We’ve barely had time to try and process Friday’s tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut and UK tabloids are up to their usual tricks.
Oh look – one of those hyper-detailed murder simulators that the kids all love…
Rupert Murdoch’s wholly above reproach UK tabloid newspaper The Sun today has a headline story skirting around the idea that Adam Lanza’s rampage is somehow connected to his ‘obsession’ with Activision’s “Call of Duty” FPS franchise.
You know the kind of thing before you read it – no real evidence to speak of, a few splashy pull-quotes and amateur psychology aplenty conspire to deliver the kind of schlock, predictable, cynically hand-wringing story we usually see after a tragedy like Newtown, all the while trying to inspire an emotional, “Won’t Somebody Think About The Children?” type reaction in the kinds of parents who are (whisper it quietly) probably buying “Black Ops 2” as a Christmas present for their kids (if they’re not already playing it themselves).
Did Lanza play “Call of Duty”? Who knows – who cares? He was a young American adult. The bigger story would be that he didn’t play “CoD“, “Battlefield” or “Medal of Honor”.
If he did play video games, why does it automatically follow that he was being somehow desensitized or made more susceptible to violent power fantasies? I’ve played “Call of Duty” instalments in the past and all that I can point to is an increasing lack of desire to engage with that franchise. Am I somehow miraculously unaffected by the otherwise corrupting, pernicious influence of these games? Is it down to my living in a different country without easy access to guns? Am I too old and set in my ways to buy into such shock and awe pyrotechnics?
Just as a matter of curiosity – is the “Call of Duty” game series being raked over the coals by The Sun today any relation to the “Call of Duty” game lauded in breathless prose in a story tied to the launch of “Black Ops 2”? Or in this feature about how ‘SAS hero (TM)’ Andy McNab believes that the game teaches morality to kids? Or is that a different series of blockbuster action FPS titles from Activision, Infinity Ward and Treyarch?
When it’s going to sell copies or connect The Sun in a positive way with a blockbuster, generation-defining pop culture entertainment brand loved by their demographic, the paper will happily get into bed with Activision in a mutually beneficial relationship. When there’s a sliver-thin line of particularly smelly, easy answer bullshit to peddle, that partnership gets swiftly forgotten about in the rush to sell papers or get page impressions.
Hypocrisy? Surely not. Not on Rupert’s watch.
No violence here, eh, Rupes?
It’s a good job that Twentieth Century Fox doesn’t make violent, gun-heavy entertainment isn’t it?
Filed under Blogs, Gaming
Well, that’s Autumn sorted for a lot of gamers – Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 announced • News • Eurogamer.net.
I’m not one of those players – action RPG nerds who play as Rogue Female Elves for the win! – but I fully expect this latest episode of the annual FPS franchise to dominate sales chart and mind share in the games community for the latter part of this year. It’s the go-to shooter for many a gamer and remains seemingly unstoppable at the retail counter, predictable annual controversies notwithstanding…
Expect a proper reveal (and trailer) tonight and more hype when E3 rolls around in the summer.
Filed under Gaming, Geekery
Have you tried talking about your issues, nice man with grenade launcher?
Well, it’s an interesting perspective, at least. Kotaku and Eurogamer today reported on a recent panel discussion at a Geneva Red Cross conference which discussed our beloved shooty-shooty games and the impact that they have on society as a whole.
More specifically, how many times have you run merrily amok through a round of your favourite military FPS game online and given any thought to how your actions mesh with International Human Rights laws?
Yep, thought as much...
I’m being facetious, naturally. To any reasonable mind, these are questions which should be asked about the game worlds which we inhabit, even if it’s only after the fact.
To get us to the point as a games community where we do think about these human rights issues whilst we’re playing games would probably require a game that’s more “Mass Effect” or “Skyrim” than “Medal of Honour”, I would vouchsafe.
Even though most games in the “CoD” franchises are fairly linear, directed experiences which don’t give the player a great deal of wandering room, it still seems to me that an RPG (no pun intended) is a better venue for discussing or depicting the kind of human rights during conflict scenario that the Red Cross panel talk was dealing with.
Let’s be honest – most of the military FPS games that we see are more comfortable operating in the realm of James Bond spy-fi fantasy than they are when being forced to contemplate the real world consequences of the action sequences which are these games’ stock-in-trade. When “CoD” reaches for anything more resonant than congratulating the player on their in-game avatar’s command of a silenced pistol, the previously hidden barrier between game and real life abruptly falls pray to what the youngsters might term ‘epic fail’.
I’m sure that some erstwhile indie dev could bash out something in Unreal Engine which addresses some of the concerns expressed in the Eurogamer piece but it’s not really that hard to imagine that dev teams like Infinity Ward and Danger Close are happier letting the bullets and destructable environments do the talking for them.
Pretty colours looks like ectoplasmz...
I love Freddie W’s YouTube videos. He and his team make fantastic, frequently game-themed videos which show you just what semi-pro film-makers can do with some readily accessible software, cameras and a lot of talent.
Take a look at his newest, “Battlefield 4 trailer” video, for example. Or his “Gamers commute” clip. He’s a real talent and part of the reason that I watch more on-line content these days than traditional telly.
But he’s not alone – I found this “Doctor Who”themed video on Topless Robot this morning which amply illustrates why the Sonic Screwdriver’s multifarious abilities would well and truly break the quasi-realism of most action movies (a slight content warning – if mild gore is not your thing, you might want to avoid the video as it features a somewhat graphic, John Woo-style head shot).
This might help you in a gunfight, but wouldn't the Doctor want to avoid that kind of thing in the first place?