It so happened in USA that the release of the next part of Call of Duty in a modern setting simply cannot do without scandals and ambiguous news. The remaster of Modern Warfare 2 on PS4, released on March 31, was no exception, and Sony refused to release it in USA. Despite the absence of intelligible comments from Sony or Activision, it is safe to say that the reason for the ban is the presence in the game of the infamous "Not a word in USA" mission, which sparked a heated debate in 2009 with calls to ban the game. This event made us recall the loudest and sometimes even absurd cases when video games were banned or tried to ban in USA.
Call of Duty - a weapon of extremism
Let's start with the most famous case that prompted USA state media and politicians in 2009 to seriously pay close attention to the video game industry - the mission "Not a word in USA" in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
According to the plot of the mission, the player takes on the role of an American undercover agent who, trying to get into the credibility of the criminals, takes part in a terrorist operation - the mass shooting of civilians at a Moscow airport, reminiscent of Terminal D at Sheremetyevo. It is important to note two things: firstly, if the player wishes, the player can successfully complete the episode without firing a single shot at the civilians, and secondly, the mission is categorically important for understanding the plot of the game and without it, further events lose all logical connection.
Given the provocative nature of the mission, it is no wonder that the cruelty shown in the game aroused the minds of public figures. For example, the British Parliament even held separate hearings on the game. However, the mission was not banned. USA gamers, worried about the leaked demonstration of the notorious episode, expected a different development of events. It was expected, however, quite justifiably: when the western versions of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 offered the opportunity to skip the mission, the USA copies of the game were delivered with the level "Not a word in USA" completely cut out.
The episode in USA could be completed in at least two ways: by downloading a pirated version on a PC or delivering copies of the game for PS3 and Xbox360, the circulation of which was withdrawn by the publisher at the start of sales. Taking into account the operational self-censorship of the distributor of the game in USA, the 1C company and the publisher Activision, the impression was created that Modern Warfare 2 would be able to avoid a serious scandal in USA. However, in January 2010, a deputy from the LDPR faction, Valery Seleznev, intervened in the case, calling for a complete ban on the game and equating it with a weapon of extremism and propaganda.
In addition to criticizing the game itself, the deputy accused 1C of the fact that those selling the game on the territory of the USA Federation “profit from dirty money”. Of course, the official response from "1C" was not long in coming, and you can get some interesting points from it: Valery Seleznev, advocating the primacy of the law and at the same time allowing his incomplete-year-old son to play Modern Warfare 2, behaved inconsistently, to put it mildly. Firstly, by allowing a child to play a game with an age rating of 18+, and secondly, by using a pirated, illegal version of the game.
According to the decision of the Forensic Science and Forensic Science Research Center, Modern Warfare 2 does not contain extremist appeals, but 10 and a half years later, the "Not a word in USA" mission remains an extremely controversial episode. It can even be said that today society has become even less tolerant of virtual violence, which is reflected in the changes affecting the mission in the remaster of Modern Warfare 2. For example, in the German version of the game, the task automatically fails if the player shoots at civilians, and in the Ukrainian version it does removed the level, as it once was from the USA one.
Policies against Manhunt
Wishing to keep up with foreign politicians, USA "servants of the people" from the beginning of the decade increasingly began to pay attention to computer games in a negative way, using them as scapegoats and accusing them of all sorts of sins. The story with Dmitry Vinogradov, who in 2012 wrote his name in blood on the pages of history, having shot 6 people, was especially indicative. Subsequently, the media dubbed him "USA Breivik".
The very next day, information appeared on the network that, according to the investigation, the killer turned out to be a fan of the game Manhunt. As expected, this information became fertile ground for the next accusations by politicians of games in the pernicious influence on the human psyche.
First of all, either because of a desire to earn political points, or out of good intentions, United USA deputy Sergei Zheliznyak noted, sending a request to Roskomnadzor demanding to block free access to Manhunt for promoting violence and cruelty. The colleague was immediately supported by the deputy Franz Klintsevich, commenting on what happened with his own story about how his grandson played a game where it is shown in all details how a special forces soldier cut a person's throat.
