Tuesday, December 08, 2009

kobayashi morituri

the rest of task force 141 brought in the ACS, allen. two men took down an entire base. i ask much more from you now.

yesterday you were a soldier on the front lines, but today, front lines are history. uniforms are relics. the war rages everywhere and there will be casualties.

this man makarov is fighting his own war and he has no rules, no boundaries. he doesn't flinch at torture, human trafficking or genocide. he's not loyal to a flag or country or any set of ideals. he trades blood for money.

he's your new best friend.

you don't wanna know what it's cost already to put you next to him. it will cost you a piece of yourself.

it will cost nothing compared to everything you'll save.


that was your mission commander speaking. you're a covert cia operative inserted into a freelance russian terror group.

their plan: kill everyone in a busy moscow airport during broad daylight.

your mission?

for some reason, you're never actually told.

and that's the set-up to the graphic and controversial airport massacre scene in infinity ward's latest first-person shooter call of duty: modern warfare 2.

*** warning: spoiler alert ***

the faint of heart have the option of skipping this mission. those who choose to participate have only two options: to idly watch or to shoot. you may shoot bystanders or you may shoot your teammates.

either way, the scene ends the same. you die.

star trek fans will be reminded of the kobayashi maru scenario:


the infamous starfleet academy test challenges the cadet to rescue a defenseless ship under enemy attack. however, despite the superficial similarities, the airport massacre is no kobayashi.

that's because your mission is not to save innocent lives and/or to stop the terrorists. you're not there to learn how to conquer fear in a no-win situation. you're not there to stare down death and go out a hero.

your mission is to die, so that your corpse can trigger the next world war.

according to the game's story arc, each of the characters you inhabit is only the unwitting pawn of your mission commander, who is ultimately exposed as a traitor. at the end of the airport massacre, the terrorists leave your corpse as evidence of american treachery, which provokes the new ultranationalist government to launch a massive surprise invasion of the U.S.

so the airport scene was made a no-win situation not as a character-building exercise. it's no-win because the game simply can't move forward without it, even if you are allowed to skip it. and unless you enjoy the methodical, withering, loud and joyless mowing of screaming civilians, you might want to.

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