As the focus of this week’s Game archaeology topic I have chosen the 2009 unreleased title, ‘Six Days in Fallujah’ by Atomic Games. A third person tactical shooter, Six Days in Fallujah attempted to create a highly realistic representation of the Second Battle of Fallujah (a particularly confronting incident of the Iraq War) from the perspective of the American/Coalition forces.
Drawing upon relatively recent events and in supposedly stark realism, the game was met with vehement protest from both pro-war and anti-war bodies. The barred release of ‘Six Days in Fallujah’ illustrates how out a particular time and culture can spur societal outrage in an effort to engulf and ultimately misunderstand a game.
Although the game was developed with council from U.S Marines, Iraqi civilians and insurgents as well military historians, the game was criticised by groups claiming it trivialised the brutality of the recent conflict and “could end up in the hands of a fanatical young Muslim and incite him to consider some form of retaliation or retribution”. Sadly, these arguments illustrate a cultural misunderstanding of the nature and possibility of games to educate and explore factual events in a deeper medium – a cultural misunderstanding that has sadly remained contemporary. The failed publication of ‘Six Days in Fallujah’ illustrates how time and culture can withhold a game in its entirety, and undermine the industry’s strives in transcending past conceptions that videogames are juvenile.
The question should be raised that why are video game titles that are striving for realism and contemporary relevance marred by controversy where films of similar purpose and context are applauded? Looking at you, ‘Hurt Locker’.