Monday, May 23, 2011


Video games have let trigger happy, kill crazy gamers relive humanity's darker side for decades. Long before Hitler turned up with a machine gun in Wolfenstein 3D and Call Of Duty: World At War demonised the Japanese. But these days, the turn around from 'history' to entertainment's so quick, it's getting pretty hard to spot the difference.

Less than a week after US president Barack Obama announced the overnight death of Osama Bin Laden, game modder Fletch created fy_abbottabad, a downloadable, playable map for Counter Strike: Source based on Osama's now legendary Pakistan compound. Personally, I'd rather mow down an old lady on the streets of Liberty City or rip somebody's spine out in Mortal Kombat, safe in the knowledge that I'm not buying into any kind of jingoistic, morally dubious, rah-rah bullshit.

"What a lot of people don't seem to understand is that the only thing this map has in common with Osama is location. I can see how people would think it is in bad taste, but honestly, if that's your opinion you may as well protest the whole game (as well as many others)", says Fletch. I just think it's so weird how hungry gamers (and modders) are to relive what's going on in the world. To get involved without actually getting involved. It's like the kid that comes home from Wrestlemania, desperate to tombstone his younger brother off the roof.

It all started on Reddit (what doesn't), with a post by user dilloj asking 'Do you think someone will make a cs_abottabad?' Currently, the post has 850 points. And if you're wondering just how quickly it all came together, Fletch started designing fy_abbottabad on May 3 - a day after the big announcement - and completed development three days later, on May 6. He then uploaded a new de_abbottabad version on May 11, with plans for it to "maybe used as a base for a bomb or hostage map at a later stage".

But don't you think it's just weird that there aren't any terrorist video games, reliving September 11 with a maniacal, demon-faced version of George W. Bush sucking oil from a gas pipe? Or some Japanese-designed war game where you get to bomb the evil Americans at Pearl Harbor? It's always the Russians, the Nazis or the Japanese. And the story these games tell is never balanced. It's always good vs. evil, without even a hint of any contradictory behaviour by the 'heroes' or any indication of the reasons behind the evil characters' actions. Just have a look at this leaked trailer for Modern Warfare 3, that features a Russian (who else?) attack on New York Harbor.

Tellingly, one user wrote "To keep with realism, will only one side be armed?" on GamePron's post about the Abottabad map. To which another user replied, "Fuck you".

Click here to download the latest version from Gamebanana.

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