Building Bridges with Call of Duty: Warzone

Warzone-Header

After dodging their invites for a few weeks, I was playing the Modern Warfare campaign on a Tuesday night when my phone buzzed with a text from Chase: “Wanna Warzone?” I debated whether I should reply or pretend to be asleep, but finally responded with, “Sorry, can’t tonight. Going to bed soon. Next week maybe?” I didn’t have any intention of going to bed soon, but the prospect of playing online with my brothers-in-law wasn’t something I was ready to tackle yet. With that, I settled back into the comforts of the single-player campaign: predictable AI and nobody to watch me lose. A minute or so went by before a notification appeared in the corner of the TV: an invitation from Chase to play Warzone. I had to hand it to him: the kid was persistent. Since it was apparent I couldn’t avoid them any longer, I sent Chase a text that said, “Okay, sure. Let’s play.” Continue Reading

Villainy in the 21st Century

How Games Need to Re-Think Good and Evil

Podcast - HeroesAndVillains

Kurtz (Heart of Darkness), the surveillance state (1984), Mr. Hyde (Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde), and the monster (Dr. Frakenstein): all are nuanced antagonistic forces that propel their respective narratives in order to address social and ethical issues. Compare that with an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor, a planet approaching ecological disaster, an economy ever-reliant on dangerous loans and non-renewable resources, and you have to wonder: where are the quintessentially 21st century villains? Continue Reading

The Heroic Medium

Chris Dorner, Heroism, and Spec Ops: The Line.

Essay - The Heroic Medium

This is more of a thought experiment than a carefully crafted essay, so please bear with me. My research looks at how conceptions of heroism are negotiated across various media forms, with a particular emphasis on videogames. Videogames are teeming with heroes of all sorts, and they’re becoming an increasingly important space for defining who is, and who isn’t a hero. So when I saw that alleged murderer and cop-killer Chris Dorner had been hailed a “hero” by a surprising number of people, I couldn’t help but think – Could you make a videogame about Chris Dorner? If so, what would it look like? And if not, then why not? Continue Reading