Manhunt has a really scandalous reputation, so the calls to ban stealth action from Rockstar do not seem surprising, but in this situation I would like to separately note the "expert" statements of politician Vladimir Burmatov and Senator of the Chelyabinsk Region Ruslan Gattarov. Let's quote verbatim. The first one said: “The fact that he (Dmitry Vinogradov) played these (Manhunt) atrocities became a catalyst for his illness,” and the second: “Game addicts get away from reality, then it seems to them that killing is as easy as in Game". These are bold claims, especially considering that in medicine, even after a series of meta-studies, there is still no consensus on the relationship between violent games and violence in real life.
Separately, it is worth noting other details of the "USA Breivik" case, which politicians did not pay attention to. The day before the tragedy, Vinogradov published a manifesto on social networks, in which experts found calls for extremism, and among the reasons for the mass shooting they named unrequited love and childhood traumas, due to which Vinogradov was later confirmed with schizotypal personality disorder. Also noteworthy is the information that during the search of the apartment by the police, not a single video game was found on the killer. As a result of the investigation and trial - life imprisonment for Dmitry Vinogradov.
Gamers vs. Company of Heroes 2
The new scandal with video games did not have to wait long - in 2013, the Company of Heroes 2 strategy turned out to be at the epicenter of public censure. Moreover, what is most remarkable, the accusations were first made by a gamer, and not by a politician or any other public figure who saw video games in at best, only with a fleeting glance at the monitor of the playing grandson.
In July, the well-known blogger Yevgeny Bazhenov released a review of Company of Heroes 2, in which he walked through the plot of the game like a skating rink, pointing out numerous inconsistencies in the story, and this despite the fact that the developers claimed the historical accuracy of the script. Most of all, the blogger did not like how the developers blackened the image of Soviet soldiers, exposing them to be much more fanatical than the military of the German army. In particular, they pointed to the shooting of Polish partisans and unarmed German officers, the burning of houses with their compatriots, shots of retreating people in the back and other atrocities. In the final of the critical review, Evgeny Bazhenov summed up the work of the scriptwriters with the words “The Goebbels case lives and will live”, pointing to the propaganda message of the plot.
The words of the blogger subsequently had the effect of a bomb that exploded the entire USA media field. Even federal TV channels joined the discussion.
The gaming community also decided to support the blogger's position, which began collecting a petition to ban the sale of CoH 2 in USA due to the distortion of history. As a result, they collected 30,000 signatures in a petition directed to the distributor of the game "1C" and 20,000 in a petition directed to Gabe Newell himself.
Given the scale of the conflict, representatives of the publishing house SEGA and the game developers from Relic joined the discussion. However, the participation of the latter only exacerbated the scandal, because despite the statement of the head of game development Quinn Duffy that he honors the bravery and exploits of the USA people, he cannot agree with the criticism of the plot, continuing to insist on its reliability. In this situation, the outcome of "1C" was expected - to stop disc sales of the game on the territory of the USA Federation. On the other hand, the game can be bought on Steam without any problems even today.
The scandal around Company of Heroes 2 became another reason to draw people far from the industry to video games and, in theory, could have become a tool for dialogue between people of different views, but in the end it did not work out. For example, you can recall the release of a talk show dedicated to CoH 2, where a military expert, together with a journalist, accused the gaming industry of total Russophobia and zombifying the younger generation. Of course, they did not listen to the arguments of the game journalist Viktor Zuev, who was invited to the show.
War Against Pokemon
Three years later, in July 2016, the world was captured by the phenomenon of the game Pokemon Go, which became the center of numerous bans in different countries of the world, including USA. It would seem that bad in the game based on the characters of the children's universe, which, moreover, thanks to the concept of augmented reality, persistently pushes the players to active walking. Wasn't it the dream of numerous opponents of video games, so that gamers finally took off the fifth point from the chair and went to get some fresh air?
It turned out that it was the need to actively move around the city and catch Pokemon that became one of the main complaints addressed to Pokemon Go. For example, Roskomnadzor issued a statement in which it urged players to sometimes look away from their smartphone screens and be more vigilant while hunting Pokemon. The recommendations are really useful, which cannot be said about the actions of the State Duma deputy from the Communist Party of the USA Federation, Denis Voronenkov, who asked to ban the distribution of Pokemon Go in USA, because in his opinion, the game was developed by the American special services and acts as one of the tools of modern, "American" war, capable of harming security on the territory of the USA Federation and affecting the human psyche.
