War game may contain traces of violence
Padraig Reidy: Tom Watson's backlash against the anti-gamer backlash
09 Nov 09

Call of Duty is one of the biggest video games titles out there. In fact, it’s new edition: Modern Warfare 2, is expected to be one of the biggest selling games ever.

Call of Duty games are about war: hence, they tend to be, well, a bit violent. Because they’re war games. And war is violent. This revalation appears to have only just come to Labour MP Keith Vaz, who told the Daily Mail: “I am absolutely shocked by the level of violence in this game and am particularly concerned about how realistic the game itself looks.”

So far, so knee-jerk. But Vaz’s Labour colleague, Tom Watson MP, has reacted angrily to Vaz’s standpoint, and immediately set up a Facebook group called “Gamer’s Voice”, announcing: “Are you sick of UK newspapers and (my fellow) politicians beating up on gaming? So am I. The truth is, UK gamers need their own pressure group. I want to help you start one up.”

Keith Vaz is clearly shocked — shocked! — by games about war being a bit violent. Tom Watson’s clearly sick – sick! – of contrived outrage against games and gamers.

But who’s right? Only one way to find out…


By Padraig Reidy

Padraig Reidy is the editor of Little Atoms and a columnist for Index on Censorship. He has also written for The Observer, The Guardian, and The Irish Times.