When I first saw the TV commercial for Call of Duty: Black Ops, I must admit that I raised an eyebrow. Not that I was offended (in fact, it's quite amusing), but the potential to offend or at least be viewed as a tasteless cheapening of real-life combat was very high. Predictably, somebody's already taken the bait, with a columnist in particular finding himself unable to distinguish fiction from reality.
“I couldn’t have asked for a more disappointing game-related ad," moans Atlantic columnist Sam Machkovech. "These aren’t the video games I play. Even at their highest levels of action and violence, video games play like sophisticated games of Cops & Robbers. They’re silly; they require colorful, funny-shaped controllers; they stay decidedly in the domain of detached fiction.
"This ad equips people with real guns and simulates real-life, no-CGI combat. The thud of recoil, the screams of rockets, the dust of explosions … and the look of exasperation on that little, shotgun-wielding girl. The only things missing are the dead bodies on the receiving ends of each bullet and blast.”
Of course, the point of the ad is to say how the multiplayer figuratively arms normal, everyday people with the ability to shoot each other to death ... all in a virtual sense. Well done Sam, for justifying the stereotype that Americans take everything literally and have no ability to read between the lines.
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