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On Being a Gamer in Iraq 74

Posted by Zonk
from the something-to-keep-your-mind-off-things dept.
The increasingly excellent games coverage from MTV continues, with Stephen Totilo's conversation with an Iraqi gamer (Flash site, video in upper left-hand corner). Wisam, the 23 year old gamer Totilo speaks with, shares a few stories with the reporter about his life in Iraq. He gained some notoriety on the web after sitting for an interview with the 'Alive in Baghdad' blog, but at the moment he's only interested in games and having something to do. A recent graduate of his city's English department, current circumstances in the city makes it hard for him to find meaningful work. From the article: "The American-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime changed Wisam's taste in games. He and his gamer friends used to enjoy first-person shooters like Medal of Honor and Call of Duty. Then a real war started around him. 'We hate the attacking, the gunfire in games,' Wisam said. 'We started to hate it.' In fact, there's only one game with guns he can still tolerate. 'Grand Theft Auto is the exception. Because Grand Theft Auto is like us.'"
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On Being a Gamer in Iraq

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  • by LordEd (840443) on Monday January 08, 2007 @03:27PM (#17512246)
    The purpose of playing video games is often to escape reality. When you're surrounded by a war, a war game might not be the best game to play.

  • by madhatter256 (443326) on Monday January 08, 2007 @03:35PM (#17512362)
    This reminds of a show I saw on Discovery HD Saturday. Part of the show they talked about how US games are viewed in the middle east. It mainly talked about FPS games and how a lot of them show arabs as the weak enemy and that there is one company in Syria (funded by the gov't) that developed a game where Israeli soilders are seen as the enemy and the game is based on actual events in history.

    This article here, along with the show I saw, goes to show that there is a big cultural imbalance in games. A lot of the kids who play FPS will gain a basic understanding (especially if they do poorly in their class-work) that all arabs are terrorists and are thus our enemy. This is, of course, not true. This current protrayal of other cultures will harm us, America, now and in the future if America wants peace over in the Middle East and in the world around us.

    So as long as this current trend continues, expect to see future games depicting Arabs overthrowing our government, a game depicting WW2 where the Nazis win and the Holocaust never occured, and so on and so forth.
  • Re:WoW in Iraq (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday January 08, 2007 @04:01PM (#17512796) Homepage Journal
    our side and the bad guys

    Just one quick question. Which ones are the bad guys again?

  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Monday January 08, 2007 @04:18PM (#17513048)
    but they can play GTA because... it somehow reminds them of themselves in real life?

    They probably have tons of opportunities to rise within the ranks their local mafia, not to mention earn extra cash in the side missions...

    The variety of vehicles must be lacking though, with most of them being military vehicles and tanks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 08, 2007 @04:20PM (#17513076)
    He and his gamer friends used to enjoy first-person shooters like Medal of Honor and Call of Duty. Then a real war started around him.

    And ofcourse according to the Bush administration those people didn't have any freedom and couldn't enjoy the things we had here. Amazing how much of the official stories turn into pure falsified information whenever you're coming into contact with information residing from someone who actually lives in the region itself...
  • by silentounce (1004459) on Monday January 08, 2007 @04:44PM (#17513500) Homepage
    Actually, if you RTFA, another explains exactly why they play GTA and not the others and that is not the reason. And don't count on MTV for unbiased news, this is definitely an opinion piece.
  • by oohshiny (998054) on Monday January 08, 2007 @06:45PM (#17515762)
    So as long as this current trend continues, expect to see future games depicting Arabs overthrowing our government, a game depicting WW2 where the Nazis win and the Holocaust never occured, and so on and so forth.

    These possibilities have been explored in both fiction and movies; why shouldn't they be explored in games as well? Besides, it's not like current US fiction or games are historically accurate.
  • by Negatyfus (602326) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:12AM (#17520362) Journal
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the purpose of playing video games was having a good time.

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876

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