CONTENT WARNING: This episode contains frank and difficult discussion of parts of the Iraq War, and specifically the Second Battle of Fallujah. One of our members, John, is a former US Marine who was present at this battle. In this episode he speaks candidly about what he saw and how it affected him, in order to counteract the oftentimes glamorized image of American activity in the middle east. At one point, John is affected enough by the discussion to need to leave for the rest of the episode. If discussion of war and violence would be a problem for you, or if you are not prepared to hear criticism of America’s role in the Iraq War, you should skip this episode.
Controversial Iraq War shooter Six Days in Fallujah returned to the discourse, dropping the first actual trailer for the game since its announcement in 2009. The game intends to portray the real world events of the Second Battle of Fallujah in November of 2004, and those working on the game claim it will capture the psychological horror and reality that US Marines experienced at the time. We (including John, a former US Marine who served in Fallujah) are skeptical of whether this goal can or should be achieved. We also point out the historical whitewashing of the Iraq War, and American military intervention in general, in pop cultural media like video games. That is not to say Six Days in Fallujah could not nail its subject matter, but history has shown us that such projects will paint an overly glamorous view of the US military while exploiting their trauma for profits. That says nothing of the frequently racist and one-sided portrayal of the Iraqi people. We also repeatedly challenge the idea that these events are ready to be called “historical”, since sixteen years after the battle this game portrays we’ve never left Iraq.
It’s not all heavy discussion this week though. We attempt to cleanse our palettes with reports that failed Bioware live service game Anthem is finally approaching its “do-or-die” moment with publisher Electronic Arts. Can Anthem be successfully rebooted like Final Fantasy XIV famously was? Or would it be better for Bioware to cut their losses and move staff to new projects? We say “attempt” earlier because serious discussion eventually gives way to much-needed goofing off. It was a heavy show, don’t judge us.
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