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So first came the announcement that convicted traitor Oliver North was hired on as a shill for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.  Now, Treyarch Games has revealed that the primary villain of the upcoming title is the "idolized Messiah of the 99%", a mixture of Julian Assange, Che Guevara, and the 99% Movement.

So, from cold-war era communism, the logical progression of Big Bads is Occupy Wall Street?  Seriously, that's what you're going with?

I'm getting the strong impression that Treyarch Games is a few tri-corn hats short of a tea party.

Why is this a big deal?  Well, for starters, the first Black Ops game was the best selling game of all time (although Diablo III may be on track to eclipse it, if the initial sales numbers are any indication).  The audience is huge, and is heavily skewed towards younger and less politically educated people.

Political messaging in video games is kind of difficult to read, in general.  On the one hand, most video games center around violence and warfare.  On the other, many also focus on society building, and "evil corporations" are quite possibly the second most common variety of enemy, behind 'megalomaniacal tyrant/overlord/mad scientist'.  The 'chest-high walls' genre of modern shooters, though, has clear and hyper-conservative messaging.  This is by far the most egregious example I've seen, but brown-skinned enemies, torture porn, and OMG COMMUNISM are near-universal staples of the genre.

I'm not really sure 'what to do' about it, other than use it as a Teachable Moment - it's a great opportunity to explain to some of my less politically aware friends exactly how Oliver North and Saint Ronnie betrayed the nation.  The other thing that helps is spreading the word.  I really doubt that a boycott would be anything other than embarrassing - this game is guaranteed to sell 5 million+ copies - but I won't be complicit.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Friends don't let friends by Call of Duty (17+ / 0-)

    Now, I go back to conquering the world in Europa Universalis.  I'm playing as the Pope, and I just finished the conquest of France.  Excommunication for the win!

    ...I have no idea what the political messaging of that is.

  •  I don't understand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Unit Zero

    who, exactly, is the idolized messiah of the 99%? Surely these fools should know that occupy is leaderless.

    I don't play war porn games anyway, so no great loss for me. I'll take my "lets take turns and smack the fuck out of each other" turn-based playstation 1 era JRPGs over this garbage any day.

    Squidward: The noises! How are you two making those noises?

    Patrick: Well, that's easy. All you need is a box.

    SpongeBob: And...imagi~nation!

    by rexymeteorite on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:51:40 PM PDT

    •  Tekken (0+ / 0-)

      has yet to be bettered. (and you didn't have to take turns).

      •  bah those 3d fighter games (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stevej

        are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay overrated.

        Give me street fighter or mortal kombat and then we'll talk.

        Squidward: The noises! How are you two making those noises?

        Patrick: Well, that's easy. All you need is a box.

        SpongeBob: And...imagi~nation!

        by rexymeteorite on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:00:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ha! (0+ / 0-)

          My favorite current game is Fieldrunners on a Roku so as you may guess I am no expert.

          I used to like the 2D fighter ones as well but nothing beats watching disappearing  bear polygons when the machine can't keep up.

    •  Speaking of jRPGs, I've been playing Persona 4 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Prinny Squad

      That's a pretty amazing game.  Also, one of the few to try to tackle both homosexuality and transgender issues in a respectful manner.  It could have done better with the trans character - he was clearly written by someone who didn't really understand - but it was also clearly a positive and well-intentioned effort, and one of the best portrayals I've seen outside of LGBT media.

      •  Awesome game. Though (Spoilers) - (0+ / 0-)

        I'd have to disagree with the trans character. I think her issue is less having to do with being trans, but more with her own issues with sexism and gender nonconformity.

        In her own words: She didn't really want to be a man, she just wanted to be a tough bad ass detective. And since the classic bad-ass detective was always a male in the older books and all the stuff she was exposed to, she thought she had to become a male to be taken seriously.

        And the police force (at least in Japan for sure, maybe true in USA) is still heavily male dominated, so that didn't help.

        So, in the end, she comes to grips with what she really feels and wants. And notice how she doesn't change for anyone - she still wears the male uniform, doesn't change who she is. She's comfortable with herself without having to pretend to be a man, and fuck what everyone else thinks.

        If she was really trans, the whole focus would have been on her wanting to be a man and her shadow likely would have been an an ultra-"femme" version of herself, symbolizing her own internal struggle with what's expected of her and what she thinks is expected of her, and what she really desires.

        That's what I got out of it.

