Are First Person Shooters A Game Or Propaganda (Or Both)… - subsaint Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Are First Person Shooters A Game Or Propaganda (Or Both)…

I've always sort of viewed the happenings in the video game industry a bit different than others. While most tend to look at upcoming releases and all they have to offer, I often notice the little things nobody else is really talking about. And maybe they're not talked about because these aren't really significant issues. But I still think about them.

Most of the recent Call of Duty games have been kind of edgy...some might even say controversial...so much so that in one of the games the developers actually included warnings and an option to skip a questionable scene if players thought they might be uncomfortable experiencing it. I've always appreciated the developers for tackling controversial issues head on by including it in the game rather than ignoring the subject or worse...candy coating the way real life is portrayed in the virtual world. That being said, I can't help but be a little concerned with what might be headed our way in Advanced Warfare.

With nations brought to their knees by a global terrorist attack, the world turns to Atlas, the largest private military company on the planet. Power, though, changes everything.

Whether you're a fan of Call of Duty or not, no doubt you've at least seen some of the coverage being circulated ever since the game was shown off at Gamescom a short time ago. One of the most interesting things I heard about it wasn't the awesome game play, high tech weapons or new game modes. I was more intrigued by the direction the story is taking.

Here is an anonymous quote from some random gamer I found regarding the plot of the single player campaign, with several others echoing this point.

I got the impression that the Kevin Spacey character was representing a corrupted American government. So is this going to portray America as this evil empire? I just found the implications from the trailer with respect to the use of "democracy" as pointing to that type of story.

I didn't really pay attention to the footage and certainly haven't followed up on it much, but from what I've seen and heard in a number of articles, Kevin Spacey is supposed to be this patriotic figure who turns out to the be the bad guy? Or something along those lines.

Maybe that by itself wouldn't be concerning, but nearly in the same breath, I see articles about Battlefield Hardline, like this one.

Gamescom: Shoot Racist Tea Partiers in 'Battlefield Hardline'

In the upcoming first-person shooter Battlefield Hardline, players will shoot and kill racist anti-government Tea Party types, Gadsden flag and all. (Full article here.)

It would seem like the developers are looking to march up to the line of political correctness and crush it under the heels of their boots. Whether this proves to be a big deal or even an issue at all will be determined once the games are released, but after reading the Wikipedia page, clearly I'm not alone in my thinking...

Of course I'll reserve judgment until the games are actually out and I can play them for myself. But I'm still concerned at how gamers and non-gamers might respond to such a sensitive subject. The controversies, especially those associated with past Call of Duty games, have often been about the level of violence, but if what some are saying is true, these games are sporting a political message. If you've been on the Internet for any length of time, there are certain subjects you're usually better off not talking about - religion, race, sexuality...AND politics!

We live in a nation that is divided. You can look at just about any major issue affecting our country today and just about half the country will agree with your perspective and half will oppose you. I've been around long enough to witness years of political division, and I can't recall a time when it has ever been as bad as it is now. Couple that with some of the other major issues going on like those in the Midwest, I'm not so sure we need something that might cause us even more separation. Granted, it's just a video game with a fictitious story. But just like television and movies are often as much about propaganda as they are entertainment, it's only a matter of time before this permeates into the world of video games.

Will Call of Duty Advanced Warfare or Battlefield Hardline be the first to kick off this movement?

I doubt it. Not the first anyway. There are other games that have subtle political messaging in them. But none of them are near as big as these two games or carry as much weight. If I was going to make a political or social statement with a game, I'd want to do it with something like Call of Duty though.

In the end, my concern is these games will try and tackle a sensitive and edgy political issue - and about half of all gamers will agree with the message and the other half will not. And the division the rest of the nation is experiencing will creep into our world too.

I guess pick a side and fight for what you believe in.

Cheers.

 

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