The popular style of video games called “first person shooters” place the player in a virtual reality, armed with powerful automatic weapons and explosives, blowing away the enemy to achieve the goal. Usually game makers pick fantasy locales, like the space marines fighting on exotic planets in the Halo series. Some return to battlefields of the past, like the simulation games Call of Duty in World War II and Vietnam: FPS in Southeast Asia. Even modern conflicts like Iraq get video game treatments like Six Days in Fallujah.
So is it any surprise to learn of the new first person shooter video game, Call of Juárez: The Cartel, set in the bloodbath that is the murder capital of the world?
(Brownsville Herald) The video game company Ubisoft announced this week the summer release of a game called “Call of Juarez: The Cartel.” Details were not available, but the company describes the game as being set in the present day and bringing elements of the Wild West into a modern setting.
While not familiar with the game, top law enforcement officials in the area reacted with disapproval merely to the idea that a video game would reflect cartel violence.
“Unfortunately there are companies that are looking to capitalize on the violent situation in Mexico which has had a very negative impact on the country,” said Brownsville Police Chief Carlos Garcia. “There have been spillover cases in certain areas of our country with cases of kidnappings and murders. This is a serious topic and this is just another violent video game.”
The knee-jerk reaction from many will be to pull the game from shelves and condemn it as being inappropriate. I disagree. I think the game is a completely appropriate example of art imitating life. If the people condemning the game had as much outrage over what it’s imitating and the tragically idiotic reason we allow it to continue there would be no reason to set a violent video game in Juárez.