Tag Archives: Modern Warfare 3

The shooter’s lament…

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.

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Stunning news! Keith Vaz hates games!

Oh Keith, when will you learn?

It’s a development so stunning that nobody could have seen it coming – Labour MP Keith Vaz  is quite worried about the impact of violent video games (so, he’s okay with “Myst” and “Ilomilo” then?).

This time around, he’s concerned about the impact of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” and in particular the levels set in London, as they echo the events of 7 July 2005 (my word, it’s almost as though Infinity Ward are drawing from real life or something).

In a story picked up by Eurogamer, Vaz cites evidence of  “an increasing link” between the content of violent video games and a subsequent effect on games players and wants the British Board of Film Classification to more carefully consider their certification decisions before allowing games like “MW3” into the wild.

A couple of points, if I may.

If anybody was going to be negatively impacted by the impact of a prolonged exposure to depictions of violence in media, one could reasonably expect that the BBFC are amongst the first people who are going to have problems.  Why is it that censors and politicians remain utterly unaffected by their exposure to the likes of “MW3” (rated 18) and “The Human Centipede” (rated 18 after a lot of cuts) and can be trusted to walk the streets, whereas the likes of you and me are going to become gibbering, perverse serial criminals if we so much as look at the options screen on a first person shooter?

How, pray tell, does that distinction come to pass?

It stands to reason that there isn’t a direct causal link between what people do in video games, enjoy watching in films or find compelling in novels because the crime statistics don’t for one minute back up Vaz’s current assertions or any of the previous quote-friendly politicians or interest groups who have sought to further restrict our access to aspects of popular culture that they don’t agree with.

If everybody in the UK directly exposed to “MW3” were driven to commit acts of violence due to exposure to the game,  our under-staffed and over-stretched polices forces up and down the land might reasonably expect to keep a couple of million people under surveillance after the annual release of a “Call of Duty” title.

In a stunning development, the Police force don’t appear to be tagging and tracing anybody with a PS3 and a yearning to play Team Deathmatch online.   Curiouser and curiouser.

A politician like Vaz is, let’s face facts, somebody who loves to align themselves to issues like this – his public profile exists largely because he complains about the negative effects of pop culture on the young and he and his ilk desperately needs the oxygen of publicity to be invited on TV news shows and to be interviewed by newspapers.  It might be argued that his press releases are the IRL equivalent of forum trolling and every bit as insubstantial in their ultimate impact.

Keith Vaz, meet your ideal fictional constituent. Shame she's fictional and dead...

The big ugly secret that most gamers are somehow privy to and which the media, concerned parents and outraged parents are somehow not aware of is that kids have to get the likes of “Modern Warfare 3” or “Saints Row The Third” from somewhere, if they are indeed playing them.

Most kids, last time that I checked, don’t have regular paying work which allows them to drop £44.99 on a console title each week.  Most kids don’t have credit or debit cards either, so that precludes them ordering from Amazon or Play.com. Assuming that little Dane and Jade are refraining from using Teh L33t Torrentz to get their gaming fix on, that logically tells us that parents may be the evil Nazi scum pushing computer game filth to their offspring.

News flash – some parents play games, too, Keith.  They may make a decision that their kids are mature enough to handle the content in a video game.  They may be crappy parents, but the buck stops with them.   If they care as much as they claim to do about their kids, they can lock out consoles and place age bars on content that they feel is unsuitable for their offspring.  The tools are there – the kind of people who complain loudly in public about violence in video games are the kind of lazy, responsibility-shirking dullards who have no business having children in the first place.

An age rating is there for a reason – it’s about time that parents actually started parenting and using the tools, warning systems and content advisories that have been put in place because of their incessant bitching and whining.

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Charlie Brooker 4, Modern Warfare 3

Fun fact. Charlie Brooker actually looks like this in real life...

Erstwhile screenwriter, telly face and gaming curmudgeon Charlie Brooker is at it again. And as usual, he’s got a ruddy good point.

You might remember him from his various BBC series – “How TV Ruined Your Life”, “Newswipe” and his one-off special, “Gameswipe”, or in his capacity as the creator of Channel Four’s ace reality telly/zombie mash-up, “Dead Set”. He’s also one of the few Guardian columnists whose byline I actively seek in the paper, chiefly as he never loses a chance to integrate games and gaming into the papers’ general arts conversation.

His latest column tackles “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” intelligently and asks a simple question that has probably occurred to most games players at one time or another:

Why am I playing this game, when the protagonist is such a weapons-grade tool?“.

