From: Vienna, Austria
dr.hal, thanks for this interesting topic! Such threads are always a great read.
For me the answer whether a wargame (and for this purpose I would include every related game from 3d shooter to highly abstracted strategy games)
is morally questionable simply lies within the game itself, and how it treats ethical and moral aspects of war and society.
WitP is IMHO one of the easiest to rule out as morally questionable. It does not judge. It it is too abstracted to be able to show atrocities of war besides raw
numbers, and so is never in danger to judge morally. It is not political, it does not deal with complete social entities, and the impact war has on those.
It simply creates a logistical and strategic challenge by setting up hexfields on a historical frame.
Games like HOIII, which are still highly abstracted, but which force the player to sociopolitical decisions based on historical alternatives are already
slightly more in danger of being morally questionable. (does not happen in HOI and I know the example is rather extreme, but just to show what I am referring to:
"should I build concentration camps, and if yes, what are the benefits?")
Similar rules apply to games which are not abstracted high level wargames but close combat simulations, where the brutality shown in my opinion is no problem,
but at the moment the brutality shown is related to a a positive context it gets morally questionable.
So to sum it up, in my opinion the answer depends on how the game itself treats historical events in a moral context.
Is it biased? Does it raise moral questions by itself and provides subjective answers? If it does, I would say it is morally questionable, independent of where the bias
WitP is fare away from danger to fall within that category...
< Message edited by LoBaron -- 11/10/2012 9:38:38 AM >