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Controversial Level in Call of Duty Essay

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As an avid video game enthusiast it is always fascinating to witness the gaming world evolve as modern technology seems to continually outpace expectations of what can be reproduced in a virtual medium. Gone are the days when a fraction of the entertainment world included lazily playing pong or pac-man on a cumbersome arcade console. Today, with the technological boom, the video game industry has evolved to include a plethora of gaming genres, bent on maximizing entertainment and profit. However, despite such exponential growth, this particular form of entertainment has remained in the shadow of traditional forms of amusement, such as television broadcasting or the movie industry. Yet, with the release of the game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the once targeted hobby of many was thrust into the national spot-light; garnering new-found attention that temporarily consumed the news media.
This attention wasn’t focused on the growth of the video gaming industry or the plot of the game, which includes battling malevolent Russians on numerous fronts, but on a controversial level within the game called ‘No Russian’. The level, in which the player is tasked to remain covert in a Russian terrorist cell as they massacre an airport, has been hailed as inappropriate and violent (Stirling). Subsequently, the game’s makers faced numerous recall allegations and had to modify the game with the warning: “The following mission may be disturbing or offensive to some players. You may skip this mission at any time in the pause menu…” Despite the numerous criticisms that materialized, the controversy surrounding the level is, frankly, overblown. The integral part of the game exposes players to the thought provoking reality of modern society. Add...


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...ntroversy is overblown. If you find that the level is offensive, you don’t have to play the game. In an industry that’s success depends on making games realistic, can you blame Infinity Ward for drawing upon real world terrors, albeit exaggeratedly? That being said, all video games glamorize war, but Call of Duty’s attempt at gravity sticks out because, at least in terms of the ‘No Russian Level’, it takes violence more seriously. The subtle ways it does this, as illuminated in the aforementioned arguments, makes the game significant. Thus, the existence of the ‘No Russian’ level and the controversy that surrounds it is inflated. People who choose to play the game should be less focused on the controversy and more interested about how Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 “innovates not as much in its gameplay as in how it manipulates the emotions of players” (Schiesel).



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