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Battle of Normandy video games

 

Since 2002, a series of video games dedicated to the conflict of the Second World War have been developed alongside the new wave of war movies that began in 1998 with "Saving Private Ryan". The success of such games to younger generations was immediate. Soon, they are at the top of bestsellers. How can be explained this phenomenon? What is the point of these games and their relationship with historical events? DVD et VHS sur le Jour J Le Jour le plus Long - The longest Day Il faut sauver le soldat Ryan - Saving Private Ryan Band of Brothers - Frères d'Armes


First steps

If there are hundreds of video games on the Second World War today, it is only in 2002 that a game about the history and the Normandy Landing was created. In fact, on 14 February 2002 was introduced a now legendary video game: Medal of Honor: Allied landing. The player follows a script describing the landing on the beaches of Normandy, precisely on Omaha Beach. Thereafter, some additional missions are proposed to the player who discover Normandy during the summer of 1944. The success of this game is huge and many developers decide to continue working in this direction.

On June 6, 2003, to celebrate the 59th anniversary of the Normandy Landings, the game Day of Defeat is available. This is a mod of the famous "Counterstrike" (one of the most popular games on the planet), the players compete on the Internet or on a network and choose their camp: terrorist or counter terrorist. The Day of Defeat mod is introducing a new interface: the Second World War, and players choose this time between the Allied camp and the Axis. They fight on maps, some of which recall the events of the Battle of Normandy (Omaha Beach) and Normandy towns (including Caen). Day of Defeat also allows more experienced players to create their own map and you can find maps on the Internet called "Pointe du Hoc", "Pegasus Bridge" or "Utah Beach".

The number of video games on the Second World War is growing rapidly, offering various scenarios on most fronts. But on a regular basis, the Battle of Normandy is seen as an event of choice, popular with young players. Thanks to new technology developments and users demands, these games become more realistic, either from a historical point of view or even in the simulation of combat, as if the creators did not simply want to propose to "play the landing," but actually to "relive the landing." For example, the video game "Call of Duty", which recounts the capture of Pegasus Bridge and the assault on the Brécourt battery south of Utah Beach. Most of the major historical events are recreated: the mission "Pegasus Bridge" from "Call of Duty" insert the player in one of the three gliders that reaches the Pegasus Bridge, in the early hours of June 6, 1944. He has to attack and to capture the German defenses, and to protect all the accesses to the bridge, until the landed troops arrive. An epic and impressive fight, supported at times by soundtracks-like music. But what is the historical value of such a video game?

History

In March 2005, the game Brothers in Arms is created. It pushes back all the limits of historical games, the user uses an interface inspired by the movie Band of Brothers. The scenario is based almost entirely on the true story of a company of the U.S. 101st Airborne division, parachuted over the Cotentin on the night of June 5 to 6, 1944. This game allows you to be part of a section of twenty soldiers of this company throughout the Normandy campaign, carrying out tasks actually performed by young American paratroopers. In Brothers in Arms, the historic environment is realist.

  The great strength of recent historical games is to provide a realistic film events. Designers now want to respect history perfectly, and are directly inspired by real events and by interviews with veterans and helped by military experts. Moreover, modern satellite imagery allow developers to reproduce on computer a real landscape, for example Normandy. This work goes in parallel with the creation in image streets, fields and houses, compared with pictures of the period: the mission "Pegasus Bridge" of the game Call of Duty is the most perfect example: details of the bridge are surprisingly realistic.

If the first game of the Normandy Landings (including Medal of Honor: Allied landing) are simplified accommodations of this historic event, advances in video programming allow developers to add more details in their scripts or their characters. The global success of the film Saving Private Ryan is undoubtedly due to the historical realism of the fight scenes.

Designers have identified this need of the new generation, and their games are full of historical details that give to their products a sense of documentary. And if it is clear that a game has nothing to do with reality, many young people seek in "war simulations" means to revive what their elders have lived during those dark periods. Une simulation du débarquement en quelque sorte, de la même manière que l'armée américaine met gratuitement à la disposition de ses soldats un jeu vidéo de simulation de combat moderne, America's Army, qui doit permettre de maintenir à jour des réflexes appris à l'entraînement. A simulation of the Normandy landing in a way. It is not only fiction: America's Army video game, freely available on the internet, is a simulation of modern combat used by American soldiers for their traing. Its role is to maintain reflexes learned during training.

It is not impossible that a historical video game can be used as a documentary or as a history book. Being immersed in an exciting world for many young and less young, like the Second World War, can encourage users to enrich their knowledge about these events.

More and more people come together in "clans" and compete on the Internet with these games. On their websites, clans are links to some historical sites like this one, which demonstrates their desire to have fun while learning, and learning while having fun. That is why the developers of video games should now put in their boxes a historical book or a historical DVD made with the help of historians and veterans, what could show precisely the difference between fiction and reality.

Because of technological advances computer programs will soon allow people to relive D-Day on TV. It seems necessary to mark today a clear separation between fiction and reality. The worst thing in history is to rewrite it and make people believe this new version.

 

Marc Laurenceau

 
 
 
 
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