Today’s article is about, strangely enough, the Red Cross, and it’s attempts to guide the future of video game development, at least in a small way. As video games progress they are coming ever closer to appearing, cosmetically, just like the real world. The Red Cross has seen potential in this, and has been talking to video game developers about the possibility of using video games as a means to teach gamers about the laws of armed conflicts. As it stands those playing a game involving war are able to perform acts that would simply not fly in the real world. The Red Cross’ plan is to incorporate realistic consequences into games to help teach gamers how these thing play out in reality. There are three reasons that I am in support of what they want to do: their restraint, their reasoning, and their approach.
First, the Red Cross has a very specific focus in what they are trying to accomplish. They do not wish to change everything about all video games. They are only targeting video games which involve war, and even then only those which depict it realistically. They have no interest in games such as Halo, which are set in worlds far removed from our own. They are looking at games such as Call of Duty which could very easily be set within our own world. The fact that the Red Cross is not protesting against violence in video games in general, but simply trying to introduce a new level of realism into games as they are is a very admirable goal.
Second, the reasons for the Red Cross’ actions deserve mention. They have seen a trend in video games where gamers can, and do, commit what would in the real world be considered war crimes. The only difference is that in games there are no real consequences if you decide to wipe out a village of civilians for no reason. Rather than seeing the violence of video games as a problem in and of itself, as others have, they want to use that violence to teach those playing the games valuable lessons about the real world. Games like Medal of Honor and Call of Duty are marketed based on their realism. Adding consequences analogous to the sanctions that would happen in the real world can only serve to help that goal.
Finally, the Red Cross has been very understanding in its approach to trying to add sanctions to video games. They are not protesting, or whipping the media into a frenzy, or anything of that sort. They are going to video game developers directly and seeing if the industry would be open to adding these changes of its own free will. This very similar to when the comic book industry voluntarily instituted the Comics Code Authority. Since the Red Cross has been so, for lack of a better word, nice in their attempts to add extra realism to video games, I think they at least deserve to have their ideas listened to and tried out in a few games.
The Red Cross sees video games as an opportunity to teach gamers about how war works in the real world. They have a very narrow focus in their mission, not trying to revolutionize the entirety of the video game industry. They see video games as a potential force for good, rather than as a blight upon the world. They are tactful in their approach, looking for cooperation with video game developers, rather than trying to force their views on the industry. Proverbs 27:17 says that “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” The Red Cross has expressed a desire to help “sharpen” the video game industry, and I think that they should be allowed to.