We have this:

Blackwater is an intense, cinematic shooter experience unlike anything you’ve ever played before. Lead a team of Blackwater Operators protecting a fictional North African town, battling dangerous warlords and fighting back two opposing militia forces. Using the motion-sensing Kinect controller players can do everything from moving their character to aiming and firing a weapon as you work your way through pressure-filled missions.

I actually have a problem with all video games based on wars of which all the veterans are not yet dead. A quick explanation: I grew up in a family of hunters, which means being around a lot of guys who owned guns and knew how to use them. But they weren’t Gun Guys, the types of morons who end up on the news because they got tipsy and waved their handguns around and wound up shooting themselves in the testicles. My siblings and I weren’t allowed, as children, to touch the guns, or even know where they were kept. And not only did we not play with toy soldiers, we were cuffed upside the head for even thinking “war” was a game anybody should play.

War, we were told, was not a game. War was not amusement. War was something people lived through, only when they had no other choice, and making light of it in any way was obscene.

So war games turn my stomach anyway. We’re so young, as a culture, really. We think World War II was a million years ago. We barely even know about World War I anymore. That people were alive that lived these things is impossible to us, never mind that people are still being dug, in pieces, out of the ground they fought upon. How can the war be a game, when the war isn’t over for them?

But now comes Erik Prince, making a game out of wars that we haven’t even stopped fighting yet. People like this make me want to believe in the fiery, literal, Biblical hell of my childhood, just so that when I’m down there mixing drinks for Richard Nixon or whatever, I can look over and see this Erik Prince asshole unclogging the john. Scraping vomit off the walls. Spreading kitty litter over the pools of blood.


Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel is a 10-year veteran of the newspaper business. She publishes First Draft, a writing and politics blog, with her partners Holden, Jude and Scout. She is the author of the books Chicago's Historic Irish Pubs (2011, Arcadia Publishing, with Mike Danahey) and It Doesn’t End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal, about a great liberal journalism institution (2007, Heritage Books). She also edited the anthology “Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith and the Faulty Intelligence That Led to War” (2005, William, James & Co.) Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Daily Southtown, Sirens Magazine, and Alternet. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two ferrets, and approximately 60 tons of books.