Violence in “Call of Duty”

The “Call of Duty” series — specifically “World at War,” “Black Ops,” and “Modern Warfare 2” — does not glorify violence.

Yes, as a soldier you are tasked with killing your country’s enemies, but never does the killing evolve into something to be celebrated. On the contrary, I would say that “World at War,” “Black Ops,” and “Modern Warfare 2” implicitly condemn the violent acts that your character does.

In the first level of “World at War,” you are an American soldier who has been captured by the Japanese. You watch, powerless, as one of your Japanese captors slashes the throat of your companion with a sword. It is a graphic scene. “World at War” is the first World War II-era “Call of Duty” to earn a “Mature” rating. This rating is justified, and I believe that such a rating is necessary in order to do its material — World War II — justice.

Now on to “Black Ops.” You are an American Black Ops soldier sneaking through a village in Vietnam. As an afterthought, in order to not waken the occupant of a house you’re sneaking through, you kill the occupant by stabbing them in the throat with a knife while they’re sleeping.

You, an American Black Ops soldier, have, in a way, become the Japanese captor from “World at War.” The sleeping man posed no threat to you — you were nearly through the house and he was none the wiser — and yet you kill him anyway.

In “Modern Warfare 2” your character goes undercover for the CIA, infiltrating a Russian terrorist’s inner circle in order to bring him to justice. As part of the Russian terrorists inner circle, you are tasked with carrying out a terrorist attack on an airport. You can skip the mission and go on to the next one. But if you choose to do the mission you can’t kill your fellow terrorists — you’ve got to carry about the attack. The attack is horrifying — you walk through the airport shooting civillians and the police, too, when they show up. At the end of the mission, it is revealed that the terrorists knew you were working for the CIA all along. They kill you at the airport, making it look like America was the one that carried out the attack. As a result, Russia invades the United States.

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