Perhaps I'm being a little overly sensitive in the wake of the tragedy In Connecticut, or maybe I just think this war is getting a little long in the tooth, but I'm starting to wonder if the EA's latest Medal of Honor: Warfighter expansion, Zero Dark Thirty, is a little on the exploitive side.
Now, before I go on, I should mention that I'm not trying to reprimand anyone who is planning to pick up the DLC. I'm merely wondering out loud if we, as a community, should feel good about supporting a piece of entertainment that was made famous entirely because a human being lost his life.
And don't get me wrong, Osama Bin Laden was a terrible person. Some might even say that he deserved exactly what he got. But I'm still a little uneasy about celebrating the death of another human being.
Plus, and perhaps most importantly, this game doesn't even contain a digital representation of Osama Bin Laden or the Abbottabad Compound where he was killed. Supporters will probably say that the lack of Osama negates my entire argument, and perhaps they're right, but I actually feel like the opposite is true. The fact that players don't even get to carry out the marquee mission makes me think that Zero Dark Thirty might miss the point entirely and exists only to make money off of gamers who are already interested Bin Laden's death.
And that's the definition of exploitive.
But, again, maybe I'm being sensitive. The same argument could be leveled against nearly every single World War II title on the market. In fact, the entire Company of Heroes series basically couldn't exist if my complaints were taken seriously.
But there's a little more temporal distance between the Bin Laden mission and the Normandy invasion. And time, as they say, heals all wounds.
I think the core of my concern has more to do with the bloodlust that surrounded his death. When Bin Laden died, thousands of people showed up at Ground Zero and the White House to celebrate, but I couldn't help but feel disappointment that so many people were elated with a person's death. We didn't win any wars that day; we killed a single enemy. A powerful enemy, without a doubt, but certainly not an irreplaceable one. And then we threw confetti in the air like it was Mardi Gras.
Plus, the gaming industry already has a reputation for bloodlust, and the fact that this particular game is tied to a real event that happened in very recent history makes me wonder if we're allowing the lines between reality and virtual reality to become a little too blurry.
Like I said, I don't know how to feel, and maybe that's a good thing. I wouldn't ever actively fight against the release of the Zero Dark Thirty DLC. In fact, I would do the opposite, because I think that freedom of speech trumps nearly every concern I’ve stated here. But it does make me wonder if we're actually becoming as callus as those melodramatic news anchors often presume.
Help me out here. What do you think?
Date: December 20, 2012