from the just-a-game dept
Which is why I feel comfortable laughing hysterically as some Pakistani shopkeepers are boycotting two video games because they don't like how the fictional plot line portrays Pakistan.
Both Medal of Honor: Warfighter and Call of Duty: Black Ops II are first-person shooter games, where players take on the persona of an American special forces agent and feature ultra realistic graphics. Terrorism and the role of local security forces are hugely sensitive subjects in Pakistan, which has barely recovered from the shock of discovering that Osama bin Laden was hiding in plain sight, barely 30 miles from the capital Islamabad.I'll leave the politics aside here, but it takes a special kind of awesome to be in nearly un-recoverable shock that bin Laden was hiding in your country when most of the world's media was suggesting as much for something like a decade. That he hid so easily near the nation's capital in a complex that was just begging to be investigated at the very least opens up the door for creative interpretations for how that might have happened. And that's exactly what the two games in question offer up as a fictional plotline. For example:
The latest installment of the Medal of Honor series opens with American Navy Seals coming ashore in Karachi docks on a mission to destroy a black market arms shipment. But when their detonation sets off a second, bigger explosion they realise they have stumbled on a much bigger terrorist plot, sparking a global manhunt. A chaotic car chase through the city follows amid warnings that the ISI - Pakistan's intelligence agency - is on the way.In other words, the game has a plot that involves Pakistani intelligence cooperating with terrorists. That's a possibility about as shocking as, oh, say bin Laden hiding a paper airplane's throw away from Pakistan's capital. But the point is that it's a fictional plot. Fighting against it is silly. You might as well outlaw the Narnia books, because wardrobe-makers are insulted that any of their products could transport folks to witch-infested worlds ruled by multi-syllabic lions. What possible explanation could Mr. Memon have for this call to boycott?
Mr Memon added there was a danger children would be brainwashed into thinking foreign agents were at war inside Karachi, possibly leading them into the arms of militants.
"These games show a misleading idea of what is happening in the city. You don't get the CIA all the way through Grand Theft Auto," he said.Quite true. On the other hand, no American stores in New York, Vegas, or L.A. are calling for a boycott of the GTA games because their cities are shown to be infested with shotgun wielding caricatures of Western culture. Because it's fiction.