I love first-person shooters such as BioShock, Halo 3, and the Half-Life series. But shooting aliens, cyborgs, or demons is one thing. Shooting at people who look like you, and who curse at you in your mother tongue, in a game that is supposed to reenact an actual war that happened in your lifetime that tore apart your country and your people and your family, is quite another. I actually found that out the hard way when I started renting Vietnam War–themed video games for the purpose of writing this essay. Honestly, as a Vietnamese refugee child of a 10-year Southern Vietnamese soldier, it was not a video game genre that I really wanted to explore. But at the time I started on this project, there were no fewer than a dozen Vietnam-themed games on the shelves or in production, and as grotesque and perverse as the idea was to me, I started to play them.
Phi, Thien-bao Thuc. 2009. Game over: Asian Americans and video game representation. In “Games as Transformative Works,” edited by Rebecca Carlson, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 2. https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2009.084.