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Domodedovo and Modern Warfare 2

January 25, 2011

Reports from several different sources about Russian TV linking the  “No Russian” level in MW2 and the Domodedovo tragedy have understandably irritated me. Here is my response to the video, which you can see here. It was first posted as a comment on Gamespot.

First of all, to the Russian fallen: Memory Eternal!

Secondly, the reporter weakens her own case by trying to add more evidence. The game itself is to blame, but then perhaps it could also be just watching clips of the game on YouTube. If the big fear of video games is that they can train people to kill by immersing them into the playable roles of killers–certainly suggested here–then the YouTube hedge discounts that perspective entirely in favor of yet another passive video violence outcry.

Finally, there is a major problem here with chronology and causal logic. The reporter claims that COD “mirrors” this tragedy, and one tagline (at 2:18) reads “Virtual Version of Domodedovo Nightmare Under Criticism.” In order to mirror something or be a version of something, that something needs to have already existed or to have already happened. So, which is the actual concern – CoD causing the bombing or being a distasteful “mirror” of it? The news crew wants to have it both ways, for maximum upsetting effect.

What bothers me is that people who don’t listen or read critically will take from this nonsense the same false “lesson” they took away from Columbine’s Doom scare.

I was pretty heated when I first wrote this, and I wasn’t alone. If you check around online, you’ll see just how defensive some gamers can be. That’s not always a bad thing, either, because even though I’ve always thought the segment from MW2 was absurd and inappropriate, this news broadcast isn’t much better.

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From → Overkill

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