Video Game Celebrates
BreakForNews.com | December 3, 2004
by Fintan Dunne
If you thought the new video game inviting players to try their virtual skills at assassinating JFK was tasteless , hold on to your hat. A just-released mission in the Kuma wargame series is themed “Fallujah: Operation al-Fajr." It re-creates the recent assault on Fallujah, which may have left thousands of civilians dead.
Players join U.S. Marines and Army soldiers in their attack on the Jolan district in Fallujah. For the making of “Fallujah: Operation al-Fajr,” Kuma Reality Games used detailed satellite imagery of Jolan.
Publicity material for yesterday's new game says players "dodge sniper fire and protect civilians," while fighting to secure the Jolan district.
Perhaps the action isn't really that "realistic" after all. Civilians in Fallujah outnumbered rebels by perhaps thirty to one. They bore the brunt of a relentless US bombardment of Jolan. News media reports say this included 2,000-pound bombs, helicopter gunships and artillery.
Independent journalists and Arab media say napalm-like weapons and poison gas were also deployed. Reporter, Dahr Jamail told BreakForNews.com that witnesses saw people poisoned, fall to the ground and die. Other reports describe firebombs spewing lethal contents which adhered to skin and burned unquenchably.
Only later did the soldiers --the real ones-- come to root out any "resistance" left alive. This involved the use of cluster bombs and grenades tossed into homes, with devastating results in at least one case. Cowering inside was a family - not virtual terrorists. A young boy was hospitalized with grenade fragment injuries.
Don't expect that kind of realism from the latest Kuma offering. “Fallujah: Operation al-Fajr,” is the sanitized electronic world of good guys and bad guys. Just like Bush's war. And you can guess who the good guys are.
The Kuma /War series is lovingly following the action around Iraq, and modeling game chapters on set-piece recreations of real military operations. Players have battled the Medi army in the south and hunted down Uday and Qusay Hussein . We are now up to Mission #28.
In the coming weeks, game subscribers will get missions that re-create current combat in Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq.
Many missions are being developed in cooperation with the US military.
“Fallujah: Operation al-Fajr” even contains a discussion with Major General Thomas L. Wilkerson, USMC (ret) on the strategy behind the fight for control of Fallujah. The last mission before Fallujah, was " Ramadi Convoy Exercise ,"
based on the same training mission Kuma\War modeled for CASCOM - the US Army Combined Arms Support Command.
Kuma Reality Games has just opened voting for its " Stories from the Front " contest. The contest asked soldiers to contribute stories from their actual experiences in the battlefield. The winner's story will become an upcoming mission. The winner will be featured with three friends as characters in the re-creation of the winning story.
The eligible entries have been slimmed to finalists like: Beneath the Saddam Mosque, the story of a rescue team searching for a kidnapped woman in the tunnels beneath a mujahedeen-controled mosque; Baghdad Cowboy details an ambush on enemies to rescue a troubled Fallujah convoy; and Saddam City Shocker centers around a squad that fights its way across a bridge into Saddam City.
This is the seamless integration of military gaming and real military action. The two have become one. Virtually. A seamless virtual reality whose barbarity and insensitivity is puzzling to the "reality-based" community.
In Fallujah, during the bombing families could hear the screams from those whose homes had been hit, but they had to keep their heads down and pray.
Kuma should have taped those screams.