It’s still a game, but realistic at the same time.

Graphics, almost true to life scenarios make games like the Call of Duty series so much in demand that it’s easy to get carried away in the swirl of excitement.

But if the players are going to be engaged in a virtual war, shouldn’t there be virtual consequences for violating the rules of combat?

That’s what the International Red Cross wants – causing some debate among manufacturers and gamers.

According to this:

The International Committee of the Red Cross is urging video game makers to include consequences in their ever realistic battlefield titles for players who commit war crimes.

“The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has publicly stated its interest in the implications of video games that simulate real-war situations and the opportunities such games present for spreading knowledge of the law of armed conflict,” the group says on its website. “The rules on the use of force in armed conflict should be applied to video games that portray realistic battlefield scenes, in the same way that the laws of physics are applied.”

Games in the “Call of Duty” series allow players to commit on-screen acts that would constitute war crimes if perpetrated in the real world, and the Red Cross believes that manufacturers have the responsibility of simulating the consequences.

“We're not asking for censorship, we don't want to take any elements out of the games," said Bernard Barrett, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross. "We just want games to respect the basic rules of armed conflict and include penalties for gamers who commit war crimes.”

The response from game makers has been mixed.



"There’s an enormous amount of appreciation for what [veterans] do. In no way do we feel we are a representation of what their lives are like,” Mark Rubin, executive producer of Call of Duty: Ghosts, told Game Informer. “A lot of the stuff that we show in the game has been done by someone, but it’s not a representation of what they do or it’s not an equivalent in any way of what they do. We’re just trying to make a fun movie.”

But Marek Spanel, CEO of Bohemia Interactive—whose games have been used in military training—is embracing the inclusion of virtual war crime consequences.

"We don't want to hide reality, so it's possible to accidentally commit a crime and then be punished for it, Spanel said. "We realized some players just fired at everything that moved and we felt that just was not right. If you do this, friendly troops will attack you."

The ICRC knows that it can’t dictate how players act on the virtual battlefield, but hopes that if manufacturers include punishment for those who simulate war crimes, they will better portray the reality of armed conflict.

“Sanitizing video games of such acts is not realistic,” the ICRC said on its website. “Violations occur on real battlefields and can therefore be included in video games. The ICRC believes it is useful for players to learn from rewards and punishments incorporated into the game, about what is acceptable and what is prohibited in war.”


Well there you go. So much for realism. And that's the point. If you want the game to be as realistic as real life war scenarios, then why not apply the rules of war to the game.

Of course there would be no way to enforce the inclusion of the virtual consequences for violating the rules of war - it's a mere suggestion.

The other side of it is the argument that the rules of war don’t apply here because, again, it’s only a game.

But again, if it’s to be as realistic as they claim it is, the International Red Cross’ suggestion is valid.

Virtual consequences if the rules of these virtual wars are violated.

Why not?