You too can pretend to be a pretend Soldier with no respect for the Laws of War.
Blackwater. The name brings out mixed feelings within the military. Some love the high paying career field as a professional mercenary, I mean “contractor.” But a lot of us hate them with a passion. Not only do contractors get paid several times more in a few months that we get paid all year, they are a thorn in our side when we trying to win the key terrain of the counter-insurgency fight, the human terrain.
They obey no military chain of command, except for the vague stipulations in their contracts with various governments. They flaunt their legal immunity to prosecution. And they had a notorious reputation for extreme violence even in situations that don’t warrant it. They are, in my leftist bias, the ultimate evil of corporate oligarchies. These are the types of people who wipe villages off maps so that someone in a suit somewhere can get his next building project done without negative media. And now they have their own video game and our only consolation is that it is mediocre at best.
When Iraq started to wind down, Blackwater Worldwide founder Erik Prince, knew he had a PR problem. The Iraqi government wanted his head; his men had been very naughty. To counter that PR and maintain their lucrative government contracts, Prince took a page from the Wall Street playbook and changed the name of the military wing of his enterprise to Xe Services LLC (limited liability being his goal after all) before leaving the company. Blackwater was left as a shell company to promote the brand and attempt to recover some ground public relations wise. The Blackwater video game is the latest attempt.
Taking advantage of the new Kinect craze for the Xbox 360, this game is the first action FPS developed for the Microsoft motion capture controller. The game, like all military shooters, portrays the contractors (Soldiers in the case of most games) in a ridiculously positive light. You protect aid works and dignitaries in a fictional African town by dispensing hundreds of rounds into the local population and thus enhancing the local freedom quotient of the surrounding region.
So here comes the game to convince their target audience of males such as myself that companies like Blackwater are great and noble endeavors and there is not a whiff of the company’s real actions to be found. Like say arming terrorist organizations, being hired by intelligence agencies for the odd bit of wet work, operating in countries that their client nation wants hit but doesn’t want the flak, giving some shooters inadequate training for what they face, shooting random civilians, operating vehicles without complying with numerous regulations and getting US governmental employees killed in the avoidable crashes that followed, widespread fraud, and hundreds of alleged violations of US law.
The kicker is that Erik Prince is also a Board member of Christian Freedom International.
Thanks to the reader who clued me in one this. This game is defiantly NOT on my list of stuff to play when I get home.
(Sources: Kotaku, Wikipedia, Concerned Reader)