Saturday, 8 March 2014

History in the gaming industry

A new chinese video game features characters shooting Japanese prisoners of war, and I'm not joking when I say it's actually called 'Shoot the Devils.' (I think the Chinese nationalists are missing a bit of subtlety there.) The worst thing about this however, is that the creators behind the game urge players to "remember history." Oh dear.

Obviously it says a lot about the relationship between China and Japan, and how the legacy of the Second World War remains a touchy subject. Current debates over territorial claims are not helping the situation. This, as if we needed any more proof, shows how the past is inevitably woven into the present. How can anyone argue that history is irrelevant and should be forgotten? Everything we do in the present is shaped by past events. We, as individuals, are made from our ancestors, the way we live our lives and even in the way we think is all conditioned by what has gone before. Public history can be a dangerous beast, and it is often used and abused by politicians and nationalists, as in this example. On many occasions, the passage of time does not improve international relations. It will be interesting to analyse the popularity of the game in China and to see the response in Japan...

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