproar, notably at Kotaku (and more here), that's rocked our little world, following Douglas Edric Stanley's Invaders! showing at Leipzig this year.
All the (American) gaming world is ablaze and largely obfuscated.

Since there are rumours about Gamasutra deleting comments, I feel entitled to quote myself here, just in case, after dropping a stone over here...

There is a message to read through this. As I have understood and as it's been repeated all over the Internet, in a period when there's not much to say about video games, we can read the following:

"The more you shoot them, the more they keep coming. It is not productive. You still loose, in the end."

This, of course, hardly applies to any complete war strategy, if you think about it, only because there always are basic limiting factors to any conflict. Morale, pride, survival and mere numbers. Once you destroy them, the war is over.
Yes, you can win, in a certain way, by annihilating all of your enemies, right down to the point where you need to make the boldest moves and bomb houses, destroying the civilians before they can turn into soldiers.
There's been that short game on this theme, as you had to fire rockets on some random Middle East city and see the population keep turning into "terrorists" as you kept filling the screen with death and more craters.

There is one thing sure here; the game Invaders is certainly not the best to pick for this kind of message, notably because the whole and correct message itself, once all parts have been considered, reads thusly: "don't bother".
Yes, don't bother against the invaders, and you can see how this is terribly wrong on all possible fronts. There’s little surprise, then, that this attempt at criticism is a failure.
It only helps to fuel antagonism and false ideas.
The sarcastic Game Over message punctuated by “Support Our Troops” has to be read “send more”, like handkerchiefs. More people to the grinder!

But the execution is downright horrible, since the final message can be read the following way:

Don't bother picking arms as your rights are being scoffed at, don’t bother fighting back as your beloved ones' bones and blood are turned into mortar, part of a sinister and cynical construct.

This does not apply to 9/11 only.
In fact, 9/11 is probably the less relevant event to pick if you wanted to forward such a message.
Much better examples are to be found across this lovely planet, during the recent years.
Countries in Africa... East Europe... or even Lebanon... you name it.

This man didn’t properly appreciate the game’s entire mechanic, as it’s about resistance.
A fundamental rule that drives the play is “resistance is futile.”

He awkwardly uses it for his political message, which I think is close to what I highlighted at the top of my post.

The game’s message has never been “stop bombing aliens because they’ll come to haunt you and level your cities, as retribution.”

Unless I missed an obscure official backstory about the origin of the Invaders conflict, courtesy of Taito, maybe?

Ah, artists... tss tss.

EDIT: Wait, can you feel the hypocrisy? It's called World Trade Center, by Oliver Stone and featuring good looking ladies (yeah, because fat chicks would have just made the towers collapse sooner).
I bet your bank account is the ultimate frontier.

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