This last weekend a commercial for Modern Warfare 2 was shown during a football game. The commercial showed US soldiers and Terrorist running in slow mo action scenes, and people aren’t happy. Not so much because of the mature content, as no people are shown as being killed, but in the imagery. What caused such a response was a war-torn Washington DC on Christian Science Monitor.
The main argument in the article against the game is because this image is “one of the first times such striking imagery has surfaced since 9/11, when the idea of widespread destruction on US soil was suddenly thrust into reality.” The article mentions that this isn’t the first time in recent memory that Washington DC has been destroyed, making mention of the 1997 Roland Emmerich film Independence Day, which features Aliens laying waste to the American Capital, but largely dismisses the comparison
What the article fails to touch on is that there has been a time prior to the commercial where Washington DC has become a battle ground. Bethesda Softworks’ 2008 post-apocalyptic FPS/RPG Fallout 3 takes place almost entirely in a Washington DC devastated by nuclear warfare, with many of the famous monuments being sites one can visit and fight in. The reason for this oversight is obvious, it wasn’t advertised on TV during a football game. Matter of fact, I don’t think the game was really advertised on TV at all, heavy Washington DC imagery or not.
This is neither here nor there, as the the article focuses on if this general usage of the US capital under attack goes too far after 9/11. As usual, the answer is simply that Video games are the easiest target. Movies, TV shows, books and music have all touched on this subject or similar ones before. Last week’s episode of Fringe focused on ex-US soldiers being turned into human bombs in DC metro stations. Perhaps not as powerful but still an act of terrorism in DC on Television that is overlooked.
The fear of violent video games desensitizing children has made video games an easy target. An anticipated sequel to a popular game like Modern Warfare 2 presents itself as an easy forum for argument. I can only wonder if this will spread much like the Mass Effect sex-scene controversy.