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an unfair war

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An interesting bit of machanime via boingboing today:

An Unfair War is a moving 5 minute short film made using the video game The Sims 2. It’s an anti-war short, in the form of a monologue by a writer in a city that’s being demolished by foreign “liberators” who are bombing it to hell. It’s his farewell to the world, and while the action doesn’t move very fast, the animation is surprisingly emotive. Link

It’s not that there aren’t problems with the film. A bit cliché, yes, and why does the guy need candles when his desktop boots?

But what is interesting, following up on this post, is the very idea of using the Sims 2 in order to make a point about the relationship between “ordinary” life and violence.

The Sims has alternately been read as either a game with enthusiastically embraces mindless commodity culture or one that contains a subtle critique of it. You wander around your house, head off to work for blindly invisible hours, only to get back to “real life” which consists of making dinner with your kitchen toys and watching tv. Sometimes, there’s a member of the opposite (or same, I suppose) sex around to flirt or argue with. Eventually – and I owned the first edition, so this is something that I’ve experienced – the whole affair because so tedious and empty that you stop playing the damn game. *

But here, that banality – the hermetically sealed room (is there a door), the old fashioned looking pc, the candles, and the crib – the reduction of life to a set of consumer objects marks the obverse not of some mode of lived authenticity, but of the war itself, the gunshots and bombs and fighter jets whose sounds seem to be borrowed from another sort of game – from war simulations, first-person shooters, and the like.

In short, while this movie is not perfect, it remains deeply suggestive – hints even at the critical resistance that might well lie dormant in the ad without products described by Agamben and cited above in my banner…

* I understand that there are those who don’t stop, and that Maxis has released an online version and modules that are more interesting than “making dinner at home,” but the basic point holds, I think…

Written by adswithoutproducts

June 20, 2006 at 12:13 am

Posted in everyday

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