Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Censoring Playstation

The Babylon and Beyond blog reports that a new computer game is causing a stir in the United Arab Emirates. The premise of "Spec Ops: The Line" is simple enough. You lead an elite corp of special-ops forces on a secret mission after massive sandstorms destroy Dubai. Per Babylon and Beyond:

Dubai's once-glittering skyline has been reduced to a wasteland of concrete skeletons and jagged steel, half-buried under the dunes that are slowly reclaiming the so-called "city of superlatives." In this macabre dreamscape, corpses swing from streetlights as Burj Dubai, the world's tallest building, looms in the background.
Sounds like a pretty sweet game, right?

Well, not so much for the government of the UAE. Between Dubai's confidence already teetering from financial troubles and their notoriously thin-skin when it comes to criticism, they're apparently in no mood to watch the digital destruction of their desert dream. Therefore, the government is considering banning the game.

But they're looking at this all the wrong. In the gaming world, immolation - not imitation - is the deepest form of flattery. According to the game's producer, Dubai is "such a fantastic location from an architectural standpoint. The contrast between the exterior devastation and the interior opulence and beautiful architecture seemed to be a really beautiful and effective image."

Fifteen years ago, no American software company would have even known what Dubai was, let alone decide it'd be a perfect setting for the next major blockbuster video game. This game is a testament to Dubai's success.

Besides, we Americans see our monuments destroyed all the time in games and movies. In fact, a landmark is not a landmark in America until a chest-thumping gorilla, laser-blasting alien, or fire-breathing lizard decimates it. It's no coincidence that the video game Modern Warfare 2, which broke the record with sales over $550 million in its first five days, features the full-scale destruction of Washington D.C.

And just for fun:

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