If you’ve started playing through the newly-released Call of Duty: Black Ops in the last couple of days, you may have been surprised to discover that ex-dictator of Cuba Fidel Castro plays a major role in the game’s early hours. Apparently the nation of Cuba was also surprised and not terribly amused. [Warning: This article contains some minor spoilers about the beginning of Black Ops.]
Yahoo Finance has some quotes from an article published on Cubadebate, a state-run Cuban website. The article is upset by the game’s first mission, an assassination attempt on Fidel Castro that takes place during the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.
According to the Cuban article, Black Ops “glorifies the illegal assassination attempts the United States government planned against the Cuban leader” and “stimulates sociopath attitudes in North American children and adolescents.” The article pointed to vague studies showing that video games “can produce anti-social behavior” because players must partake in the violence unlike the more passive experience of watching a movie.
The article also contains this fairly laughable line: “What the United States couldn’t accomplish in more than 50 years, they are now trying to do virtually.” Apparently they’re ignoring the fact that Treyarch and Activision aren’t state-run.
The anger surrounding this mission does bring up an interesting point about the challenges developers face when they try to incorporate real historical figures and events into their games, particularly figures who are still living. I’m glad to see Treyarch taking that risk for the sake of creating an interesting action game story and they have done it so well unlike Medal of Honor