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Face of Russia in Computer Games
October 22, 2010 23:07

Stalin vs Martians Game

Russian State Duma is considering the possibility of closer work with IT-game industry. There will probably appear a supervising body – an independent advisory council, one of the tasks of which will be tracing of unduly cruel and antipatriotic games in the market and banning their sale in Russia. However, the activities will hardly be limited to prohibition measures only.

The reputation of Russia in the eyes of foreign as well as native gamers leaves much to be desired. Stereotypes of the Cold War epoch flourish in minds of the youth, whereas manufacturers of cult shooters and quests eagerly exploit and stimulate this tendency. The examples are not far to seek - just recall February scandal with the game Call of Duty, where one of the levels demands shooting down of a FSS representative and (!) peaceful passengers in the Sheremetyevo Airport. This episode was naturally cut out in Russian release, but they overlooked the inscriptions “No Russia” and eventually the game was not equated with extremist materials.

Take the case of strategy World in Conflict - the USSR attacks the USA and NATO armies in Europe, and the gamer is supposed to defend them. The same plot has been played up nowadays in the Endwar.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
"In numerous games Russia and Russian people are presented as one of the opposing parties. In those games created in the West we see an absolutely false and distorted image of the Russian person. They imprint in consciousness of millions of people in the West and other regions of the world the idea that Russia is aggressive and unpredictable, and Russian people are uncontrollable and cruel; at the same time the idea that Russians have to be fought with in this or that way, is drummed into people’s heads” - political scientist Boris Shmelev says.

“How long can it go on?!” - this question torments not only experts, but also ordinary gamers who are not at all willing to play against Russia, even virtually:
“I just do not understand how such things can be sold in Russia! I am disgusted by films and games, where Americans and NATO are all so goody-goody and have noble purposes, like democracy all over the world, and Russians are bad guys. After all children look at it! Will they respect the country after playing Project I'm Going In, Operation Flashpoint, World in Conflict, and Endwar?”

At large there are two ways out from this situation: either forbid aggressive anti-Russian games, or encourage Russian manufacturers to create worthy alternatives. It is a useless thing to forbid anything in the IT field: Russian gamers already finish playing before the official release of a game. Besides, prohibitive measures will only urge the interest in the forbidden fruit.

Game producers try to convince the Duma that computer games is an extremely important field. But the Duma believes in importance of Russian cinema rather than computer games. But the fact remains: game turnover has already exceeded turnover of all Russian film industry. Games become cult, with communities and virtual countries created around them. Role models of today's teenagers take shape on the basis of computer game characters. It is also a matter of national security: millions of people are engaged in network games.

Computer games are no toys. It is a very serious thing, though not everybody realizes it, points out Pavel Zyryanov, a member of the State Duma Committee for Matters Concerning Young Persons.

"It is necessary to fill the game content with proper information for upbringing of the rising generation. Our task is to provide games, in which Russia is not shown as an aggressor, it is not shown in a negative light; the games should have some educational basis. Today there are developers who are ready to create such games. Interdictions will not resolve the situation. It is necessary to make a high-quality competitive product that teenagers will choose”, he sums up.



Tags: Russian Internet gaming in Russia    

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