Wednesday, February 07, 2007

War Games

Today I opened my newspaper to find an awards ceremony taking place that I had never heard of before; "The Interactive Achievement Awards", administered by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, a non-profit group made up of some 9,000 members of the entertainment software industry. Take a look at the titles and descriptions of some of the nominees; Gears of War, a dark futuristic action-horror video game. Gears is the brainchild of creative director Cliff Bleszinski, but the Epic team from Cary, North Carolina, had plenty of Canadian content. Epic VP Mark Rein is from Toronto and four other Canadians worked on the project. How wonderful, a hands across the border project totally consumed with violence and war.

Then there's Scarface, a violent mobster interactive game from Radical Entertainment in Vancouver, Bully from Rockstar Games also from Vancouver, sending another message of violent retribution. Relic , the video game company from Canada contributing the most to world peace with titles like; Impossible Creatures, Warhammer 40,000, and Dawn of War released this statement; "So far we've been nominated for over 60 awards that I'm aware of,: producer John Johnson said proudly from Vancouver, "We've pulled in (won) over 40 of those". Johnson said Relic knew the Second World War field was getting a little stale, but was confident it could take the genre forward to the next step. "Key features included creating a "living battlefield," where gamers could interact with their environment. "For me that's the biggest feature, because the game play suddenly becomes different every time you play it," said Johnson. Wow what a concept, how to kill people in different ways, based on your "killing mood".,and what a genius creative business mind to recognize that this "second world war" stuff was getting stale. A final footnote, the awards take place at the HardRock Casino and Club in Las Vegas (Sin City), how appropriate.

It's been surmised that none of the above companies have been nominated for a Corporate Ethics, Sustainabliity, or "Zentrepreneur of the Year Award.

Okay here goes my rant and disbelief at the same time. The fact that we have reached a point in our society that we are permitting legalized war games to infiltrate the very people that we will be entrusting our world to, the younger generation, is beyond belief. Have we become so immune to the world outside that the very mention of war to someone today is treated much like the daily weather forecast. You want to hear about it , but you are powerless to change it. Where is the fine line between madness and civility.

Zentrepreneurism is about creating purpose and profits with integrity. The inconvenient truth about global warming has finally reached the ears of government and now the general public. It took Al Gore years to get peoples attention. What will it take to get the business world to "wake up" to it's own Inconvenient Truth.

Whether its pollution of the atmosphere or pollution of the mind., the two are equal culprits and each has it's own responsibility to act in a way that strenghtens our moral and ethical fibre. The cigarette companies are now targetting the most vulnerable of our ciitzens, our youth, becasue they know that they are the ones most confused and feeling disenfranchised. Too young to make clear descisions on what's good or bad and too old to be turned away at the corner grocery store. These same vulnerable, disenfranchised, and misguided youth are walking into Best Buy and laying down their last few dollars to have an opportunity to "play war". Killing people off is no big deal, heck you can watch CNN every night and get your dose of war and casualty counts much like to the ticker tape from Wall Street.

These same kids are in a fog, they have become immune to the graphics and they do not place a high value on themselves or the world around them. The next step is the local gun store and then it's off to the nearest high school or college to blow away people who looked funny at them, ignored them, bullied them, or talked about them. And then you can "waste yourself", the ulitmate suicide, no "guts no glory". You see the pattern here. It's a pattern repeated thousands of times a day in virtually every city in North America. At one point does business and the corporate world step up to the plate and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. We will no longer sacrifice integrity for profits. We will do the right thing to stop glorifying violence and war.

We will make a commitment to promote peace and wellness in our community. And if this inconvenient truth is too much for them to handle and they refuse to act responsibly, then you have no other choice, just say "Hell No we won't Buy" . The quiet revolution of the conscious consumer has already begun with the oil companies, the cigarette companies, the drug companies, the anti-war movement and now it's time for us to meet head on the irresponsible antics of the video game industry. War ,poverty, pollution, hunger and polluted profits have no place in a peaceful compassionate world. It may not appear in your daily newspaper, but the people have spoken, even if they are under ground.

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