In March of 2015 Argentinian video game developer Diego Wasser uploaded to Youtube a video from a game he had in development. Developers and artists do this all the time, looking for feedback.
Creators like Wasser certainly never expect their work will cause the kind of international tension that makes some relive the anxieties of the Cold War.
That's what happened, though, as the New York Post reports:
On Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry shared what it called “irrefutable” evidence that the US was aiding ISIS fighters in the Middle East. On Twitter, part of its case was a screen shot from a video Wasser published on YouTube in 2015 as he worked on what he hoped would be a career-making breakthrough: a war simulator called “AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.”
In a rare example of the internet doing the right thing, social media users rapidly figured out the tweet was a goof. Russian officials took down the original post and replaced it with one using different images.
"The Ministry of Defense of Russia," read the second tweet, "publishes indisputable confirmation that the United States provides cover for combat-capable [ISIS] units for use in advancing American interests in the Middle East."
The Ministry's attitude about the original tweet with the game footage was basically "shit happens."
US officials took advantage of the goof. A spokesman for the US task force fighting ISIS said the claim was about as on-target as Russia's anti-ISIS air campaign, which has made some notable mistakes costing civilian lives.
The American Embassy in Moscow—naturally—responded with a tweet of their own.
As for Diego Wasser, he has never finished AC-130, but he hopes its sudden notoriety will help him toward that goal as he struggles to make money in Buenos Aires as a translator.
Wasser took the incident in stride, his description of how he learned what was happening a pretty good indicator of his sense of humor about the whole thing. "Here is a regular guy sipping chocolate milk in his underwear," he reportedly said, "that suddenly finds himself in the middle of an international conflict between two military superpowers halfway across the world."
That is, admittedly, a pretty hilarious way to learn your video has pushed the world a little closer to the brink of war.
h/t New York Post