A Second Glance: the COD Series
Call of Duty has brought gamers together in a world developed purely on a fictional history adapted from some of the world’s greatest conflicts. In Call of Duty 2, the gamer takes control of various protagonists in a World War II setting meant to highlight the fictional narratives of Soviet, British, and American forces during the time of the war.This is done as the player takes on such roles in the first-person shooter perspective. FPS has found its home in titles within the COD series as graphics and game mechanics have developed over time. If there is an examination of the historical context found within the title Call of Duty 2, then it is clear that this game was an early introduction to dynamic changes in the story-telling ability of games that provide historical events as the basis for creating immersive and narrative-driven fictional worlds.
The Call of Duty 2 campaign seemed like the most historical context any person at the time could gather from a form of media. At the least this was very much my case. To this day, I still have this game to thank for shaping my understanding of the American forces and the events on Omaha Beach on D-Day in Normandy, France. A great example of another form of media that supports events that occur in-game is the similar interpretation by Steven Spielberg in his epic Saving Private Ryan. I did not watch this movie until my early adulthood, but it lent an unspoken credibility to the game as I reminisced where it was I had seen the events unfold once before. Although the player is continually forced to survive computer-assisted waves of enemies, the player campaign never lets you escape the war zone. The game was released in 2005 and I had the good luck to have a friend who happened to acquire a copy for PC he would let us play to our heart’s content. The game succeeds in providing more insight on the events you participate with in-game by supporting the historical context through the use of war-time footage that actively engages the player in a history lesson of sorts. In comparison to more recent titles, Call of Duty 2 seems more concerned with capturing this history for gamers in a constructive manner through these mission introductions that include the footage whereas newer titles have already hooked the masses into shorter and brief histories less concerned with the way history is used in-game.
The scope of Call of Duty 2 is refreshing as it brought new and well-placed game mechanics not seen before with similar titles. The title looks to make the gamer feel like these soldiers who must survive various situations that can be tied to the struggles of real Allied forces at the time of WWII. Many notable moments appear as you storm the beaches of Normandy, France as an American soldier, provide resistance in Africa with British forces, and overlook devastation committed by German forces against Soviet opposition. The various mechanics that are introduced serve to make each of these campaigns livelier through an immersive takeaway assisted by story elements. This means that the game worked to convince the gamer they were the soldier that needed to survive to win and ensure the game’s finale is aligned to the actual events in history.For this, the COD series excels with no other comparable alternative at the time of this titles release and only serves to actively enforce a standard within gaming that sets expectations for the manner in which historical context, fictional narratives, and gaming mechanics work to represent historical accuracy.
COD is concerned with developing a world that is shaped by an American culture content with pseudo-histories that prove underdeveloped in their prioritization of accurate historical representation. The game retells these stories and gamers want to play for hours even if they already have knowledge of the past that they are now involved with differently through the frameworks of Call of Duty 2. It is enjoyable to adhere to Western ideas of heroism from complicated events such as those that took placed in WWII. It serves as a weak appeal to history that gamers seem to have no problem developing further. All in all, the game does have a use of history that provides insight to events of the past, but this media outlet risks accurate representation in its active inclusion of these events. There is no doubt that this FPS title has reshaped the way developers today use history in-game by creating new representations in video games of historical events which progresses the way we accept these representations and the way historical context will either improve or become diminished through the way the gamer responses to this use of history.