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
arrive. An epic and impressive fight, supported at times by soundtracks-like
music. But what is the historical value of such a video game?
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.
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:
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.