“Users of mobile devices on which this game (Pokemon Go) will be installed can become accomplices of a terrorist act or espionage, without even knowing it, by photographing and filming objects and territories located in the USA Federation on mobile devices, and transmitting this information without the knowledge of mobile device users to cybercriminals "- said Denis Voronenkov
Separately, some representatives of the USA Cossacks noted themselves in the war against Pokemon. For example, a representative of the Irbis society, Ataman Andrey Polyakov, suggested limiting the use of Pokemon Go, and in the Stavropol Territory, Cossack detachments were even organized to chase Pokemon catchers and told them about the dangers of a mobile game.
Given the resonance around Pokemon Go, catching Pokemon is still banned in various public institutions, such as temples or courts. Individual players were even fined or prosecuted. The most famous case - blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky caught Pokemon in a church, because of which he was prosecuted for “insulting the feelings of believers” and included in the list of extremists.
Despite a number of restrictive measures, the USA authorities did not completely prohibit the game, which was also facilitated by the analysis of the game by Roskomnadzor, which did not reveal any spy targets when creating Pokemon Go. The game was officially released on the territory of USA on September 11, 2018.
Unfortunately, since the second half of the last decade, cases of mass murder among schoolchildren have become more frequent in USA, which, as expected, led to numerous statements about the dangers of video games, as well as demands to ban them. Sometimes such statements take completely absurd forms, forcing to doubt the adequacy of individuals. The most illustrative example is the case of Philip Gross-Dneprov, who in October 2018, on the air of the Vesti FM program of Vladimir Sokolov, began to talk about the terrifying game DOKA 2.
The project was described as "a game where you kill zombies or eat zombies yourself, where you kill people in the most sophisticated ways." In addition to this, you can come up with any location in the game, for example, a school, arrange a shootout in a familiar scenery, trade weapons and, finally, most importantly, the game has a "special weapon for pulling out the guts within 10 minutes."
Obviously, no one forbade Doku 2, because the game does not exist in nature and Philip Gross-Dneprov apparently had in mind another popular game - DOTA 2, which has nothing to do with his description. We used this case as an example of how individuals, without the slightest understanding of the topic, are able to wishful thinking, trying to shift responsibility for real problems to video games. It is important to note that the conversation about DOKA 2 started when the guest of Vladimir Solovyov was trying to describe the reasons for the behavior of Vyacheslav Roslyakov, who arranged a shooting in the Kerch technical school a day before the release of the program.
However, in the future, DOKA 2 KISHKI EDITION still saw the light of day and still continues to receive very positive reviews from Steam. Hurry up to see before the game is definitely banned in USA.
Russophobia in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
The most recent gaming scandal with calls to ban the game occurred in October last year with the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Given the current political tension between the United States and USA, the idea of pushing the armies of the two countries in a video game is a risky decision, especially when, according to numerous gamers and USA media, the authors of the game show the USA army in an unpleasant light and even distort historical events in favor of the United States.
Even six months before the release, the game was criticized by USA TV channels because of the association of gameplay shots with the war in Syria. Considering the current situation and several provocative episodes, which are still far from the level of violence to "Not a word in USA", representatives of Sony USA refused to sell copies of the game for PS4 on the territory of the USA Federation. The official distributors of the game from Softclub did the same and decided not to retail copies for PC and PS4. But, as we understand, the scandal could not have been avoided anyway.
On the day of release, several popular game streamers, including Ilya Maddison, refused to continue streaming on Modern Warfare due to, according to them, excessive Russophobia in the storyline campaign of the game, which replaced the cranberry usual for the series. Perhaps this is the first major case since the release of Company of Heroes 2, when gamers called for a ban on the game in USA.
However, not all gamers adhered to a negative position. Anton Logvinov in the Ren-TV news release stood up for the game, calling for the fact that all events are nothing more than fiction in the game, created for entertainment. The already mentioned Ilya Maddison and the director of the information and analytical company Alexei Raevsky did not agree with this opinion.
In fairness, it should be noted that the game for "deliberate distortion of real history" was criticized in Western countries, even though the developers repeated about the complete fiction of the campaign. Polygon journalist Charlie Hall aptly summed up the whole situation with the words: “consumers outside Western countries feel like victims of pro-Western fiction directed against them, and consumers in Western countries - that they are trying to deceive them with distortion of facts, almost real propaganda.”
Returning to more positive things, we suggest that you read the selection, where we have collected the best games that you can play in quarantine.
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