Six Days in Fallujah

What is now viewed as an epic battle in urban counterinsurgency might be on store shelves sometime next year.

The video game “Six Days in Fallujah” is hyped to give insight into the battle while presenting “the horrors of war.” Developed by Atomic Games, company president Peter Tamte explains he learned of the battle through friends who were there. The game was developed working closely with Marines who were there and video footage and photographs of the battle. In a recent NPR interview, one Marine consultant seemed positive about the project, noting the same quick decision making that often made the difference in the battle is necessary in the game. (His monetary incentive was not disclosed.)

Not everyone agrees with Tamte’s history-as-game approach. Atomic has come under attack by some groups like Gold Star Families who lost loved ones in Iraq. Members say no way can the game accurately and fully represent the battle; such portrayals should be left to books and movies. Their opposition might have pushed Japanese gaming giant Konami to pull out of the project.

Is the run-up to the “Six Days” release all hype by Atomic? Comments on some of the gaming sites reveal a suspicious crowd. According to gamers in the know, similar games have pretty much “sucked” and a bad product from “Six Days in Fallujah” would do a disservice to the Marines who fought and died there.

Regardless of motive, Atomic seems interested in making a different game that might attract new players and infuse some real-world knowledge into zombie and violent gamers. Though “history” is a misnomer five years out from an event, it seems Atomic has gone to great lengths to produce a game with accuracy. Just as the services picked up on gaming more than a decade ago for its training value, “Six Days” could have an impact on an industry dominated by the “Grand Theft Auto” series and other crimes-as-entertainment games. (We’re OK with crime as entertainment, which makes an argument against “Six Days in Fallujah” a stretch.)

Most understand the renewed pain for the Gold Star family members. Many agree nothing really can replicate those six days in Fallujah (or any event). Would critics rather people ignore that battle, save for film and the written word? Why not open it up to a new audience?

Would you want your battle reenacted in a game?

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