So once again games come under fire for their content. Only this time it’s not Jack Thompson remember him Neither is it Fox…… well okay it is Fox, but not the Fox News we all love. Who can forget their in-depth analysis of Mass Effect
“SE”XBOX? do you see what they did there… Clever fuckers.
No. The latest comments are from Defence Secretary Liam Fox. I have no idea if his comments were made on passing, teased from him by some news hungry press or if they were carefully chosen contemplative words from a man genuinely disturbed by the games content. My cautious nature leans more towards the former. I would hope; that as defence secretary he has better things to do with his time than comment on a yet to be released video game. Regardless of which it was, I can bet that he regrets saying anything now.
When this story first reared its head I found myself caught between both camps. Like a pendulum my initial reaction swung to and thro. I was caught between defending my long time love of games and agreeing that this new iteration of MoH is callous and distasteful.
I asked myself critically. What sort of hypocrite can happily dress in digital Nazi clothes while gunning down allied forces, but find wearing the latest Taliban apparel distasteful? I’ve killed more Nazi’s than I care to imagine and whilst in the opposing team I’ve done the same. Dispatching endless allied forces as they struggled to capture my flag. “Nicht heute American” I’d quip after headshotting some hapless noob.
Then the pendulum swings.
I came to realise that I am not as affected by these other games because they were not my wars. They had been fought long before even my parents were born. The moral implications of my Nazi genocide didn’t mean much to me because I was not there to witness firsthand the brutality of that war. I do not doubt that If I was, I would find every digital swastika deeply offensive. This war is current, It’s happening right now and however you view the actual war itself you would have to agree that it is pretty immoral to create entertainment indeed “Shits n giggles” from that strife.
Here comes pendulum again.
The caveat to my stance of the game being immoral is this. IF the game were to be made in such a way that it was to portray the war from both sides in an accurate manner. The indiscriminate bombings, the incredibly poor support and equipment, the rampant murder, fear and oppression that haunts the people of Afghanistan. If they were to package that as an experience I would hold that pendulum firmly stopping it from swinging back. Because while I do not agree with videogames being created immorally for shits n giggles I do believe in experiencing an objective story. To witness and interact with a carefully constructed satire or introspective look at the war through a characters eyes. Those are things that would have me standing proud over my love of games.
Unfortunately this is the real world and its EA that will be heralding the release of this game. So there will be no careful handling of the subject there will only be the usual set pieces and soulless kills all to the thunderous tune of “The Western World Fuck Yeah” If you thought having those distasteful quotes popping up on your screen while playing Modern Warfare was distracting. Just wait until you are blowing apart the Taliban and US NATO forces with one liners from Tony Blair and George Bush ringing in your ears.
All of this is redundant of course. The game will sell a trillion copies and will be loved by the masses and hated by those that hate the masses. The whole time EA will sit upon their pile of gold laughing maniacally as they await the next inevitable war and new franchise…
I can only hope that New Zealand pisses off Wales or something. Lets see them market that.