The International Red Cross has recently been pushing for so-called “hyper realistic” video games to follow international humanitarian laws and penalize players for their in-game crimes, such as gunning down civilians.
Last month, the organization on its Japanese site posted an explanation about why it decided to press for this. As expected, gamers had mixed reactions to the announcement with some decrying the “over-regulation” of their hobby, while many thought it was a much-needed change to the industry.
The international group said that it wanted to raise awareness of the rules that real-world armed forces must abide by in combat. So it wanted video games to follow these international humanitarian laws just like how the games already apply the laws of physics. The Red Cross did not name names, but it told gamers that it is especially concerned with games that depict consequence-free torture, killing of prisoners, attacking medical facilities or vehicles or hunting civilians.
They suggested that the game penalize players for committing war crimes or face in-game consequences for not following humanitarian laws. The Red Cross said it hoped that game-makers would be able to include this kind of moral message in their games without sanitizing the overall experience or becoming “preachy.”
A lot of Japanese gamers on Twitter agreed with the Red Cross and thought that it was about time that video games followed real-world laws.
—I’d like to give a round of applause, but shouldn’t this have been obvious before?
—It would be great if they could remake all the games and release them with this kind of thinking.
—I think a game that fully integrates the Red Cross’s recommendations would actually be very fun.
Other gamers were much less excited about another organization hopping on the knackered old “video games are detrimental to society” bandwagon.
—It’s easy to fall for more regulations when you also fall for hysteria…
—Do that and then don’t be surprised if schools start banning chess because it “promotes war.”
—Those people that always go around saying things like “regulate” and “prohibit” make me sick.
Others wondered about exactly how companies would implement these kind of rules.
—Are they going to make “Call of Duty: Red Cross”?
—This would make gaming much more serious and less fun.
—To be fully realistic, you wouldn’t get less points, but a trial after you complete your mission.
—So…I guess this would end the GTA franchise.
One gamer pointed out that penalizing players for killing citizens is hardly new. Gyrodine, a helicopter shooting game on the NES, came out in the 1980s and took away points for hitting innocent bystanders or buildings that were not targets.
Is this another case of video game violence hysteria? Or does the Red Cross have a point and should video game companies play a role in letting players know of the real-world consequences of war?
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