Letter to the Editor

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By James Seals

By James Seals

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” is nothing more than a jingoistic exercise in American supremacy potent enough to get the Old Gipper’s posthumous blood a pumping. As such, the video game serves no greater purpose than to slake the introverted bloodlust of video gamers the world over.

Nowhere is this more prominent than with the game’s airport level where the POV character willingly goes along with the murder of hundreds of innocent men and women to accomplish a pyrrhic victory, culminating in “your” execution.

The comparison drawn by staff writer Adrian Pascua in his Nov. 19 article, “‘Modern Warfare’ too modern for some critics,” to motion pictures featuring so-called protagonists murdering civilians in pursuit of a higher ideal is a false equivalency.

Unlike motion pictures, video games are an active form of entertainment, requiring that a living, breathing human being participate in the murder of simulated non-playable characters. The ethics of this are never discussed in-game. Orders are given, and that’s that.

It is interesting that the article decided to eschew some of the more graphic photographs, like the opening sequence where the cadre of terrorists is met with a dense population of unsuspecting people. The sheer volume of carnage that is on display is disturbing, even gut-wrenching to behold. One has to doubt whether this article would have seemed as persuasive had it been accompanied with the picture of a dead woman in a pool of crimson, twitching her death throes on a staircase.

What’s more, it is also interesting that nowhere does the article mention that an award is given to the player for these actions in the form of achievements and/or trophies depending on the game system.

Yes, the game does give the player an option to “skip it;” however, the award system stands as incomplete until the player makes his/her fateful decision to load up that particular level and proceed to mow down said human population.

This award system is bound to have a negative effect on those people in our society who may suffer from difficulties discerning that which is real and which is not.

While some might argue First Amendment on part of the game developers, I would counter that the freedom of speech does not include freedom from consequences.

There is a higher, moral responsibility that needs to be taken into account when disseminating these concepts into the collective consciousness of our shared cultural lexicon.

At a time when doctors are gunned down as a result of exposure to Fox News’ campaign for a pro-life culture, and little children have the misfortune of being beaten to a pulp for the high crime of being a “ginger,” as consequence of a “South Park” episode, responsibility is paramount when opening a Pandora’s Box.

No one is arguing that the game’s developer, Infinity Ward, does not have the right to do such a thing; just as we critics reserve our right to cast stones.
 

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