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Games Are "Permitting" Virtual War Crimes

Are gamers breaking humanitarian laws when playing the likes of Modern Warfare 2 or other war-themed titles? According to the BBC News, a recent study conducted by two human rights groups--Trial and Pro Juventute--claim that certain games violate humanitarian laws by allowing players to destroy homes and buildings, torture captives, and gun down innocent civilians.

Staff members of both organizations played twenty games in the presence of lawyers versed in the interpretation of humanitarian laws. The titles included Army of Two, Call of Duty 5, Far Cry 2, Conflict: Desert Storm, and many others. Why not use popular Hollywood movies as test subjects? Because they don't involve hands-on interaction.

According to the BBC, the testers looked for violations of the Geneva Conventions and its Additional Protocols. They also analyzed how surrendered prisoners were treated, and what happened to civilians who were caught in the conflict. While few games rewarded players for minimizing damage and protecting civilians, other titles allowed the destruction of churches, depicted interrogations, and even recreated torture and degradation.

Ultimately, the study determined that the games are sending an "erroneous" message that conflicts are waged without limits. The study also determined that games provide an impression that anything is acceptable in counter-terrorism operations. Other studies outside the humanitarian groups have indicated otherwise, reporting that the games don't desensitize players, and that they are fully aware the experience is simply fantasy.

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  • toastninja17
    It's a f*cking GAME..
  • XZaapryca
    I would like to play "Call of Duty 5". Somehow missed that one.
  • toastninja17
    I mean yeah, I can see a part of where they're coming from with the whole airport massacre level, which I actually found myself restarting after playing it for 5 min, because I couldn't believe what I had just done, playing that in a game, at least. But then I realized, it's just that.

    A game.
  • leafblower29
    If games are so bad, everyone who I know who plays call of duty, etc. would have killed someone by now.

    Anyways I thought humanitarian laws only apply to REAL people not pixels an a display.
  • winner4455
    Hey, it games might even help reduce crime!

    If someone wants to go kill people they can in a game, and they won't have to worry about doing suicide just before the cops get you.

  • Titanius
    That's nothing, in CS we execute hostages all the time. But seriously, those humanitarian groups have nothing better to do. Maybe we should start World War III and they'll have something to cry about.
  • That CoD6 level did confuse me, but after playing it several times (not out of sick enjoyment, just different difficulty levels) don't feel the urge to go out and nail down an airport of civies. Infact i've played many, many war games and I still wouldn't dream of killing someone i disliked, never mind a bunch of innocents.

    As said many times before:

    It is just a game.
  • maigo
    As long as you kill people humanely it's okay, but if someone makes a game where you pretend to hurt a pixel, you're a sick monkey for playing it
  • randomizer
    Well guess what, the Geneva Convention only covers real people, so their point is invalid.
  • paperfox
    what about animal rights?!?!

    think about all those poor lvl 1 boars outside of stormwind... :)