One of the most popular video game franchises on the planet, Call of Duty, is releasing its latest entry in just under two weeks. The franchise, which originally started as a WWII first-person shooter, has taken many forms throughout its 14-year history. It has focused on WWII, Vietnam, modern warfare and even futuristic warfare. But now, the series will return to its roots: World War II. The choice to return to the Second World War has been met with intense anticipation from the series’ fans and casual gamers alike. However, I wanted to look a bit deeper into what exactly that means for WWII veterans or children of veterans.
Although I do not play video games myself, I am not particularly opposed to them. However, as someone whose father served in World War II, I do have a problem with forms of media that try to capitalize on it. World War II was in incredibly deadly, painful and trying time for millions of people across the world. Millions of good men, women and children were lost during that time, and to see it glamorized by the media makes some feel uncomfortable; and rightfully so.
The main question that needs to be answered is: do these video games help to honor or sully the memory of our fallen soldiers?
The Call of Duty franchise is not the only video game series guilty of popularizing wartime. Video games like Medal of Honor, Battlefield and Sniper Elite are only a handful of titles that put players in the shoes of soldiers on the battlefront. These video games turn gritty, scary and most importantly, deadly, real-life battles into nothing more than a contest of who can shoot more players in the time allotted. This creates and perpetuates a mindset that war is as easy as pointing and shooting; that you have unlimited lives and that there isn’t too much at stake. For the actual soldiers on the battlefield of those very real wars, they had everything at stake.
I’m not calling for an all-out ban on these video games, I am just hoping that our society can take a moment and think about the real-life situations that inspired these events. Think about the men and women who gave their lives for this country.