How many people have you killed in your valiant attempt to end World War III? Among all the countless hours of game play worldwide, billions and billions of virtual people have met their ends during various editions of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and other first-person shooter games. This might be an affront to international humanitarian laws, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Online gamers are not going to be prosecuted under the Geneva Conventions, so don't worry, but the virtual killing of billions does raise some questions, according to the committee.
"In real life, armed forces are subject to the laws of armed conflict. Video games simulating the experience of armed forces therefore have the potential to raise awareness of the rules that those forces must comply with whenever they engage in armed conflict," the ICRC said on its website today. "As a matter of fact, certain video games already take into account how real-life military personnel are trained to behave in conflict situations."
A gathering of national Red Cross/Red Crescent societies discussed video games and international law as part of the 31st conference of the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent in Geneva. A bulletin posted on the organization's website last week, originally reported at Kotaku, said the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was interested in video game depictions of battlefield violence.
"While the Movement works vigorously to promote international humanitarian law (IHL) worldwide, there is also an audience of approximately 600 million gamers who may be virtually violating IHL," the bulletin said.
Lots of virtual people die in first-person shooter war games — as of January, 62 billion virtual people had died in COD: Black Ops, according to game maker Activision, and it's surely way more than that now.
The phrase "international humanitarian law" extends to accords like the Geneva Conventions, which cover the treatment of war wounded and prisoners of war.
There have been no recommendations nor decisions regarding video games, but the committee acknowledged it is interested in working with game developers to promote a better understanding of international law in their games.
"The ICRC welcomes the fact that certain video games on war-related themes already take the law of armed conflict into account," it said.
Some game-makers also make war simulations for real armed forces, so they might be well served by input from the largest international humanitarian organization. And it probably wouldn't hurt to teach online players the rules of a humane conflict. COD: MW3 already contains a no-tolerance policy against friendly fire, for instance, so it would be simple to add one covering your harsh treatment of that hostage Volk, who has intel on Makarov. Maybe you shouldn't tie him up.
Honestly I can see where they are coming from, but there comes a point where you have to draw the line as this is grabbing at strings. There are so many other issues in the world, me sniping someone online isn't going to make the economy any worse.
Should Video Games Adhere to International Humanitarian Law? No!
Digital Napalm doesn't stick to children, so i'd say no.
So the other day I was playing laser tag. You would be shocked, SHOCKED, at how many violations of IHL were being committed. Nobody was adhering to law. So here I was trying to be a good soldier and not shoot anyone with a beam of light that had not shot at me first and what do I get in return? Everyone shot me! I was dead before I had the chance to even play.
Video games are just like this but so much worse. In the video game version this we have left billions of non-existent virtual families parent-less! Think of the atrocities committed upon fake families everywhere.
I weep. Because what is essentially virtual laser tag has been so cruel to what is essentially no one.
This is unbelievably asinine. International Humaitarian Law covers real humans, and considering the "casualties" aren't actually real, there is no story here.
There are not "...600 million gamers who may be virtually violating IHL..."
There are "600 million gamers who may be violating the VIRTUAL IHL", except for the fact that it does not exist.
So maybe the virtual ICRC should take this up with whatever virtual entities actually care.
Just more people who need to validate their existence by making more rules, and putting their nose's into other people's business.
@Yacob521 That is one thing that I've noticed with all the games I've played. If there are children in the game, they can't be attacked, but most of the time there just arn't any children.
All's fair in love & war.
Well in MW friendly fire isn't tolerated...LOL
@Shakousha, there is a stage in MW@ called "No Russian", in it you get to gun down hundreds of unarmed civilians, including a woman pushing a stroller....
Obviously video games should not be subject to international human rights laws… but someone should take a look at how killing thousands of people in a very realistic vivid simulation affects the psyche.
"the committee acknowledged it is interested in working with game developers to promote a better understanding of international law in their games."
As long as there is no censorship or forced participation involved, I am all for it.
We have become a particularly bloodthirsty society. And we are judged by how our soldiers conduct themselves on the battlefield.
As a veteran, I am concerned when I hear comments that we should be treating our enemies as they treat us: Tortured and murdered without conscience.
Humanity has come a long way in the past 100 years in the way we conduct ourselves in wartime. I would hate to see us regress to the carnage of WWI and WWII.
To an extent i agree.
First off, I don't think anything should govern whether something CAN be done (One of the purposes in games is being able to do things we could/would never do in real life).
That being said, I do think there should be something in every game that gives a rough indication of right and wrong (ie Fallout's karma system without the bugs). For those who are not familiar with the game series fallout, the karma system gives you good karma for helping people and performing good actions. It also gives you bad karma for certain methods/ways of killing. Case in point, walking up to some random person and blowing their brains out, excessively tortuously killing someone, or killing prisoners = Bad karma. Combat kills, or killing people in self defense, while not giving any karma bonus, does not penalize. Killing someone to preserve the lives of the innocent = good karma (i know there are going to be some debate over this one). It also often gave you extra karma boosts if you managed to settle encounters non-violently.
Even though these games are officially rated for only 18+, lets face it, children still play these games. I certainly did when i was their age.
While the fine points of good and bad of killing are open to debate, there should be at least some basic system in place to emphasize that universally bad actions are just that.
