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Written by Byungsuk Kim
As of right now, there have been a grand total of three Call of Duty games that carry the Modern Warfare name. Why would the International Convention of the Red Cross try to condemn Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern War Trilogy thusly try to convict 600 million gamers for war crimes? Even though Activision tries to be as accurate as possible with their portrayal of war, Activision’s portrayal of war isn’t as accurate as you might think.
The Modern Warfare Trilogy games typically ignore many parts of the rules of war as well as international policies. Players and NPC (None Playable Characters) can, in most parts, act out these crimes and not get punished after doing so. For example, the bombing of religious buildings, museums and historical landmarks are just a few examples of what is protected by the Geneva Convention. The destruction of these buildings would not serve in anyway the overall outcome of a given war and violate the wartime protocols.
The Geneva Convention prohibits the use of chemical or torture of prisoners or executions since they are inhuman ways of death. Soldiers are not allowed to wound an unarmed man. If a person is executions, this prevents that person from a fair trial. These, among others, are all clear violations of inhuman violations laws that Modern Warfare Trilogy ignores.
It’s these form of interactive storytelling where people get concerned about gaming and have so many outcry’s. But charging 600 million people for war crimes on a virtual battlefield isn’t the same as killing real life unarmed civilians. Does reading Tom Clancy book and using your imagination to assassinate the president of Russia means you’re a murder or is it just good story telling? In a court of law, you cannot be charged of murder is a person who doesn’t exist. At best, the Red Cross is just expressing their concern over Activision’s inaccurate of war.
Another example of the media getting up in arms by attacking Mario by stating that “Mario wants you to wear Tanooki fur” is a stretch. For one, at no point in Mario’s career where he skins any animal. In order to obtain the Tanooki suit, Mario must hit a block over his head and touch the Super Leaf to transform into the Tanooki Mario. In fact, its clear message that PETA doesn’t know how to properly target their message and trying to convince people to drop their steak knives for some good old fashion carrots. Mario uses of power-ups are there to better equip himself for the challenges ahead.
Often at times when a mature or child like material are interwoven by a popular IP, these things get blown own out of proportion or are used for their own gain. The media makes their own assumptions on little information and how easy it is to bash any form of media. Generally speaking, these controversies that are brought to the public’s eye, at least when speaking about the gaming community and the news media, are mostly unfounded and speculation at best. Most of the time the news hasn’t even played the game to justify their claim.
A good example of this would be when the news misinforming the public developer, Rockstar Games, released Bully, which got a “Teen” rating (13+), and the news depicted it as Columbine massacre simulator and a Grand Theft Auto of high school but these claims are from people who haven’t played it yet. Bully isn’t any more inappropriate then what you’ll find on TV. This drove the gaming industry to quickly rally and respond accordingly.
Like all mediums, many of these concerns often at times aren’t heavily enforced without great effort. While I understand that controversy and any new medium go hand in hand, its better to educate the public and let the public decided what is okay rather then one single organization to take an issue as a whole.
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source: metro.co.uk, peta.org, wikipedia