‘Militainment’: Virtual War Games and Social Reality | Press Releases | DW | 16.04.2009
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Press Releases

‘Militainment’: Virtual War Games and Social Reality

International experts to discuss “Conflict Prevention in the Multimedia Age” at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum from June 3-5, 2009 in Bonn.


While many see multimedia journalism moving more and more towards “infotainment”, the term “militainment” has to do with the fusion of the arms industry and the entertainment industry. These developments will be discussed at this year’s Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum from June 3-5 in Bonn, in a workshop entitled “Pleasure, Ideology and Algorithm: The Rise of the Military Entertainment Complex”. The expert running the workshop is Peter Mantello, Professor of New Media at the Center for Advanced Media Arts Studies at the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan.

The latest killing sprees have triggered clear warnings for experts. The millions of people who play virtual war games and stealth games like Metal Gear, Delta Force and Counterstrike not only experience an entertaining boost of adrenaline – they are also being significantly conditioned for social interaction. “Videogames today are often based on historic or current conflicts and therefore influence their reception and assessment,“ writes Vit Šisler, Founder and Editor in Chief of the research project “Digital Islam”.

Now, more than ever, cultural identity and the visual representation of enemies have become integral components of the videogame world. Mantello looks at games like Under Ash, which is a Palestinian-made, first-person shooter game which starts with an opening scene of the Hebron massacre by the Jewish Baruch Goldstein. The videogame was created as a response to the way in which Arabs are negatively portrayed in the majority of military themed video games being produced. Another example is America's Army, which has become the most successful recruiting tool the U.S. Army has ever produced.

Kuma Games has specialized in representing real conflicts from recent history in its videogames. Mantello says that by embedding real film material and by using military expertise for its popular combat simulations, Kuma Games has blurred the borders between videogames and interactive journalism.

Peter Mantello is a Canadian photographer and film maker who studied and taught at the leading film school in Canada, Concordia University. The globetrotter has visited more than 40 countries and has been awarded several international prizes and grants.

The second Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum will focus on “Conflict Prevention in the Multimedia Age”. Along with the 50 individual events, 800 participants from around the world are expected. Co-host of the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum is the Foundation for International Dialogue of the Sparkasse in Bonn. The convention is also supported by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, the government of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city of Bonn, DHL, The Economist, Intermedia, KD Deutsche Rheinschifffahrt AG and the dpa group companies news aktuell and picture alliance.

Christoph Jumpelt

Christoph Jumpelt

Head of Corporate Communications and Spokesperson

T. +49.228.429-2041