Fair warning kids: If you've ever described any soldier as a "baby killer," refuse to eat meat because it's cruel to adorable lil' cows and chickens, or regularly substitute patchouli smoke and clove cigarettes for soap and water, you might wanna skip this post. This one will almost certainly contain images and content that will offend you, and may make you puke up the soy milk and garden-burger you had for lunch.
My review of Modern Warfare 2 went live moments ago, and in the text I attempt to describe a certain, now infamous mission from the game, while simultaneously doing my best to avoid dropping too much info, lest I spoil one of the most shocking, poignant, emotionally charged moments you'll find in a videogame this year.
I realized while writing the review that there are many of you who will never actually play the game for whatever reason, and will thus entirely miss out on such spectacle. Thus, in the interest of fostering an active discussion on what the mission and its contents actually mean in the greater scope of things beyond the limited capacity of 330 words in a paper n' ink institution like the Mercury, I've got a very special present for all of you, if you'll only be so kind as to follow me past the jump.
Remember, you had your warning. Now, without further ado, "No Russian:"
Pretty brutal huh?
You can probably guess why this scene is so controversial, and why the Russian government has taken time off from killing people with umbrellas and being rampantly corrupt to block the sale of the game in their country. If the mission had you gunning down a few hundred civilians in Dulles or JFK, you can bet that Tipper Gore would grow a penis specifically so she could have an erection at the thought of the angry crusade of censorship she would wage against developer Infinity Ward, Microsoft, Sony, and, presumably, 2 Live Crew, just for the fuck of it.
I realize there are a lot of you out there who are going to say "Damn your censorship! It's a work of free artistic expression and I see nothing wrong with people playing whatever they like in the comfort of their own home!"
At the risk of tipping my comically oversized hat a bit early, I'm with those first guys.
Of course, as I mentioned above, there are a number of anti-violence types who are going to see this as a glorification of the evils perpetrated by the military-industrial complex (setting aside the idea that the mission, and the entirety of the game, is a sort of dark satire on that very concept). I sound as if I'm mocking these granola beard hippie types — probably doubly so when I refer to them as "granola beard hippie types" — but I can see their side of the argument as well. It does has its merits.
What do you make of this scene, almighty vox populi? Is this some severely fucked up shit, proving that gaming has crossed a big-ass line marked "IMPROPRIETY" in huge flaming letters, or should videogames be cheered for finally hitting people with the emotional impact of the best Hollywood films?