Apparently, it’s such a big deal, that international media is discussing it. Tonight I got to go on the air live to talk about the launch of MW3 for Al Jazeera English. Here’s the broadcast:
The time delays were brutal; my apologies to the reporter for interrupting her.
The art of war
To further clarify my point that I make in this interview: Yes, Modern Warfare 3 is a violent video game. It’s about war. It’s extremely realistic. However, violent video games have just as much a place in the world of artistic expression as any other form of media. Playwrights and poets have been sharing violence with us for as long as the human condition has included these themes. Paintings, songs, and movies have all explored themes of violence, war, fear, and terror.
The reporter asked me why I felt people were drawn to these themes in video gaming; while it’s true that video gaming is a particular engaging and compelling form of art, people are still drawn to these themes when they’re executed professionally in other mediums as well. There have been some extremely acclaimed war movies, for example. Sun Tzu wrote a book about war that you may have heard of. War is a basic part of human existence; sadly, to be sure, but undeniably.
Video games about war bring this theme to a generation of people that prefer to engage with and experience their art in an interactive format. Extremely realistic war games such as Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty allow consumers to experience these things in new ways—but more importantly they allow artists to express themselves in new ways. This expression, in turn, further advances human understanding of these themes.
In the launch trailer, they show a man getting shot in the head. While the media likes to fix on this image as one of extreme violence, what they’re not talking about is the fact that the feelings that the player experiences during these types of scenes are truly personal and subjective.
Which, after all, is the goal of any form of art.