Guardian Gaming Night: video games, the military and morality

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Event date(s): 
09/04/2015 - 19:00 to 10/04/2015 - 18:45

Military shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield sell in their millions, dominating the charts and presenting a very particular view of war and how it is fought. Fans call it escapist entertainment, but with armies recruiting directly from gamer communities, and drone warfare becoming ever more automated and game-like, how long can developers absolve themselves of sociopolitical responsibility? Is it still OK to play at being soldiers in games that barely register the complex realities of the conflicts they represent? And what can more fantastical shooters like Halo, Destiny and Evolve tell us about the meaning of violence as interactive entertainment?

To discuss this issue, Guardian games editor Keith Stuart will be joined by:

  • Dr Felix Ciuta, University College London:  lecturer and expert in geopolitics, the military and mass culture
  • Kyle Grayson, Newcastle university: lecturer and researcher who has written on drones, the "playstation mentality" and on the military in popular culture
  • Marcus Schulzke, Leeds University: currently researching the militarisation of video games and social media
  • Simon Parkin: a journalist who has investigated the relationship between arms manufacturers and military video game developers
  • Ed Stern, Splash Damage: a game narrative designer who has worked on several first-person shooters including Brink and the forthcoming Dirty Bomb
  • Tim Browne, ex-Codemasters: a designer on the acclaimed Operation Flashpoint series of military strategy shooters
  • Alexis Trust: eSports expert and community manager, ex-British Army

The evening is organised in partnership with University College London.

Running time: 90 minute discussion.  No interval.

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