Black Ops Activism

Like a lot of gamers out there I’ve been logging my fair share of hours (and kills) in Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops. You know, the game that recently grossed about 650 million the weekend it was released? The game where you join in hours of endless, deadly, pretend combat, in savage team death matches. Yeah, that one.
You can imagine how fascinated I was when I came across the article Moral Relativism in a Black Ops World, and being better humans by Jeffrey MacCormack. The first half of the article read like criticism of the typical players behavior in multiplayer online combat. I think most people would be somewhat shocked by the behavior of some of my in-game compadres. I mean how do you explain to a normal person that your opponent is heaping on generous helpings of humiliation on you by pretending to tea-bag your now bullet riddled body? Kind of hard to wrap your mind around if you don’t play, but the second half of the article is a bit more interesting.
MacCormack suggests that all the attention Call of Duty (CoD) is garnering these days may be co-opted to change the real world for the better. What’s the cause he wants my fellow couch-bound war fighters to tackle? Child soldiers. More specifically, helping to reduce the types of weapons that make child soldiers even possible.
I had never considered that it wouldn’t really be impractical to use a child as a soldier without a weapon that a small person could fire. It turns out that small machine guns (SMGs) are the weapon of choice dictators and warlords use to equip these poor children and they are pretty common in CoD. MacCormack would like CoD players to contact Treyarch support and ask them to remove SMGs from the next version of CoD. An in game embargo won’t change the real world situation but it might draw big media attention to the problem. I would suggest that even a half step might help. Just ban the use of SMGs in the game for a week. I know a lot of players would bitch about that but it would be for a good cause. It might just cause a minor media frenzy. I can visualize Wolf Blitzer covering the story on the Situation Room.
It’s a great article. Read it and if you feel so inclined, take action.

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Black Ops Activism