Thursday, January 31, 2008

Call of Duty 4

Me and Leah, bored and very poor--traded in a few video games. I was going to get the new BURNOUT game...but that's proved VERY hard to come by. So I waited a few days and checked back at the game store where I had $45 in credit...and no luck. I got the other game I've been itching to play--CALL OF DUTY 4.

The CALL OF DUTY games are a bit like a Michael Bay movie--very shallow action/thrill rides that rely heavily on pre-scripted events (example: every time you play the same bridge blows up (in the exact same way)). In general, I'm pretty much against games with lots of pre-scripted events. I don't mind the story (I realize that HAS to be scripted) but part of what makes games like HALO great, is that for the most part the action is loose and varies each time I play it. There are scripted events, but they're few and far between.

I got CALL OF DUTY 2 with my XBOX 360--and it was great. As an ex-history major, there was just something about taking part in the Normandy landing that was just too irresistible to pass up. Shooting Nazi-assholes is fun, too (honestly, I have more remorse shooting mindless zombie/aliens in HALO). And I guess that's where CALL OF DUTY 4 differs. Unlike the other three games, this one takes (in the Middle East). I'm not gunning down Hitler's's a bit more complicated. The new technologies are both awesome (bunker busters) and terrifying (you witness/nearly survive a nuclear explosion--that's right halfway through the game your solider character dies!). But what are good are new toys if I have to wade through all this...shades of gray-political shit?

I realize that CALL OF DUTY 4 is barely a "simulation" of fighting a modern war in the Middle East. Honestly, I hope to never find out what that feels like. What CALL OF DUTY does allow me, a civilian, to see is how futile/complicated/chaotic/uncivilized a full-out modern conflict can be. It's too bad that most kids that play this game will only see the bloodshed and think "cool." Or even worse, "killin' A-rabs is fun!" For me, games like CALL OF DUTY are warning signs: "Don't go seriously won't like it." I think that's the game designer's intent...after all, every time you die you're treated to a (very thought provoking) quote disparaging war.

It's a good game, but I have to admit it's not as much fun as the ones set in WWII. I think Bart Simpson said it best when he said: "Contrary to what you've just seen, war is neither glamorous nor fun. There are no winners, only losers. There are no good wars, with the following exceptions: The American Revolution, World War II, and the Star Wars Trilogy."

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