With the advent of Battlefield 3, I find myself wondering; are we as a culture addicted to death? Has the notion of life’s end been so taboo, so unspoken for so long as to silently become an all pervasive obsession? Of course, the only certainties in life revolve around being born and dying (always in that order, unless you’re a Buddhist of course), so it makes sense that death features heavily in our culture, however, it seems odd that in our species-wide clamour to avoid death, we Humans tend to find ourselves dishing it out to others at alarmingly regular intervals.
Imagine if we really could just do away with people, if you could knife or shoot anyone who scuffed your shoe, or shoved past you at the train station. I’m the sort of half-mad misanthrope who actually does have a death list of people to put on ice if I ever got the chance, for infractions including, but not limited to; taking advantage of Women that are passed out, attacking others whilst in large groups and starting wars for personal profit. For those (and some others) I would gleefully, and with malice of forethought, kill your ass. However, I think we’re all a little like that these days. For those who want to develop these ideas further and kill yet more people whilst retaining occupancy a consequence-free environment, there’s always Battlefield 3.
Following the mega-success of the Call of Duty series, Battlefield 3 was drearily inevitable. In an era defined by guns, bombs, death and fear of terrorists in every cupboard and under every bed, war simulations skyrocketed. Then, by taking their central protagonists away from the confines of World War Two retro chic or Tom Clancy-style covert operations and setting them down in the middle East, in the thick of the fighting and death-dealing to the latest group of ‘bastards’ to reinvigorate America’s military-industrial complex, war games suddenly instigated what could be called ‘The Second Life World War’. In this war, gamers who had no desire to actually enlist could act out their revenge fantasies on other gamers around the world; you could kill with no risk of being killed in the process. It’s such a simple idea, really.
I’m not saying that Battlefield 3 isn’t a good game. It is. It’s realistic, has great graphics and hardcore, wince-inducing combat scenes. Its multiplayer is quick as a whippet the morning after curry night and the locations are painstakingly reassembled to look real enough that they could convincingly be featured on Google Earth. Battlefield 3 has a complex game engine, realistic damage (no walking away from, or even too near to, an exploding jeep for you, sir) and weapons that are exactly like the ones you’d be using if you were posted there. If all that turns you on, then Battlefield 3 won’t disappoint you, squire.
However, I’m sure it’s not just me who finds all this death just a little bit, well, depressing. It’s not an accident that my generation seem to have co-opted corpses as role models and mourning as a lifestyle option, death is everywhere. In fact, if you were an anthropologist from another culture studying us in the West, you’d be forgiven that we actually propagated an Aztec-style death worshipping culture that glamorized war, pain and suffering. Anyway, I’m sure you’re bored of my ranting (and besides, my word count’s up) I’m gonna go kill me some virtual asses! F.Y.I – The other great taboo in our culture is incest, just a tip for any game designers of the future who may be reading this…
Christoper Messenger is a writer for our Battlefield 3 fansite You can view more of his articles by visiting our site over at Battlefield 3 [http://www.battlefield3xbox.co.uk/]