I reguarly surf the various "game" sites-I'm a huge fan of Gamespot, and not just because a friend of mine works there, either. A few others include Gamespy, and 1UP.com, which I reguarly look at and check on. One of the ones that I occasionally glance at is GameTrailers.com, whom have all the neat collected video game trailers that I love looking at. Not a lot of the "pure" Japanese game trailers, sad to say, but I have enough to look at.
While there, I got to look at the newest EA game being developed, Medal Of Honor: Airborne. Watching it is stark, stark...scary and yet...thrilling, all at the same time. I want to play this game...more than I would ever want to play a game set, for example, in Vietnam or the nasty and dirty streets of Fallujah, where you can never quite be sure who the bad guys are. Or praying that shooting the eight-year old kid that picks up the AK-47 and points it your way won't show up on al-Jazeera, without the kid picking up the AK-47.
In the American consiousness, World War II is the last "good" war we had. One where the feelings were unambiguous, and not very revisionist. We barely remember the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 (to be fair-without Googling it, how much do you remember of it?), the Civil War is still fought over and debated about it's merits to this day, World War I is a bare historical memory. Korea and Vietnam and the Gulf War are all nasty little ambiguous wars that really don't have a good history for and to them. Vietnam, especially-which was an absolute and total cluster-fuck from beginning to end. Proving, if anything ever did, that upper managment needs to get a good idea of conditions on the ground, from people that are eating the dogfood, before deciding to do anything.
(That, and it confirms that saving the French, as anything but a side-effect, is never a good idea.)
But World War II was as unambiguous on the surface as it could get. The Japanese attacked us-and did so much damage that we had to respond. The Nazis were as perfect an embodiment of Evil in human flesh as you could get. It seemed as if a new dark age was coming, and the lights were slowly being extinguished in Asia and Europe. It could be-and it did become-effectively a crusade. It was a war that we could fight and win on the basis of morality alone-England, the older brother that we occasionally got into squabbles with, needed our help. France was under the Nazi heel, and the Germans were killing everybody in Russia to make way for their colonists. Japan was an alien foe, totally without honor that subjected our honorably surrendered solders to terrible atrocities.
There is a reason why so many games are set in World War II. And, by the words of game creators, other games are inspired by World War II. There are "good guys" and "bad guys"-the bad guys all wear black and you know which ones you're to shoot and which ones you aren't to shoot. Easy enough, in many ways.
Of course, the war is a lot more complicated (and, half of the problems that caused it can be, once again, laid at the feet of the French), and there's a lot of "dark" even in World War II. Some of it can be justified. Some of it makes sense when you know all the facts. Some of it...can't be. Ever.
Still, it's considered the last "good" war, and fodder for a lot of games, books, and other materials.
And I wish they would choose something else to use as their template for the next, oh, few hundred games...