Sunday, December 2, 2012

Consumerism in the USA - Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Call of Duty is undoubtably the biggest and most popular modern computer game on the planet. Every year there is a new title that is released, which switches between Activision and Treyarch - two large American video game production companies based in Santa Monica, California. The games themselves are based on war in the modern era and not so distant future, using advanced warfare technologies and weaponry. The games are a big hit around the world with the multiplayer aspect, which draws in millions of players of different genders and races. 

The advert that I chose is the first live action trailer released for the game, which is following the trend of the first Black Ops game having Jonah Hill star as a 'rookie' or 'noob' soldier and then go through the ranks in a similar fashion to how the game presents. The games are very American to start with, and they always have been. They usually feature American soldiers that go around the world fighting for their country usually in places that America is known to have had issues with, particularly the middle east. To me this shows a very controversial manner of 'modern warfare' in the killing of Middle Eastern people, Russians and other cultures that America is known to have fallen out with. 
This advert features one prominent American Actor, Robert Downey Jr. and a American YouTube star Kyle Myers (FPSRussia), which highlights a very important part of the commercial, showing that these people are linked to the games can influence people to buy the game. The sense of knowing that your favourite movie star is featured in a game could say to people that 'he likes the game, therefore I'm going to buy it'. The idea of war in America gives the very strong suggestion of the power of America and how prominently they feature in such games and advertisements. 

One thing that stood out to me was the different people that were included. The actors that were chosen all look different and to me show a snapshot of the American people, with a black man, a spanish/mexican man, two American ladies and the rest being white males. This again shows American values in that they are a very mixed and diverse culture, so again the advert tries to reach out to as many different classes and races of people. Another thing that I noticed was the glorification of warfare and how relaxed or 'chilled' out the people seem. It reflects highly on how these types of games are presented into modern society, in that the idea of blowing someone up in a game seems relatively enjoyable, fun and easy. There appears to be no suffering at all in the commercial but rather the complete opposite, however when compared to the real idea of war that isn't the case at all. It again shows how in American culture that war is a common and normal process in that because they are the most powerful country in the world they aren't shy of the fact that they are going to be a significant part of the world's conflicts. Again another thing I spotted, which relates back to an American horror movie is that at the end of the advert the guy stands there with a shotgun and says 'Zombies...Groovy' which is a direct relation to the film 'The Evil Dead' whereby the main character Ash's catchphrase is 'Groovy'. Although this doesn't have much to do with the game or war I thought it was an interesting thing to throw in as the film is a cult classic in America and was directed by Sam Raimi who is a prominent American director. 

Lastly the caption at the end - 'There's a solider in all of us' to me shows the idea of American's being that all mighty race of people that soar above anyone or anything else. Although this game is produced worldwide and played by people around the world, the main focus of those people is America and Europe (particularly the United Kingdom); both of which are known allies in the scheme of warfare. The United Kingdom being the 'little brother' in this can also be reflected on this idea of 'There's a soldier in all of us' whereby we followed and joined the USA into the war in Iraq for example. 
The advertisement overall glorifies America as this country that is so familiar with warfare and conflict that it almost doesn't seem to be something to worry about and something that could be shown in an advertisement like this to American people and make them want to buy the game. To me it also shows  passion behind the idea of America being this huge superpower with all these fancy weapons and fancy technology that they could definitely use it all to their own benefit if they needed too, and they aren't shy of showing that off. 

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