I love paintball. Let me get that out of the way first.
But sometimes I wonder why I like it? When I ask people at the paintball field what they like about the game they usually just shrug and say, “I don’t know, it’s fun.” Or “It’s cool ’cause it’s like a video game but real life!” The truth of both of those comments, and the huge popularity of first-person perspective war/shooter games like the Call of Duty franchise, is a bit disconcerting. I was thinking the other day about what our great-grandfathers would think of this “game”? What would those who have actually seen war, actually felt the whir of bullets whizzing past their ears, felt the overwhelming feeling sense of dread and tension think of a bunch of (largely) young men running around replicating this terrible experience? Is it a death wish? Are we somehow seeking that almost drug-like feeling of exhilaration that one can only get from a situation as tense as war? Some paintball fields even organize special war-scenario games full of fake bombed out buildings, strategic troop placements and HUGE war-like teams. What makes the young people of this generation (myself fully and wholeheartedly included) want to simulate war? Would our great grandfathers not find this search for a war-high ugly and disingenuous? Should we not be embarrassed to even be simulating tragic events that actually cost people their lives, and cost others innumerable pain?
It’s the same argument that many had about a new video game that was scheduled to come out that featured the assault on Fallujah. Is a game that features a real-life event where many people were killed really doing a service to the dead when it features rejuvenating health and other non-life-life situations? What right do we have….?