Katrin sent us a link to a image at GOOD that illustrates the geopolitics of first-person shooter video games. The image was created by a group at Complex to illustrate the way that the changing actual political landscape can be seen in the nationality of villains in video games. Peter Rubin, of Complex, explains, “Gone are the days of all FPSes being either World War II or sci-fi; in the new milennium, developers are on the hunt for enemies that are speculative but still plausible.”
They looked at 20 FPS games from the past decade (unfortunately, they give no details about how those 20 games were chosen
The selected titles:
Return to Castle Wolfenstein (2001): Germany Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Desert Siege (2002): Ethiopia Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder (2003): Cuba Delta Force: Black Hawk Down (2003): Somalia Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm (2004): Colombia Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2 (2004): North Korea Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising (2004): Indonesia Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike (2005): Afghanistan Delta Force Xtreme (2005): Chad Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter (2006): Mexico Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007): Russia/Afghanistan Army of Two (2008): Somalia/Afghanistan/China/Iraq Frontlines: Fuel of War (2008): Russia/China Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009): Russia/Afghanistan/Brazil Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising (2009): China/Russia Singularity (2010): Russia MAG (2010): Russia/China/India Army of Two: The 40th Day (2010): China Homefront (2011): Korea (They don’t specify if it’s North or South Korea) Operation Flashpoint: Red River (2011): China
Anyway, it provides a nice little illustration of the way that global politics seeps into this element of pop culture, as well as a snapshot of nations currently perceived as rivals or even enemies of the U.S. — a mixture of old tensions (Russia, Germany), ongoing anxiety about China, and emerging focal points.