A recent study by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism (START) performed by the University of Maryland at the behest of the Department of Homeland Security concluded that the greatest terrorist threat to America isn’t radical Muslims – it’s right wing radical groups right here in the United States. So the upcoming game in the Battlefield series will feature the most severe terrorist threat to America in exactly that role:
Although it is not due to be released until 2015, conservatives are up in arms about the latest version of a first person shooter video game which will include anti-government Gadsden flag-waving Tea Partiers as bad guys.
Battlefield Hardline, developed by Visceral Games and video game publisher Electronic Arts, was recently premiered at Gamescom gaming convention in Cologne, Germany last week, and word has gotten out that the storyline is built around the player character attempting to shoot his way out after being kidnapped by a crime boss who describes himself as a “one man island of armed sovereignty,” according to Big Hollywood.
The crime boss, named Tony Alpert, is heard speaking about “these once-united states” and the “denigration, the humbling, the tearing down of everything that made this country great.”
Speaking of Alpert, one character is heard to say, “One black president and Tony completely lost his shit.”
According to game reviewers, the “Don’t Tread On Me” Gadsden flags — normally associated with Tea Party protests — can be seen on walls and on the back of jackets of several characters throughout the game.
Conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck expressed dismay at what he called “American constitutionalists and Tea Party people” being made the bad guys in the game.
“Let’s go to the game that has just come out that makes American constitutionalists and Tea Party people the enemy. And you can go and shoot them,” Beck said on his radio show.“Anybody have a problem with this?”
Beck and his guests wondered how younger people will be able to “differentiate” between the bad guys in the video game, and real life Tea Party types.
I know I’ve been throwing Jeremiah Beene’s name around the blog lately, but his expertise on the psychology of mass murderers stems from his research on whether video games produce violence. I’m very lucky to have a direct line to one of the world’s experts on that subject, so I took advantage of it this morning. This is what he sent back:
Yeah, that’s silly and fear-mongering. There is no evidence to suggest people become hostile to ideologies because the antagonists subscribe to it. In fact, sadly, people are pretty bad at learning a whole lot of anything from first-person shooters to date. I think that’ll change soon given more thoughtful games like Bioshock.
So no, I’m not worried about this, and Beck wouldn’t be either if it was some other terrorist threat. If the bad guys were Al Qaeda, Beck would probably even endorse the game, let alone gripe about its supposed potential for creating violence.
“That’s exactly what I thought,” Glenn added. “If Raphe went over to somebody’s house, and they had this… He knows when we’re around that that flag will fly… He knows that we’re members of the Tea Party, if you will. We support it. He goes over and plays that game… ‘Well, wait a minute, My dad believes in some of those things.’ …. What does he think?”
He’ll learn that you back a group that has fantasized publicly about the armed takeover of the United States government – and he wouldn’t be wrong.