Tom Chick over at Fidgit presents a compelling case that Modern Warfare 2’s terrorism level is “unnecessary, cheap, and disgusting.”


  1. The problem is his entire argument consists of two sentences:

    But this is just flat-out mercenary shock value, trawling for comments from guys like me on blogs and the sort of publicity that partly made Grand Theft Auto what it is today. It is unnecessary, cheap, and disgusting.

    He has this interesting article that goes on for paragraphs describing his experience of the controversial section of the game. That’s all well and good and, as I said, interesting. However, none of it works to support his argument. He describes this game that sounds entirely fascinating to me (it takes a lot to make a war FPS sound at all intriguing to me, the genre having been done pretty much to death over the last decade) and then out of nowhere he tacks on: “But this is just flat-out mercenary shock value.”

    Now that right there could have been a powerful introduction to his argument. He spends all this time introducing what sounds like a worthwhile entrant into gaming history and yanks the rug out by saying that Despite everything I’ve just said, the game has no value for the player and only value for the producer. Wonderful! Tell me more! Justify those words! I can’t wait!

    Only I’ll have to because there is no justification of the evaluation. What I thought might be the beginning of an argument was pretty much the sum-total. In fact, there was no argument nor attempt to persuade. There was only the plain statement of an opinion held.

    And while Tom Chick is perfectly able (with my blessing!) to believe the game that he’s described is mercenary, cheap, disgusting, etc. (and it may well be these things), he can’t possibly believe that his mere say-so is enough for me to conform likewise with regard to myy own opinion.

    Now, to be fair, I don’t know Tom Chick. Maybe he’s just a fan and not a writer. Maybe that’s why the article can’t support its own weight. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t go where it wants to go. Maybe this was the best he could do and he’s just learning how to compose an editorial. If that’s the case, keep working on it Tom Chick and with a lot of practice you just might learn the craft. If that’s not the case, we can either hope that he just had a bad day (and no editors) or he’s a hack (with no editors). Whatever the case, beyond the worthwhile description of his experience with the game, no one should be impressed by this article.

  2. Frankly, I’m troubled by the idea that it is somehow better to kill innocent people in a game if it is “goofy or sanitized.”

    I’ll accept that it could be that IW is doing this for shock value; it is difficult to evaluate motives. But if you accept the claim that harming innocent people in a game is not necessarily “wrong,” as this author does, then I think you will have a difficult time justifying it only if it is “goofy or sanitized.” It seems to me that there could be a distinct value in perceiving an act of violence from the “bad guy’s” perspective, particularly if you are not meant to thrill in their violence, but to better understand its horror–and it seems fairly clear to me from most of the reviews that this section of the game is not “fun” in the traditional sense.

    The justified hero violence or “goofy or sanitized” villain violence justification for violence in a game seems very troubling to me because it sets up a false idea of how evil works in the world.

  3. Ooh, you and Rich should fight it out since he supports goofy and sanitized violence (e.g., Super Mario Bros.) and is troubled by realistic violence (MW2, I presume).

    I do think your point, Alan, about the distinct value in perceiving an act of violence from the “bad guy’s” perspective is completely worthwhile. Especially for both those who thrill to the goofy stuff and those who have difficulty with the idea of pull an imaginary trigger to fire an imaginary gun at an imaginary character’s imaginary head. Pedagogically, whatever IW’s motive, there seems a wealth of thoughtworthy concepts to be mined from this particular level of play.

Comments are now closed for this article.