Actually I won’t go into too many details when it comes to a public display of my Political attitude. This time I will make an exception because it is indeed relevant for this article. Call me moderately left with a strong libertarian influence. I like Greenpeace and Amnesty International even though I think military force can and should be used at a certain point (which was Afghanistan but wasn’t Iraq). I like Obama and dislike Bush. You know what I mean: I am you.
Definitely I am not a big Gamer. I used to play on the PC for quite some time but I realized it’s eating away too much of my time with my girlfriend, my buddies and of the hours I like to spend running. Sounds alright? Yes it does. Anyway, about 3 months ago I bought a Nintendo Wii. It wasn’t really expensive costing me about 200€ for quite a lot of fun. Plus, as a marketing guy, I really like Nintendo’s strategy which integrates families, kids, grannies and me…you know, the nice console for nice people.
Then came November 10th 2009
And I am shocked of myself. By now I felt terrible when I thought about people running around in virtual worlds killing people. I know many Gamers do that. I know that ego shooters are a hobby for millions of people on this planet. But not for me. I did not only feel a certain disgust when I thought about the vulgar display of firepower in these Games. I also thought that people who spend their time aiming, firing, aiming, firing seem to have some kind of problem. Thought? I hope I still think so. Because today “Call of Duty. Modern Warfare 2” came out. And…I want it. The game is the most realistic piece of kick-ass action on the planet nowadays. It holds 96% reviews for the XBOX and the PS3 version when it comes to Game fun. And when I say Game fun, I mean we pushed the ethical borders once more… In case you haven’t seen it – this is the notorious Airport scene in which you witness the bad guys killing innocents…dozens of innocents. And yes, you have seen this level before: In Beslan or Mumbai.
But that’s not all
I am interested to find out why my disgust of scenes like this obviously isn’t strong enough to make me turn away from “Modern Warfare 2“. In fact, I only have a rough impression of what a soldier’s life might be. But still I feel disgust when I think of crisps-munching Europeans or North Americans simulating the terror and destruction soldiers as well as civilians have to face all over the world right in this moment. It may be entertainment. But should we accept it as entertainment? I don’t think so. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. By the way…if you killed enough enemies you will even be able to launch a nuclear tipped missile – can it get any sicker?
To quote Ben from Arstechnica:
Am I glad I played the game? Yes. Can I see myself replaying it? Maybe not. It’s satisfying to step into the shoes of people who are so uncompromising, and the game is brilliant at creating the feeling of moral vacuum, but it’s not exactly a feeling that’s comfortable, or even fun. During many scenes, I found myself simply emptying clips into houses, knowing there could be innocents inside. Why not?
Why does this game make me want it to play? Answer: I am a boy. I used to play Cowboys and Indians and I still like it. It’s in my genes. And Modern Warfare is the perfect toy for boys. You don’t need to think about complex marketing (many people definitely did). Just make a pure, working product and even the biggest sceptics will want to buy it if it hits their sweet spot.
I never wanted to find myself in a situation in which thousands of soldiers worldwide find themselves. But the adrenaline combined with the option to simply turn out the XBOX and get back to dinner again makes me want to play it. I really don’t like the feeling, but I am happy to ‘only’ possess a WII (which cannot stage Modern Warfare 2 right now), which takes me back to Zelda and Tennis. Oh happy day! Your leftist conscience was saved by a console not performant enough for Modern Warfare 2. But maybe…Modern Warfare 3 would be a solution? We’ll see,