A group of British politicians have criticized Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. But one of their counterparts has dissented in a particularly unusual manner.
The nine members of Parliament have signed an early day motion. In theory this is a proposal for the House of Commons to debate and vote upon the motion at the next available moment. In practice such motions are virtually never brought before the House, and instead act almost like a petition by politicians.
The motion reads:
That this House is deeply concerned about the recently released video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, in which players engage in gratuitous acts of violence against members of the public; notes in particular the harrowing scenes in which a London Underground train is bombed by terrorists, bearing a remarkable resemblance to the tragic events of 7 July 2005; further notes that there is increasing evidence of a link between perpetrators of violent crime and violent video games users; and calls on the British Board of Film Classification to take further precautions when allowing a game to be sold.
However, Tom Watson, an MP who has a particular interest in technology issues and is one of the few self-confessed gamers in British politics, responded by proposing an amendment that not only takes issue with the points made by the original motion, but even offers a mini-review of the game. He suggests the motion should instead read:
[that this House] notes that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) gave the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 an 18 classification, noting that `the game neither draws upon nor resembles real terrorist attacks on the underground’; further believes that the game has an excellent user interface and challenges the gamers’ dexterity as well as collaborative skills in an outline setting; and encourages the BBFC to uphold the opinion of the public that whilst the content of video games may be unsettling or upsetting to some, adults should be free to choose their own entertainment in the absence of legal issues or material which raises a risk or harm.
Sadly there’s no sign yet that this will be one of the rare early day motions to lead to a debate and thus we will likely be cheated of the sight of elected representatives debating the quality of MW3’s user interface.