3/4 White, 1/4 Bald Eagle

You’d think that in this day and age that people would have figured out that video games are not an accurate reflection of real life. The fact that they’re marketed purely as a form of entertainment (well, except that Wii-Fit nonsense defeating the whole point of video games…sitting down and pushing buttons) should be obvious enough. The keyword there is SHOULD. Now that more and more people are gaming by the day via both PC and consoles, the influence of video games on our daily lives has almost become pretty ubiquitous . Of course, totally not being a supergeek, I’ve been guilty of this too. I cannot even begin to think about the childhood I spent catching all original 150 Pokemon or that summer that I spent fighting Alduin…and doing pretty much everything else in Skyrim. However, in my recent readings, I’ve picked up on one particular genre of game that some find as a bit of light hearted fun and what others see as a major threat to society as we know it…and by others I mean China.

The genre I speak of are these “realistic” modern first-person shooters. For years now, these games have been a standard for console gaming, more often than not just for fully grown men and 11 year old children to log on to the Playstation Network/Xbox Live and call each other “n00bs,” “fags” and insult each others mothers, case in point:

Peter Griffin’s cackhandedness aside, modern shooters really are just…well…pretty awful as far as stories are concerned. Call of Duty and Battlefield are prominent culprits in this modern warfare witchunt, as they seem to revolve around plonking you in the middle of nowhere and telling you to, as Yahztee Croshaw put it:

 “Shoot all the brown people talking foreign” – Yahztee Croshaw, Medal Of Honour: Warfighter (what a fucking stupid name)

However, as simplistic and in some ways stereotypical that the stories are, I do appreciate that some people just play these games for the sake of simplicity. RPGs and Action/Adventure games aren’t for everyone. As my uncle said once, “I just like to come home and shoot things after a long day at work.” Fair enough, I feel the same some days. Just replace “shoot things” with “slay dragons.”

This is why I’m trying to understand the need to ban certain video games. I know that Mortal Kombat was banned in a few countries for being too violent, despite being a fighting game (it’s funny how that works isn’t it?). My latest gripe however comes from China’s recent attempt at the banning of Battlefield 4 due to some controversial downloadable content. The recently released “China Rising” expansion pack, which is set in mainland China and essentially portrays mutiny within the Chinese military and follows a figure who’s central goal is to overthrow the government. China’s Ministry of Culture has spoken out against the download and by extension the game itself, stating that it “endangers national security” going as far as to ban physical copies of the game. However, China are not totally wrong in this argument, as highlighted by Abdul Siddiqui. The download includes some pretty (you guessed it) stereotypical content, portraying the Chinese as warmongers and “demonising China in a new form of cultural aggression.” How you ask? well:

“For years we have built their toys, their shoes, even their flags, enduring their condecension and biding our time. For now [America] will now our greatness” – Admiral Chang, Battlefield 4: China Rising

I of course think that it’s a bit ridiculous to think that a video game could spark a nationwide revolution, but then again I do have a bit too much faith in humanity. Whether China do go ahead and ban the game altogether, well, we’ll just have to wait and see. In seeing the development of shooters into what they are today, we’ve got to realise that they are by no means to be taken seriously, especially through their story modes, more often than not the most ridiculous parts of the game. People play them for the same reasons that people would play FIFA or Assassin’s Creed or Street Fighter, for entertainment. Now this by no means makes these new takes on shooters “good games”. The stories are kind of reaching a point of such negatively enforced jingoistic  development that could result in…well, tell ‘em Yahtzee:

 “Maybe next year we can look forward to a game in which we stop all terrorism in the world by releasing a deadly virus that targets people that aren’t three-quarters white and one-quarter bald eagle.” – Yahtzee Croshaw, Zero Punctuation

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 19.40.58

Til Next Time

Tris Out


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