I don't condone or condemn playing "evil" characters in a game universe. However there should be a system in place in character development so the person playing is well aware that the actions they are performing are wrong. This type of system would not be intended to penalize an evil character or restrict gameplay freedom in any way. It would simply act as an indicator so the lesser intelligent of the species who may not realize that the actions are inappropriate.
and a direct comment on the content of the article. The geneva convention does not dictate if/who/when you can tie up. beating them savagely after they are tied up is looked down on. Killing them tied up is definitely a no no.
This is just a one of my personal morals in gaming..
Shooting a psychopathic rapist who opens fire on you as you try to rescue the children he has abducted.
Bad karma (although i grudgingly admit i found more gratifying, it should still be flagged as wrong):
Rescuing the kids and then sneaking up to the same psycho ,dropping a hand grenade down his pants, and running.
Here is some Geneva Convention trivia:
1. Is it permissible for a soldier to wear the uniform of the enemy to pose as enemy soldier?
2. Is it permissible for a soldier to pose as a civilian?
3. Is it permissible to shoot at an enemy pilot who ejected from his aircraft while he is descending in his parachute?
4. Is it permissible to shoot at an enemy paratrooper while he is descending in his parachute?
Next their going to abide by speed limit laws in Need for speed and gta. Sorry sir you can't steal a virtual car because it might hurt that virtual person's virtual feelings. What you gana send me to virtual court where i'll get a virtual life sentence for the death of millions of virtual people. Good luck with that bud
As much it is engineering, science and structure in making a game, I believe it originates and ends from an artist point of view. The rules of the game are created by the inventor or inventors.
Besides, an occasional rogue solder is reality too.
Kill'em, Kill'em ALL! ARG!
I take out all my stress on a game and at the end of the game, zero harm done, then end. ;)
You gotta be kidding me...
There should also be something in war games that indicate when the player violates the rules of engagement of the military it is portraying.
Once again though, it should only be an indicator (like a tool tip or a red screen flash), and make no attempts to stop them. However in the interests of realism, the character should incur the wrath of hell from their CO when they get back to base! This type of system i believe would benefit the game as it would add to the depth and realism.
I agree with Grunt in the extent that people want to experience alternate routes (such as the rogue soldier) in games. Its one of their key redeeming qualities.
In the interest of freedom of environment, the person should be able to roll through the mission killing each and everything that moves (including their squad mates) if they want to. However they would likely have a cut-scene after showing your characters court martial and subsequent execution or committal to a mental hospital.
So if someone designs a war game that takes place not in our society the people of this virtual land should be subjected to our world rules? ----I don't think so
That's silly. Video games are for fun. They are not meant to be taken literally. Some can mess with peoples minds thoug. Playing as a terrorist and shooting a ton of people in an airport is an example. I can see this getting stuck in someone's mind for a long time and affect their guilt factor. I can see a humantarian would want to fix that, but I cannot see why they would feel bad about virtual terrorists being killed, counter terrorists, or the other team, etc.
to answer the question: YES IT SHOULD !IF! we cant distinguish games from reality apart...
otherway games arent worth that any good action tv show... ^^
bored? lets go mine the stars... ^^
Let me put this simply... ITS A GAME! NO REAL PEOPLE WERE HARMED DURING THE PLAYING OF THIS GAME!
Seriously, the Red Cross has better things to do other than discussing the violent content of FPS. Lets name a couple... Syria is MURDERING their civilians in the streets of their country... There are human right violations being committed on DAILY if not HOURLY basis in portions of Africa! This is the best talking point it can come up with? SERIOUSLY?!?
Should we also apply domestic violence laws to the SIMS?
There are REAL issues in this world; more than enough to garner the attention of ALL of us... Lets not get distracted by the trivial.
Is this a joke waiting for the next artile that says PSYCH!!
@Aldrons Last Hope
And before you even start playing the game, you're asked if you are okay with the questionable and disturbing content... I should also mention that during that mission, you're part of a group of ultra-nationalists that have little to no interest in Human rights let alone international law... So, what's your point?
Children who smash Ken and Barbie dolls together in crude simulations of love-making should be persecuted for simulated rape and physical abuse.
by the number of comments on this thread we all can see that the public is not happy...
bored? lets go mine the stars... ^^
I could understand if someone was making a "Tactical Military Simulator" that was supposed to be as realisticly accurate as possible. Then the would WANT to adhere to those laws for the "Accuracy" of it. But 90% of video games are just mindless fun entertainmentm, and yes even the puzzle game are mindless fun when you think about it.
Its an entertainment medium and therefore should be subject to the same freedrom and expression rules we apply to other forms of entertainment such as BOOKS, ART, MAGAZINES, ETC. Implementing arbitrary requirements simply because the media delivry system is "Interactive" demonstrates both a lack of understanding and forethought. It's also akin to censorship by proxy.
Ever wonder what would happen if you proposed something totally idiotic just for kicks to see if you could get a bunch of morons to debate its validity? Well now we know....
I guess you should count yourself in that number of morons... Stand and be counted, you participated.
Always happy to be counted among my fellow morons...but the whole notion is still idiotic.
I wanna double cheeseburger with everything on it and some firegrilled brats boiled in beer. I'm hungry. Thirsty too. I should get a beer to go with my burger, beer n' bratwurst. Anybody else think Miller Lite is underrated?
Apparently the Red Cross doesn't play video games, especially first person shooters, because they have no idea what they're talking about. I understand where they're coming from, but they are clueless. I've been a gamer for the past 20 years, and I'm going to end it here, because I could write a 50 page report, but won't bother since this is so stupid.