        Compared to Kanji's situation, in which he is sexually attracted to someone he thinks is a male. The fact that she wasn't kind of muddys wether or not he is gay, though if you finish his personal social link storyline most people seem to infer that he is gay, or at least bi or questioning. He's still really young, after all.

        •  Japan has always been really good (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Prinny Squad, Simplify

          at handling the "gender non-conformity" issue.

          Watch A Vision of Escaflowne, an anime created 20-some years ago. Watch Dilandau's character through out.

          Squidward: The noises! How are you two making those noises?

          Patrick: Well, that's easy. All you need is a box.

          SpongeBob: And...imagi~nation!

          by rexymeteorite on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:45:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Hmm... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Prinny Squad

          Honestly, I can see it both ways.  Certainly, my trans friends very much saw the character as trans.

          I haven't finished the game yet, but I have watched the whole anime.  I was kind of bothered by the part where he was roped into the fashion contest (although I really appreciated the conclusion of that story).  It made him extremely, obviously uncomfortable.  I was also bothered by the way no one asked him before they switched pronouns.  Very rude. >.<

          He exhibits the same uncertainty with pronouns that Kino does, and settles on continuing to use the masculine 'I' even after the rest of the group knows his secret.

          I do know that in the game, there is a set of dialogue choices that resulted in him wearing a female outfit in the final scenes.  Again, that made me a bit uncomfortable.

          •  Re: the female outfit thing (0+ / 0-)

            That occurs if Naoto becomes romantically interested in the main character and you select "I think you'd look cute girlied up" (paraphrasing). Naoto will try on a female school uniform, one time, as a surprise but tells you that she's going back to her normal duds since it's not her style (she's not a fan of skirts), even though it violates school policy.

            Take that, school dress code!

            Video below, obligatory spoiler warning just in case.

  •  took a look at the comments there too (0+ / 0-)

    seems anon has caught wind of this bull.

    I don't think they are gonna like it very much. I am pretty sure anon will do anything in its power to hack this new CoD game when it comes out.

    Squidward: The noises! How are you two making those noises?

    Patrick: Well, that's easy. All you need is a box.

    SpongeBob: And...imagi~nation!

    by rexymeteorite on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:57:42 PM PDT

  •  Still waiting for the snark tag (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW

    This can NOT be fucking serious!

    the primary villain of the upcoming title is the "idolized Messiah of the 99%
    In my mind this is a thinly veiled message to (I don't even want to finish my thought!)

    If this is serious, the people responsible for this game need a visit by the secret service!

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:02:08 PM PDT

    •  read the article (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, Mannie

      I think its serious.

      And they really hired Ollie North to advise for the game. Ugggggggggggggggggggh.

      Squidward: The noises! How are you two making those noises?

      Patrick: Well, that's easy. All you need is a box.

      SpongeBob: And...imagi~nation!

      by rexymeteorite on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:03:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ollie North (6+ / 0-)

        My late father was a career Marine who actually did the sorts of special ops that North only knows from his wet dreams. Dad utterly despised North, and to hear him tell it, so did much of the Corps. North once had a nervous breakdown that involved him running naked around (I think) Quantico waving a gun. He should never have been allowed in the same time zone as the President, much less work in the White House. North obviously had a patron somewhere who arranged the WH post. The way my Dad heard it, North was allowed to carry his service records with him from the Pentagon to the WH. Somewhere along the way all mention of North's psychotic break disappeared from his file. My father was stunned by this incident - a Marine was never ever allowed to be alone with his records. You could review them at any time on request, but always with someone else in the room with you. Once assigned to the WH, North immediately stopped wearing his uniform and wore a suit instead. That act was the source of my father's hatred. Marines are very proud of the Corps, yet North acted as if he was ashamed of his uniform. As we all recall, when Iran - Contra blew up and North was summoned to testify at Congressional hearings, he showed up in the uniform he disdained and posed as a hero whose patriotism was being questioned by his inferiors.  If you want a second opinion on North from a genuine warrior and hero, Google "David Hackworth" and "Oliver North."    

  •  relax, nobody plays the single player campaign (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, sviscusi

    Call of Duty is all about Multiplayer

    so long and thanks for all the fish

    by Anton Bursch on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:17:08 PM PDT

    •  Every newB with any sense plays through the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn

      campaign before trying to master multiplayer.

