Modern Warfare 3: just like DisneyWar
I’m not a gamer. I don’t get excited over new video games, and don’t play them much beyond a few beers and some Wii Fit competition, or maybe the occasional Wii FIFA. But that’s about it. I’ve never played any of the Modern Warfare games, and I do not doubt they are quite enjoyable.
But when I saw the commercial for the new Modern Warfare, starring Jonah Hill and the guy from Avatar, I didn’t like it. I wasn’t sure why. But I didn’t. It wasn’t a big deal; there’s no outrage here, frankly I don’t care enough about video games to be too upset. It just seemed off.
Turns out D.B. Grady, former paratrooper, picked up on this too, and expressed it well.
Because the game crossed the billion dollar sales mark in only 16 days, clearly its marketing strategy is working. But none of that makes it okay, or mitigates its tastelessness. The advertisement trivializes combat and sanitizes war. If this were September 10, 2001, maybe it wouldn’t be quite so bad. Those who are too young to remember Vietnam might indulge in combat fantasies of resting heart rates while rocket-propelled grenades whiz by, and of flinty glares while emptying a magazine into the enemy. But after ten years of constant war, of thousands of amputees and flag-draped coffins, of hundreds of grief-stricken communities, did nobody involved in this commercial raise a hand and say, “You know, this is probably a little crass. Maybe we could just show footage from the game.”
This is not an argument against so-called shooter video games or depictions of war in popular culture. However, as Afghanistan intensifies and we assess the mental and physical damage to veterans of Iraq, is now really the time to sell the country on how much fun the whole enterprise is? (Here I point to the giddy howls of one supposed soldier in the commercial as he fires a grenade launcher at some off-screen combatant. War is great, see? It’s like a gritty Disneyland.)
Read the whole piece. It’s a moving reminder that war is real, and not a video game.