Andrew Ritchie Stuff


What We Can Learn From Call of Duty 4

12 Jan 2009

My friend "Joe Glo" made a great comment on my original post covering the IDF's YouTube channel.
These images may be enhancing the realness of military violence, but they are also coded to be received in the same vein as movies, as videogames. They allow the IDF to control the narrative of the attacks; the IDF can retroactively write the script of the invasion.

Joe is absolutely correct that the IDF is attempting to control the narrative of their attacks. The IDF YouTube channel is clearly propaganda in the sense that it is entirely one-sided and can be misleading. But I wonder whether, as Joe says, these videos are to be received and processed like video games and movies. Take this video for example: As video games have evolved most game makers have taken the opportunity of newer, better technologies as a challenge to improve the realism of their games. Note Call of Duty 4. If you follow that link to the game's Wikipedia page and glance at the "Story" section you will find a long convoluted tale involving decades of complex international relations and leaders with conflicting interests. While in the past it may have been unclear what was the conflict between Megaman and Doc Wily (imagine the "Grendel" of the Megaman series where you play as one of Wily's robots attempting to infiltrate Dr. Light's lab where Light is attempting to finally complete his robo-terrorist Megaman). In the present games have tapped into the motivations behind real world conflicts. That is exactly what the IDF YouTube channel lacks. The videos have a journalistic feel, as though these are "pure" documents where "the facts speak for themselves." However, the juxtaposition with contemporary video games makes it all the more clear the videos are propaganda. We know from Call of Duty 4 if someone is going through all the trouble to commit the acts documented by the IDF, they must have some motivation. Israel does not share that motivation with us, they can't, and this is why their coverage of the war has to be propaganda. If in the IDF YouTube channel or the Israeli consulate's Twitter feed there was any acknowledgment that Hamas believes their actions to be somehow justified, that would appear to be sympathizing with the enemy you are slaughtering. It would open up the door to the idea that perhaps Israel has taken the wrong course of action. The IDF YouTube channel fails to pass the sniff test of a present-day video game.