      Thinking the "food stamp challenge" teaches you about being poor is like thinking a camping trip will give you insight into being homeless.

      by JesseCW on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:31:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  who the hell is a newb at a fps game? (0+ / 0-)

        some 60 year old who isn't going to be influenced by what some stupid video game has to say about ANYTHING.

        i make video games.  i am well aware of the influence they have on society.  they don't make kids go on shooting sprees at school and they don't influence anyone's world view.

        you guys need to give other people some fucking credit for being able to think for themselves.  

        so long and thanks for all the fish

        by Anton Bursch on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:08:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wail away on the strawman, Bursch. (0+ / 0-)

          Of course games don't make anyone go on shooting sprees.

          To think they never influence anyones worldview is just profoundly fucking stupid though.  You might as well claim that music, books, and film never influence anyones worldview.

          Thinking the "food stamp challenge" teaches you about being poor is like thinking a camping trip will give you insight into being homeless.

          by JesseCW on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 02:23:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  wtf? video games are toys. not art. (0+ / 1-)
            Recommended by:
            Hidden by:
            Kalil

            they are play time.  they do not influence people's worldviews anymore than playing scrabble.  

            do you play video games, jesse?  do they influence your world view?  are you sure that you aren't brain washed by video games right now?  do you feel like voting for Romney when you play Halo?  do you want to nuke Iran when you play Civilization?

            you guys have jumped the fucking shark on this one.  not to mention you sound like Sarah Palin.  maybe you can go to a book burning with Sarah and toss some Call of Duty on the bon fire.

            this is America.  if you want to control what people are exposed to then go live in fucking Iran or China.  leave people in America free to think whatever the fuck they want to think without you trying to control them.

            so long and thanks for all the fish

            by Anton Bursch on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 03:37:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  this shit is just getting ridiculous (0+ / 0-)

              you know what... i don't care what you guys say or do anymore.  there's no discussion.  just preaching.  i'm done with it.  you all just don't hurt people and i don't care about anything else.  enjoy your club.

              so long and thanks for all the fish

              by Anton Bursch on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 04:52:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Where the hell did that come from? (0+ / 0-)

                Seriously.  Not constructive.  I haven't seen a single person here advocate for any kind of censorship.

                Do video games influence my worldview?  Sure they do - I've made close friends in Diablo II, I've learned about economics from World of Warcraft (mostly, why it utterly fails), I've played with detente in GalCiv, I sat back and thought really hard about the implications of the ending of Tales of Phantasia, where you discover that the villain was trying to save the entire population of his planet (at the expense of a fair chunk of your own), and that you just stopped him.

                Reducing video games down to their gameplay is like reducing a painting down to its paint.  You're missing the picture.  And in the same way that one can say "that book is propaganda", without advocating for censorship, one can say "that game is propaganda".  Of course, CoD:BO2 isn't out yet, but the signs are fairly disturbing.  Any big-ticket movie that was openly touting an endorsement by Bill O'Reilly and negatively portraying liberal movements would probably prompt some eyerolling and concern here.  Why should games be treated differently?

  •  Next CoD mission: Exterminate the Jews. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify

    Get extra points for torturing puppies and burning insolent females at the stake.

    "I'm going to rub your faces in things you try to avoid." - Muad'Dib

    by Troubadour on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:25:18 PM PDT

  •  cowadoodie intellectual sophistication (0+ / 0-)

    is geared toward 14 year old's mentality.

    Besides, it will never meet the greatness or subtlety that is found in BF:BC2, Killzone or Robotron:2084

    And anyway, I'll never play it because of my PS3's YLOD.

    "Hey Joe Walsh, when did you stop deadbeating your wife?"

    by wretchedhive on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:48:18 PM PDT

  •  I happen to know for a fact (0+ / 0-)

    that just about all cod players are Paulbots.  I know this from my son.   And poster above was right about Ollie boy..He was less than heroic.  He was and is an opportunist IMO suffering from some serious issues.
    My husband could not STAND Oliver North.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:09:01 PM PDT

    •  this is why I troll (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vetwife

      I have to admit that I like to get on some of these games on the weekends and troll the everloving snot out of Paulbots. They are so easy to upset, and even easier to make quit in a huff of rage and misogynistic, homophobic, bigoted rants as they do it.

  •  What, no hippie-killing mode? (0+ / 0-)

    I was hoping we'd get to time-travel back to Woodstock to empty M-16's into all those secret hemp-laden communists.

    I think this particular twist is pretty much right up CoD's target demographic's alley.

    •  .....I can picture it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MGross

      "Your mission, soldier, is to prevent the nazi-communist uprising from seizing the white house and apple pie by firing the first shot at Kent State."

      .....

      Someone call Activision.  We've got a blockbuster for sure.

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