Video Games are the New Contested Space for Public Policy
In February, the video game publisher Victura announced it would launch what it described as a realistic video-game portrayal of the Second Battle for Fallujah. Based on dozens of interviews with troops who fought in the 2004 battle, Six Days in Fallujah was billed as more of a documentary than an action experience. “We track several units through the process and you get to know what it was like from day to day.” Peter Tamte, Victura’s CEO, told The Wall Street Journal. He explained that the game would avoid the politics of the Iraq war and the perspectives of civilians who experienced brutality at the hands of U.S. forces, since that was a divisive subject. Instead, the game would “engender empathy” for the U.S. Marines who fought in the battle.
This promotional campaign encountered immediate opposition. Veterans of the battle argued that a documentary story about a controversial battle in a controversial war could hardly be stripped of its politics while remaining true to its subject.