The Vietnam War was the longest war ever fought by U.S forces; it was also one of the most controversial, and unpopular wars in U.S history, and the only war that the U.S has lost in its long history as a nation. Vietnam was not a pretty war, and it's because of that, that so many classic films and novels have been made showing the horrors of Vietnam; conscription, booby traps, child soldiers, jungle warfare, guerrilla warfare, attrition, and questionable murder of civilians have all been traits not so fondly remembered from the war, and are traits that are used as leverage to show how horrible not only the Vietnam War was, but also show how horrible war in general is.

     With this plethora of impacting content, you might wonder why no Vietnam games have been made; successfully at least. There are a few games that were renowned for their display of Vietnam, however they remain mostly unheard of, and they are also fairly old, so its easy to say that no game has ever REALLY captured the feel of Vietnam

      I've been thinking for awhile of how one could make a Vietnam War game; and what it would require to be good. I think, in basic, a long campaign, that is not only fun to play; but is emotionally impacting, and connects the player to the characters, and shows all the things that make Vietnam, well, Vietnam. Multiplayer wise, the game should focus on large battles between the U.S and VC/NVA. It also could contain extra goodies like co-op campaigns, and Horde-esque modes, but those would only be extras. Now that I've laid down what I think would be the base of a Vietnam War game, I shall diverge on the details.

                This is the patch of the 1st  Air Cav, a unit that participated in a few of the larger and more iconic battles of the Vietnam war, such as the Battle of Ia Drang (Depicted in We Were Soldiers) and took part in many massive operations such as Operation Pershing, and then Operation Jeb Stuart. Both of these operations were Search and Destroy operations; basically patrolling the jungles, fields, villages, and rice paddies for weeks on end searching out and destroying Viet Cong units and emplacements. As a result of Jeb Stuart, the 1st Air Cav was moved up north to Camp Evans, a base just north of Hue city, in January of 1968. For those of you that are history buffs such as myself, I think you can find it easy as to why this is poor timing. For those of you that aren’t; the Tet Offensive, a massive series of surprise attacks that targeted every major base and city in South Vietnam; started in January of 1968, and it included an attack on Hue city. The 1st Air Cav helped stifle the flow of NVA reinforcements in to Hue, doing their part in one of the bloodiest battles of the war. The unit participated in even more major operations as the war continued; such as Operation Pegasus where they helped break the 72 day siege of Khe Sanh, and Operation Delaware in which they were inserted in to the A Shau valley, a hostile and NVA infested territory which led to lots of casualties. Speaking of casualties; the 1st Air Cav suffered from more casualties then any other division in the Vietnam War, standing testament to the fact that they were involved in a lot of major fighting.

                If this isn’t the PERFECT unit to base a campaign off of in Vietnam, then I don’t know what is. With all the different battles, and casualties; developers could show the main character turn from an average 19 year old kid, in to a battle hardened soldier. Search and Destroy operations, such as the ones they took part in, involved searching through local villages, which could showcase the well-known struggles and trust issues between soldiers and the local populace,the soldiers unable to determine who was a VC sympathizer or not; things could happen there that might be morally questionable to the main character (Think of the village search in Platoon).

                For years developers have avoided the Vietnam War genre for fear of controversy, but after seeing games such as Spec Ops: The Line come out, challenging the morals of war and pushing boundaries like never before, Vietnam seems like it could be a safe place to go with games. Another fear of developers is for making a game which only consists of small scale jungle firefights; but after seeing the list of battles and operations that the 1st Air Cav took part in, I think it is easy to see that it is possible to make a Vietnam game without that happening. As for multiplayer, there were plenty of different battles in Vietnam (Khe Sanh, Hue, Hamburger Hill, Dak To etc.) that could be used to showcase large scale infantry and vehicle warfare. Full environmental destruction would be really cool; and can you imagine how devastating napalm strikes and flamethrowers would be if the game had a full-fledged fire propagation system?


                I and a lot of others are getting tired of modern shooters, and with WWII already tired out, and the future already dominated by series such as Halo, Ghost Recon, and Killzone; where else is there to go? My answer is Vietnam