Today is the last Monday in May. That means it’s Memorial Day in the United States. It’s quite a significant occasion. In addition to being the the unofficial start of Summer — and a national holiday — Memorial Day is a time to honor and remember Americans who died in war. When I stopped to reflect about the significant of the day, Guild Wars popped into my head. ArenaNet has made a game about War. Is there an in-game event to mark the significance of the day? I checked the announcement window, but there were no events listed for today. I began to ponder the situation – should there be a Guild Wars event for Memorial day?
ArenaNet usually does something around significant holidays, but today’s announcements were only about the recent account terminations and the War in Kryta. For years I’ve been suggesting to ArenaNet that their game should live up to the name… GUILD WARS! Does that include Memorial Day?
I couldn’t think of a clear answer.
This isn’t like Valentine’s Day. I think it’s quite unusual that ArenaNet skips February 14th, but has events for Christmas/New Year’s Day, Halloween, Easter, Saint Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July and Chinese New Year. There are even some lesser events celebrated. Clearly Guild Wars could use some love and romance…. a nice break from fight… fight… fight. With that in mind, wouldn’t Memorial Day fall under the same logic? If Guild Wars could use love, couldn’t it make room for remembrance and reflection?
Well, one thing Guild Wars does not do is glorify war. The lands of Tyria have been ravaged by battles that seem to go on without end. In the quests there are stories of hardship and grief. It’s not just mindless violence. This is especially true with Ascalon. The game does show the dark side of war and the toll it takes on families. Wouldn’t that make Memorial Day appropriate to Guild Wars? Clearly with Gwen’s (and other Ascalonian) war stories, ArenaNet could cook up an in-game event that fits within the theme.
Yet, Guild Wars is not just an American game. It’s played all over the world. Perhaps other countries might find it insulting. They might wonder about events to honor their nation’s heroes. This could get problematic. Since ArenaNet is busy with the sequel, they simply do not have the resources to add content for all the world’s holidays. They’ve barely released any updates for the last 2-3 years.
However, ArenaNet is an American company. Do they not have a civic duty to teach future generations about their nation’s heritage? Sometimes I wonder if ArenaNet is concerned about that at all. One of my biggest gripes about the sequel is forced religion. I don’t want my characters worshiping the “five gods”. Freedom of religion is pretty important in American life. That’s one of the ideals Americans fought and died for. Why should that ideal be excluded from an American made MMORPG?
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness… in a video game?
I doubt that ArenaNet is made up of some crazy, commie, hippies. I’m not drawing dotted lines to a conspiracy. I don’t think that Guild Wars is a plot by “the lefties” to corrupt our nation’s youth. I just don’t think ArenaNet works that way. I think they’re just enjoying their art… so immersed by it that they forget the outside world. Memorial Day is not a fun holiday. While Americans may spend the day barbecuing, shopping in the mall, or even just sleeping late, the true meaning of Memorial day is more somber. To not upset feelings, it’s easier just to avoid Memorial Day related content.
One other debate point popped into my head… is Guild Wars a game for kids? Perhaps Memorial Day is too serious for them. Maybe the game should just be fictional and fun. I think Guild Wars can be more than that, especially when there are millions of people playing. The reason 100+ people in Bellevue, Washington can live their dream of making video games is because of the soldiers that came before them. Knowing that should make them incredibly patriotic. I’ve also seen patriotism first-hand. It’s beautiful.
Yesterday, I was at Wolfe Pond Park in Staten Island. I was getting pictures of scenery for my next video game. While walking around the main loop, I passed a World War II memorial. Lots of American flags lined the edges of the memorial. It was probably because of the holiday weekend. There were little girls there. I thought they were just playing around the area, but then I saw what was going on. A man was there (probably their dad) and he was explaining to these young children about the significance of the monument. I think he was talking about the Battle of the Bulge. I smiled when I saw that. It seemed like a classy and patriotic thing to do as an American.
Should ArenaNet do the same thing with Guild Wars?
Should there be a Guild Wars event to commemorate Memorial Day?