Should the Geneva Conventions Be Applied to Video Games?

A recent article with the same title as this post appeared on Mashable.com. The question was of whether or not should the conventions be applied to video games was not posed by Mashable or its writers, but by members of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The committee now believes the realistic war video games should adhere to guideliens set by the Geneva and Hague conventions. The Mashable article author explained, “The Geneva Conventions are a series of treaties and protocols created after World War II to establish international law around the humanitarian treatment of victims of war. The conventions prevent, among other things, the use of torture, inhumane treatment, hostage-taking, and excessive violence.” The International committee believes that video games should state or only allow actions allowed by the many conventions governing wartime actions. Some games, such as Modern Warfare 3 have begun to not allow the killing of civillians, but should the conventions be applied to Video Games?

By applying the convention rules to video games and not performing the same actions in works movies, TV shows, books, or comics, the International Committee of the Red Cross comes across as hypocritical. The level of engagement with video games may be greater than the engagement with movies or books, but the concepts are identical. Video games represent the same forms or niches of entertainment as action films or murder mystery novels. Restrictions on video game creators means restrictions on the entire digital medium.

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