October 8, 2009

Is Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Too Realistic?

Above is the trailer for the upcoming video game "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2," which is without a doubt the most anticipated video game of 2009. The first game "Modern Warfare" has sold over 12 million copies and the sequel which comes out in a month is already in the top ten best selling games on Amazon. So when this new trailer for the game premiered on Monday Night Football, game developer Infinity Ward and publisher Activision expected the hype to continue, yet with the Washington D.C. in flames imagery, there has been a small backlash against the game.

It started with an article in the Christian Science Monitor that stated that the trailer, with battles raging in front of The White House and the Washington Monument charred and damaged could offend Americans in the post 9/11 world. I believe that this is a legitimate concern, in fact I'm glad someone is starting the conversation. The games feature bloody combat in real world locations with villains that while fictional look a very familar. Each detail in the game from the real life weapons, bullet ricocheting sound design, and stunning graphics combine for a wild user controlled war experience.

With the war in Afghanistan back in the headlines (I don't know why it left), and the death toll rising, I feel uncomfortable that our nations conflicts will soon become virtually controlled by millions of gamers from the ages of 8 and up. The issue I take with the new trailer is not with the Washington in flames look (I've seen it before), but rather with the ultra-realistic war simulation that Call of Duty is selling. And while the war on terror in media is not new (god knows I love 24), the concept of actively controlling it with no coffins or consequence is, and more importantly potentially dangerous in the way it can numb us to the horrors of war.

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