Call of Duty is another First Person Shooter game which simulates real world conflicts and has currently hit the high mark of popularity. Like many games which have come before it in the same genre, such as the Counter Strike series, the Medal of Honor series, the Delta Force series and more, what sets Call of Duty apart is its’ Multiplayer Mode. A significant number of people who purchase the game do so only for this multiplayer game-play or Zombie mode which is a World War 2 survival mode where the players fight against Nazi Zombies with stereotypical characters such as President Nixon, Fidel Castro, German Scientist, a Russian Drunk, an American Gung Ho Soldier, and a Japanese Soldier. Players seem to rarely if ever touch the main game including all of my siblings and their friends.
While Call of Duty can be commended for its graphical displays and immersive game play, viewing it as a form of New Media by which to judge warfare and conflict in general would be inaccurate. Players who engage in this game are generally more concerned with the entertainment of conflict with others than with making moral choices and coming to conclusions about national policy present and in the past. Players can take on the role of Insurgents as well as NATO forces, which for many is a fact that passes out of mind as a minor detail of game play. Not surprisingly though this game, like many before it, are used as scapegoats for many negative events in the world. For example, this game has been blamed for the recent terrorist attack in Russia just like Counterstrike was blamed for the shooting at Virginia Tech.
The game does a service to players who engage in the main campaign by displaying numerous technologies and locations which are for the most part based in reality. These locations and technologies, coupled with the realistic graphics makes Call of Duty an excellent exposition of what is possible in today’s world. The style of game play in the main campaign does differ from other war simulation games, such as some of the Medal of Honor series, in the fact that in this game you take on the role of a one man army in a theatrical style assault on all comers, whereas many traditional games in this vein tried to stay truer to the accuracy of personal grittiness, possibly at the expense of entertainment value.
What is interesting to note is that in comparison to decades of war movies, war games are viewed with much greater criticism for allegedly causing violence. Attempting to find an article on “Saving Private Ryan blamed for violence…” for instance, yields no results, but when one searches for articles on Counterstrike causing violence, who’s graphics are far from theatrical in comparison, there are more than plenty to read. Is the moral implication that it is perfectly fine to engage in someone else’s imagination of violence but not okay to have the choice yourself?