Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Games Without Frontiers: Wars Without Tears (PG)

Unity at Ministry of Truth takes a gruelling journey through Sham Cam's Flim Flam. Games Without Frontiers, Wars Without Tears ... we couldn't help ourselves humming along in the Biko Building Coffee Bar as the alien invaders were - for a time - vanquished.

But they kept coming as each layer of arithmetic was calculated there'd be another level ... until finally, well, I'd have to kill you if I told you that.

Your correspondent specialised in Pacman and held a long term top score in the coffee bar. Never did me any harm ... chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp.

The nostalgic can play Space Invaders online here and Pacman right here.

Of course the alert will have seen mosaic's invading the space also.

This one is in Manchester's bohemian Northern Quarter where our glorious council and local meejah caught on around 2004.

It seems to me that this huffing and puffing is not a bad line for a council to take.

If guerilla marketing through flyposting, graffiti, mosaics and stickers is universally permitted or even generally encouraged it loses all its edge after all. More on which another time perhaps.

Le grand-pere of the SI school of street mosaic is said to be Invader who began his battle in 1998 and has been welcomed with more or less open arms in dozens of cities worldwide.

I could not be certain when the first of these appeared in Manchester but around 1998 (if not 1997!) would be my guess. It's viral after all.

While Dave-id Cameron is just grasping at populist straw-polls there is something of a problem in the USA with young men being enticed into body bags with high-adrenaline war gaming.

The USAAF offer a choice of meat hooks to hang yourself on.

There's the cold war Wings Over Europe: Cold War gone Hot - coyly or bullishly, LOL not sure, rebranded 'Wings Over Europe: Soviet Invasion' for the European market. In 2005.

The follow up to 2004's Wings Over Vietnam which speaks for itself. (2004) For the nostalgia seat of the pants brigade there's First Eagles: The Great War 1918 (1914 through 1917 don't count (2006).

Each of these cost about one quarter of a million dollars to produce. But the USA army showed them fly boys with $5.5 millon for America's Army and this has led to various fascinating spin offs (see link). THe US Navy blew all comers out of the water with a $80 million budget though this did also pay for some other PR and stuff.

In contrast to the high octane arcade and simulation games the kids get to play is the reverent minute of patriotism and honour that is the advert for parents (above). This has the payoff: "America's air force - no one comes close". An ironic allusion to the blue-on-blue situation I'll be bound.

The realist war game recruitment genre is Militainment by the way.

Not to be confused with the after dinner speaking and radio presenting chores of come back kid Derek Hatton.

PARENTAL GUIDANCE: Please note that parents wishing their children to play the nice man's battle games should ensure that they are seven years or older. Bit nasty in places. But no sex. There's a war on.

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