Posted by Matt Moore
Like any good red-blooded American under the age of 40, I've played my fair share of first-person shooter video games. I've done the old "sneak up behind your friend with the silencer and give him the digital double tap" routine. Very little shocks me in the way of either video games or their advertisements, and yet the latest commercial for "Call of Duty: Black Ops" has me a little off-kilter. There's nothing particularly over the top about the ad. See for yourself.
Like I said, nothing particularly over the top. The commercial doesn't depict blood, gore, or death. There's a lot of random shooting, and a helicopter goes down, but there's nothing that really shows the traumatic effects of war.
Which is kind of the problem. You've got ordinary citizens, mixed in with the Black Mamba and Jimmy Kimmel, shooting at enemies in a massive combat scene. It definitely depicts the idea that everyone should want to pick up an automatic assault rifle and start firing indescriminently. In a lot of ways, the ad is mocking itself, particularly with Kimmel's appearance. But similar to the LA Times ' take, I find myself a little bothered by the overall message of casual violence and gun play.
There have been rampant debates on the effects of violent video games, most of which I tend to want to avoid, but for whatever reason, this commercial seems to breach that line of making it clear these are video games, and portraying violence as a real, enjoyable, and admirable activity.
But hey, Kobe looks cool.
UPDATE: As BDL notes, Bryant appeared at a charity event held by Activision (the maker of the game) which gives funds to veterans and veteran organizations. Also, apparently Bryant fired real weapons on set, which must have been fun for Lakers' PR, and the game is rated M for Mature and they are targeting adult audiences. Like football. Because kids don't watch football. Or read sports blogs. Wait.