Now you can play real battles on your PC

Since I discovered an online RSS Reader in the form of Bloglines I’ve been looking out for interesting sources of information. One of my main aims was to find some accurate and real information from Iraq not only from the Iraqis there, but also from journalists and soldiers.

While I was on a soldiers blog I clicked this link and was shocked to see the following quote.

Download and play accurate re-creations of real war news events weeks after they occur

This site offers actual missions carried out by the Military for you to play on your PC at home. My surprise grew as I watched the video introduction to one of the levels:

“Uday and Qusay’s Last Stand”

I couldn’t believe this sort of thing was available and there was so little press about it. I was hooked, and I checked out the online mission briefing video.

Welcome, I’m Tad Low and this is a special premium edition of Kuma War. Today we return to July 22nd 2003, the place, Mosul Iraq, 35 miles from the Syrian border. Here, today, Soldiers from America’s 101st Airborne Division will kill Uday and Qusay Hussein, sons of deposed Dictator, Saddam Hussein.
Tad Low introduction to mission level

I couldn’t believe it as I listened to the cheesy overplayed American intro, it looked more like it belonged on a satellite TV station or some late night comedy show, but it was real.

Interspaced with real footage of the attack, pictures of the Hussein brothers, both before the War and after their deaths, and discussions from a Military expert, you can listen to Tad helm the overview of the Mission.

Tad informs us that during the opening stages of the assault three soldiers were killed on the stairs leading up and into the building, we are then shown the game recreating those deaths. Another soldier was killed outside the building, again we see the computer character taking fire.

It’s all very disturbing at this point, and it’s not the game itself, it’s the treatment and the selling of it. If it was advertised as is and the cheap TV coverage was dropped, or at least played more somberly, then it might be fine to release these kinds of missions on a game. I mean we are playing Vietnam, World War II, Desert Storm games, etc, and all in equally realistic recreations.

Before anyone get’s the wrong idea, I firmly believe there is no connection between computer games and people committing crimes. I have played these games for quite some time, I have and do play Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City and now San Andreas. I play these with great pride that they were created in the very city I live (well done Rockstar!). I watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre when I was thirteen and I was freaked beyond belief. I have seen portions of one of the Faces of Death video and quite frankly, I never will again, it was horrible.

Yet here I am, I have a good career, a girlfriend who I’ve just moved in with, a great apartment, all in all a very good life and I’ve never hurt anyone physically, and I never intend to. Why, well, because I’m not a psychopath or a sociopath. If the games were to blame, I’d be out there murdering by the truck load.

It’s not the games, it’s not the movies, it’s not even Kojak – as was the famous defence of a murderer in America while the series was famous – it’s the person. Punish them, not the millions of perfectly capable people who enjoy entertainment.

Right…where was I? Oh yes…

Jax, the game analyst, guides you throw the first part of the mission and what you need to do, showing clips of the level and giving you tactic movements, and it’s here that I actually start to appreciate it as a game. It looks rather good, and the idea that it is based on actual Military operations. Like so many other games before it provides realism and a small step towards civilians understanding what it was like for Soldiers.

After all that, I’m actually quite interested. I’m not so interested in their shock selling style, but the actual game might not be so bad.

It’s a subscription based service, and from what I can see each month you receive a new mission:

…you’ll have access to our full library of single player and multiplayer war games online, including mission intel packs which include real world news, a video news show, sat photos, and expert analysis provided by decorated military advisors.

They’re not kidding either, the introduction above played out like a Military briefing, albeit with an over excited News Anchor at the helm.

It seems that the total number of missions is currently sitting at 27, and these include such titles as:

Samarra Bank Heist, Fallujah Police Station Raid, Iran Hostage Rescue Mission, al Qaeda: The Battle for Mosul, Osama 1998, Najaf: al Mahdi Cemetery Battle, and one particularly famous mission:

John Kerry’s Silver Star…

…playable recreation of the 1969 Vietnam War mission that won John Kerry his Silver Star, you must power through the dense web of rivers in the Mekong Delta, preparing for a deadly Vietcong ambush.

…you can even see a character model looking just like him in full combat gear and weapon in hand!

I really don’t know what to make of it. Part of me is saying it’s too soon for this sort of game recreation, much like the idea of the upcoming Iraq War Drama TV series. Another part of me is thinking of the US Army, and other Military Organisations around the world, using computer games as simulations, and the benefits gained. Looking at the civilian side, it could be said that we gain some understanding and reality of the tasks faced by our Soldiers, if we’re given such real and fast access to game simulations, we’ll identify closely with them and we’ll realise they are grounded in reality.

Still, after all that, it’s just a game, and yes, I am going to try it.

You can see for yourself at KumaWar’s site.

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