Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The first casuality in wargame marketing is respect

The big news this week in gaming circles is the release of "Call of Duty: Black Ops", the newest first-person-shooter war game for Xbox and PS3.

Normally, I wouldn't even notice this kind of thing, but along with the release came this ad:

Cute, eh? "There's a soldier in all of us."

Now, I won't get into any blah-blah-blah about violent video games and the downfall of civilization. Nor will I put down a pop subculture that I don't really understand.

Instead, I'd like to ask the marketing department at Treyarch: Did it have to come out this week?

Tomorrow is a day when we are supposed to mourn and honour the war dead, and hope (or pray) that we will never have to fight another big war. In Canada and the Commonwealth, we call it Remebrance Day. In the States, it is Veteran's Day.

Look, I get the appeal of these games, and the opportunities they give people to get a lot of aggression out of their systems. And I don't mind that they're out there. But to launch a massive marketing campaign that characterizes war as fun for everyone, just before we observe our moment of silence for the honoured dead, is simply tasteless and disrespectful. The war dead, the veterans and their family and friends deserve better.

Because this is a time when we should remind ourselves — if even for one minute — that war does not look like this:

It looks like this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

FU, COD...