War and culture, some thoughts

I notice something interesting nowadays. Today’s culture doesn’t take going to war seriously. Just take a look at how normal and everyday war video games have become, or war movies, or jokes about going to war with the North Koreans. It has become so…normal. Most of us forget that war was and still is a horrible horrible thing. We need not look any further then what’s going on in the middle east for proof, or if you’re yet unconvinced, look back to the world wars, millions upon millions of young men and innocent civilians killed by the never ending war machine of humanity. Even more so, at the beginning of the 20th century. Machine guns, poison gas, flamethrowers, all bringing about new ways to kill people.

However, is its sheer horror the reason people take it lightly? Perhaps to make light of a dark situation, to hide away from the fact that it brings about nothing but death and destruction. Or maybe it’s the media, action films and video games that portray warfare as something fun and cool; a strong hardened soldier charging up with a machine gun mowing down the bad guys by the hundreds, a one man army. Video games that put you in the shoes of a super soldier that once again, takes on hundreds of bad guys on his own, killing left and right in an action packed experience for the player. All these serves to desensitize the mind to the notion of mass killing and violence. People that experience hundreds of deaths on-screen in a video game may not find it as unsettling when he or she sees on the TV, hundreds and thousands of deaths in some far away war, as compared to a person who does not game. This is just my point of a view. As a teenager myself, i too spend my weekends and some evenings gaming away, be it robbing banks, killing aliens or racing along the city in fast cars, i do notice such things about myself.

Of course on the other hand, accurate depictions of war do exist, certain films such as maybe Saving Private Ryan is an example. However, for everyone of such accurate depiction, there are  maybe ten others that are pure fantasy. Video games on the other hand, are a different story. Simply put, a realistic game of war, would not be fun at all, because war isn’t fun at all. And games that are not fun don’t make money. The sheer boredom mixed with the sheer brutality of battles would not appeal to most people. Video games about war tend to be fast-paced, action packed, explosions and guns going on everywhere as you charge heroically at the faceless enemies. All this is about 1% of a war, and the first one to charge is the first one to get killed in most cases.
I don’t think the majority of young people understand this, that war is mainly death and death and death. Amongst the people i know at least, that would volunteer without a second thought if a war broke out. Perhaps this is patriotism? Or just a hunger for glory and heroics? There needs to be a clear distinction between fantasy and reality.


Know the difference




2 thoughts on “War and culture, some thoughts

  1. I think this is a super important issue! Myself personally, I tend to automatically disengage my “emotional side” when I play or watch war video games, whereas seeing war coverage on the news has a totally different impact. The medium these messages are delivered to me really changes how I think about them. I think video games could really take advantage of their widespread influence to get people to think more actively about war, rather than constantly playing into an “emotional disengagement” where players are encouraged to be desensitized while playing.


    1. exactly, games where youre just one guy mindlessly killing a bunch of bad guys may be fun, but it also desensitises you to the act of killing. of course its okay if you have a clear grasp of fiction and reality but something more thought provoking would be nice in a video game. Spec ops the line is one i can think of off the top of my head that does a good job at that


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