Yes, he's got a mohican haircut. In the Military FPS genre, this passes for characterisation...

So often in games, movies and novels set in this genre, we’re asked to accept at face value that we should identify with characters whose sole notable feature is an ability to field-strip an assault rifle blindfolded and to p spout inane, frat-boy one-liners largely inspired by the killing of enemy combatants, the inevitable, imminent slaughter of said enemy combatants or the destructive force of the military hardware which will be used to wipe enemy combatants from the very face of the planet.

It’s all a bit dull, really – and it’s where I can’t get excited by the “Battlefield” and “Call of Duty” games. I don’t want to be these guys, so the idea of slogging through a five-to-six hour campaign in the company of people who’ve read too many Jack Ryan novels and taken them far too seriously isn’t exactly my mug of Senseo.

I’m not saying that all game protagonists must henceforth be replaced by variations on this guy:

The bard of self-deprecating urbane whimsy

But wouldn’t it be more interesting to play one of these games with a protagonist who isn’t built like a brick outbuilding and whose sole interaction with the world is to pepper it with bullets, knife slashes and tactical nukes?

I realise the irony of saying this given my preference for the bald-headed, space marine genre of third-person action games but there again, I don’t want to be those characters, either.

If games are supposed to be offering me wish-fulfilment and an escape from the pressures of the real world, they’re doing a bang-up job on the second point and a piss-poor job on the first part.

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“Modern Warfare 3” sets sales records

Making sales and taking names...

The early sales are being counted and in an entirely stunning development, foreseen by absolutely nobody whomsoever, Activision and Infinity Ward’s FPS juggernaut “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” has sold quite a few copies.

Six million or so, worldwide, to be exact, indicating that the “Modern Warfare” brand is good for at least one million more sales than the “Call of Duty” marque on its own, depending on which website you look at and if you care a jot.

More of the same, but if it ain't broke...

Sales are one thing – anybody sentient knows that this thing is going to be big – but reviews and initial reception are quite another.  The reviews embargo broke earlier today and the likes of Games Central, OXM UK, Joystiq and even movie magazine Empire giving the game very positive reviews – at this point, it would appear, the people at Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games might just have an idea or two about how to make these games and make them huge sellers.  The Metacritic is at a sterling 90 out 100 on Xbox 360 as I write this, fact fans.

With the five-hour campaign being the only aspect of these games that I generally get into – having myself multi-player murderized consistently by garrulous pre-teen racists on Xbox Live has never been my idea of an evening well spent – this is sounding like a solid rental to me, but I’m only too aware that is many gamers highlight of the year.  If you’ve picked it up and made your way through the game, feel free to leave a comment and let me know how you enjoyed it – is it really as good as the reviews would have us believe?

For a final word on the game as it releases into the wild, why not take a gander at what Penny Arcade’s Tycho has to say?

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“Modern Warfare 3” best UK prices

It's the biggest game in the world - and it's out tomorrow...

If you haven’t pre-ordered the game – or fancy chancing your arm for a last-minute, sweet deal – Hot UK Deals forum has a thread tracking the best UK prices for “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3”.


The best deal at the minute appears to be Best Buy – it’s £29.99 for Tuesday only and £34.99 thereafter.  I’ll believe the first price when I see it with my own eyes but I can’t find anything better.

Leave me a comment if you find anything better and I’ll update this post accordingly.


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Oh, Hi there, “Modern Warfare 3” launch trailer…

"MW3" - A veritable license to print money...

Some posts just write themselves.  Activision have released the launch trailer for “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” and Joystiq have it for your perusal here.


Mrs Rolling Eyeballs just viewed it with me and promptly gave it the finger – she’s not a fan of the hyper-violent, uber-patriotic, neo-con action game you’ll be stunned to learn – and I’m not really that into it, either.  It does look like more of the same, certainly in terms of the campaign trailer.  Still, when you sell a gazillion copies each time that you release a new game, why fix what’s very clearly working well for a big audience?

Seriously, Activision, would it kill you to include unicorns with rainbow-shooting RPG mounts in the next one? Wither innovation…



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Battlefield 3 – HD Xbox 360 video

Over at Eurogamer, DICE/EA have video of “Battlefield 3” running on Xbox 360.

Oscar Mike! Foot hostiles! Tango & Cash! Random nouns and verbs!

Yes, it’s not quite as bananas as it looks to be on PC.  Yes, it is still looking quite amazing.

It’s hard not to see how this would find its way into the home of any gamer also looking forward to “Modern Warfare 3” this Autumn.

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