11.11.09 8 years ago 23 Comments

We realize that this is the second post for the latest Call of Duty video game in as many days, but I’ve just read a spoiler report in the game that about blew my damn mind. So much so that I’m jumping the post for the benefit of those who haven’t played it yet, or just don’t want to hear about it. But there is video.

There’s a scene in the game that’s getting a lot of controversial press, and I’ll explain why. The scene, referred to as “No Russian” or simply “The Airport Scene” takes place in Zakhaev International Airport in Moscow. As I understand it, you’re undercover with a handful of Russian mercenaries who walk toward the security checkpoint in an airport with scores of people waiting in line…and basically shoot everyone in sight. Here’s video of that sequence in the game, and to say that it’s pretty graphic might be the understatement of the year. The insanity begins at the 1:50 mark.

“No Russian” makes the coffee scene from “Grand Theft Auto” look like a Saturday morning cartoon. And even people that aren’t outraged over it are wondering if the scene is “immoral,” you know, compared to being a Russian terrorist and just bombing stuff from afar.

War is a filthy, violent business in which all notion of morality must be suspended if victory is to be certain. Games and films that depict war should be no less brutal.

In my gaming life I have dropped a nuclear bomb on Korea, led a squadron of bombers over the Rhineland and even destroyed a huge ring-shaped future world with millions of inhabitants. The games in question were all rated 15 and excited no great national debate. Because the killing of non-combatants in these games was all at arm’s length it was seen as more acceptable. –Michael Moran, Times Online (UK).

This is where I would make some grand statement about how censorship is bad and that all the mothers that might be trying to get this game banned need to lighten up. But really, these games are so popular because they seem so damn real. As we recognize people that fought in actual wars for America today, I’m somewhat bothered that games this might be the closest thing that we’ll ever get to what our veterans endured. And I want to know what that’s like. I want to appreciate what they went through, and sometimes gratuitous Xbox violence is the closest that we can get. Should society be curbing the ugliness of a game like this…should a society created by people that have had to endure that sort of ugliness turn such a blind eye? I don’t know. But I think it merits a discussion, and hopefully we can put the controllers down at some point and have one.

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