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To Kill or Not to Kill Osama

May 9, 2011

Less than a week after Osama bin Laden was assassinated by a team of elite US Navy SEALS, Video gamers around the world have been given the chance to live out the deadly raid and even to pull the trigger themselves.

Using the wealth of contradictory information that has been officially released about the raid, Kuma Games has unscrupulously re-created the raid to kill Osama bin Laden right down to intricate details about the Pakistani compound he was assassinated in. This forms the plot of the latest episode of its larger Kuma War game, a series of Iraqi War games that recreates actual battles from the last decade of Middle Eastern conflicts. In addition to the Osama kill Mission Kuma War also allows the players to take part in other engagements such as the search and capture of Saddam Hussein and  the Death of al-Zarqawi.

Its interesting to compare Kuma War to the abandoned release of Six Days In Fallujah, a first person  battle shooter also based on an actual conflict from the invasion of Iraq. Unlike Osama kill Mission, the premise of Six Days In Fallujah was the subject of considerable controversy; with questions raised as to its appropriateness, especially given the fact that the true event the game is based upon was so recent. So much so that in 2009 the game company set to release it dropped the project at the 11th hour.

The criticism came from peace activists and war veterans alike. Reg Keys, father of slain Lance Corporal Thomas Keys, stated that “Considering the enormous loss of life in the Iraq War, glorifying it in a video game demonstrates very poor judgement and bad taste… These horrific events should be confined to the annals of history, not trivialized and rendered for thrill-seekers to play out… It’s entirely possible that Muslim families will buy the game, and for them it may prove particularly harrowing. Even worse, it could end up in the hands of a fanatical young Muslim and incite him to consider some form of retaliation or retribution.”

Tim Collins, a former lieutenant colonel of the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, shared a similar disposition. Collins stated, “It’s much too soon to start making video games about a war that’s still going on, and an extremely flippant response to one of the most important events in modern history. It’s particularly insensitive given what happened in Fallujah, and I will certainly oppose the release of this game. Despite its poor taste, its trivialization of the horrors of war and its proximity to actual violent events, there have been no protests over the bin Laden death game from either peace activists or war veterans as of yet. Stay tuned.

You can read more about the game here and here

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