Archive Maintainer : Please place in /graphics.
Advanced engine needed : None
Title : Geneva Convention-compliant medikits
Filename : geneva.wad
Release date : 2016-08-07
Author : id; uploaded by Simon Howard (fraggle)
Email Address : [redacted]
Other Files By Author : greenfish.wad
Description : This WAD replaces the Doom medikits with medikits
from the BFG Edition release of Doom that are
compliant with the Geneva Conventions.
* Discussion *
The Geneva Conventions are a series of international treaties signed by
most countries which establish international law for humanitarian treatment
during times of war. One detail of these conventions is the establishment
of the red cross as a common symbol for neutrality on the battlefield;
along with the red crescent, red crystal and red lion and sun, the symbol
is used to identify non-combatants such as battlefield medics who should
never be targeted for attacks.
Because of the importance of these symbols as symbols of neutrality, most
countries have laws restricting the use of them to members of the
International Committee of the Red Cross and related societies. Using these
symbols without permission can be a crime; see Title 18, subsection 706 of
the US federal code, the Geneva Conventions Act in the UK, and the Canadian
Trade-marks act (section "prohibited symbols") for examples.
Many games, including Doom, have historically used the red cross on in-game
powerups items to indicate that the item provides a health boost. Often
this is inaccurate since real life health kits do not usually use a red
cross; ISO 7010 E003 defines a white cross on a green background as the
symbol for health. In 2006 the Canadian Red Cross began to actively
campaign against the misuse of the red cross symbol in video games:
The 2012 release of Doom 3: BFG Edition included a re-relase of the classic
Doom games, with the medikits changed to replace the red cross with a red
and white pill symbol. This WAD contains these modified sprites so that
they can be used independently with any version of Doom by anyone who so
* FAQ *
The appearance of the pill sprites in the BFG Edition IWADs caused a lot of
confusion, and in some cases even anger! This is an attempt to respond to
some common questions and misconceptions about the sprites.
Q1. How can the red cross claim copyright or a trademark over such a
simple, abstract symbol?
A1. The red cross symbol is not a copyright or a trademark; it is actually
explicitly protected by international law (the Geneva Conventions).
This is reflected by individual laws in many countries. If you used a
trademark (eg. Coca-Cola logo) without permission you could be sued; in
the case of the red cross, in many countries you could actually face
criminal sanctions. See the laws cited in the discussion section above.
Q2. This sucks - the red cross is a symbol of healing and a pill isn't!
A2. That's not actually true. Firstly, the red cross is a symbol of
neutrality, not healing - it is also used by battlefield chaplains
for example. Secondly, the standard (ie. ISO 7010) symbol for healing
used on real life medikits is a white cross on a green background,
not the red cross. So the red cross used on the original medikit
sprites is not even accurate or correct.
Q3. Plenty of other games use the red cross. The red cross is a standard
symbol of healing in video games and this should continue.
A3. Lot of other games do use the red cross, but many other games are now
making efforts to eliminate usage of it. For example, the 2010 iPhone
re-release of Wolfenstein 3D replaced the red cross with a heart
instead. The red cross is a pretty important symbol in terms of
international law and deserves to be protected.
Video games have traditionally used all kinds of symbols to indicate
health - hearts, the letter "H", soda cans and turkey meals, to just
name a few. The idea that the red cross has some special importance is
pretty silly. If it's really essential, the white cross on a green
background can still easily be used for the same result.
Q4. You're some kind of medikit symbol nazi! Why are you telling me to
replace my medikit sprites?
A4. First of all, Nazi Germany was actually a signatory to the Geneva
Conventions, so if you don't respect the red cross symbol, in some
sense you're actually worse than the Nazis.
But I'm not actually telling you to do anything. Nobody is forcing you
to download and use this PWAD file. I mostly just find it interesting
that the BFG Edition of Doom changed the medikit sprites, so thought it
would be a nice idea to release a PWAD with the changed sprites so that
people can see for themslves what the fuss is about if they don't own
the BFG Edition. It was also an opportunity to include some discussion
of the change along with this FAQ.
Q5. The original berserk pack has a red cross but it is on a black
background instead of a white one. Was this still illegal, and if not
why have you replaced it?
A5. It may indeed have been okay for the berserk pack. The US law
protecting the red cross symbol (US code title 18 subsection 706)
references "the Greek red cross on a white ground" as the symbol that
is protected. I'm not sure if this is the case in all countries though.
Regardless, the BFG Edition replaced the red cross on the berserk pack
too so I included the modified sprite here, and it's nice to be
consistent between power-ups.
Q6. Why is this such a big deal? It's just a stupid cross. It's only a few
pixels on a sprite.
A6. Why indeed? Respecting the red cross symbol is the right thing to do.
For some reason a lot of people seem very upset about how id changed
the medikit sprites in the BFG Edition re-release. As you said, it's
only a few pixels and really a rather inconsequential change to do the
Q7. Isn't this "censorship"?
A7. I don't think so, and I think complaining it is is pretty silly.
Although the red cross is not a trademark (see Q1 above), you can make
an analogy between the red cross and a trademark; it would be silly to
think that game developers are being "censored" because they can't use
the McDonalds or Coca-Cola symbols in their games without permission,
for example. id made this choice of their own volition to comply with
international law; as far as I know, no game developers have ever faced
actual prosecution or lawsuits for using the red cross symbol. Even if
you still believe this is somehow "censorship", it's still probably not
a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.
Q8. Couldn't you have replaced this with (different colored cross,
something else instead of a pill) instead?
A8. Yes, but this is what appears in the BFG Edition.
Q9. I found this WAD but I was actually searching for WADs which violate
the Geneva Conventions. Can you help?
A9. Apart from the obvious answer of "the original doom.wad or doom2.wad",
you might want to check out redcres.wad (in /graphics in the idgames
archive), which changes the medikits to use the Red Crescent symbol
used in middle eastern countries.
Q10. I am for some reason fascinated by this entire subject. Where can I read
more about it?
A10. An introduction, from Wikipedia:
The ICRC's pages on the red cross symbol:
Red Cross of Canada: "It may just be a game to you but, it means the
world to us":
Past discussions within the Doom community:
* What is included *
New levels : None
Sounds : No
Music : No
Graphics : Yes
Dehacked/BEX Patch : No
Demos : No
Other : No
Other files required : None
* Play Information *
Game : Doom
Single Player : Designed for
Cooperative 2-4 Player : Designed for
Deathmatch 2-4 Player : Designed for
Other game styles : None
Difficulty Settings : N/A
* Construction *
Base : Exported from BFG edition IWADs
May Not Run With : Vanilla Doom, because of the limitations on loading
sprites from PWAD files; you'll need to import it
into the IWAD using deutex or something similar.
Tested With : Chocolate Doom
* Copyright / Permissions *
I claim no copyright over this WAD since I didn't make the sprites. Any
copyright I do hold I release to the public domain.
* Where to get the file that this text file describes *
The Usual: ftp://archives.gamers.org/pub/idgames/ and mirrors