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#1 Edited by siddarth0605 (124 posts) -

This is a wonderful article from Polygon regarding Battlefield Hardline and how one journalist opinions about it in the midst of the Ferguson riots. This is worth reading and definitely made me think long and hard about the culpability developers have when choosing their settings and story. I would love to hear people's opinions on this

http://www.polygon.com/2014/8/19/6029085/battlefield-hardline-police

#2 Edited by Brodehouse (10104 posts) -

Comparing a group of armed criminals in the midst of a major violent heist operation to the townspeople of Ferguson. Classy.

I'm sure I'll get someone going "WHERE'D THEY DO THAT", well listen.

A cop game can't hide under the already prejudiced notion of previous Battlefield games: that the enemy is an international terrorists motivated by pure evil. No, the villains in a cop game are American citizens with American rights. And the heroes are enforces of the law and protectors of our rights.

They are criticizing the nature of Battlefield's police characters by criticizing the nature of the police occupation in Ferguson. They are necessarily comparing the situation suffered by the people of Ferguson to the nature of the action in Hardline, and seem to think there's some positive correlation. If the actions of the police characters against the criminal characters in this game are unacceptable in the light of Ferguson, it necessarily compares the actions of the criminal characters to the people in Ferguson being threatened by police. Like compares with like, and the exact stress factors and level of violence in both situations are not alike. The people of Ferguson are not robbing a bank and attempting to escape with 'the money' in 'the van', they're standing on the street and being tear gassed.

There's a lot of wishing in this article, such as wishing that they can lay all the violence of Western culture at the feet of first person shooters, and presumably wishing that people were stupid enough to swallow it.

The problem isn't civilians shooting people because of a video game. The problem is cops shooting people because of a culture. The problem is media — with games at its center — fetishizes that violence, machismo and "pretty awesome gear" of our law enforcement.

This is the exact Jack Thompson argument, but rather than calling them murder simulators for those terrible young men and boys, they're murder simulators for those terrible police officers. They're just exchanging yesterday's persona non grata for today's.

#3 Edited by Corevi (4015 posts) -

It's Bad Boys the video game. Any kind of deep political analysis of it falls flat when you realize that.

#4 Posted by Brendan (7846 posts) -

The whole thing is sour timing, but Hardline is way too zany (seriously these criminals are spending way more money on arms than they're getting from heists) in a Heat/Bad Boys kind of way for an honest comparison between it's content and the current situation in Ferguson to have much validity.

#5 Edited by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

This is the second article Polygon published within a week that attempts to tie video games to Ferguson. The first article concerned Watch Dogs, and was in such bad taste that Polygon deleted their tweet pointing to the article when called on it. It was in so much bad taste that I refuse to click on the link in the OP or any other Polygon link ever again no matter the context of the conversation. I will not be among those that give them traffic.

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#6 Posted by Andorski (5345 posts) -

You could have given me one hundred chances to figure out what real life geo-political event Battlefield Hardline relates most closely to. I would never have guessed Ferguson/militarized police.

#7 Posted by chrissedoff (2153 posts) -

@corruptedevil: All art and entertainment is worthy of analysis that situates it in a sociopolitical context. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Agree or disagree with conclusions drawn in such an analysis, but insisting that everyone shuts off their brains is the kind of thing a person does when they worry about what critical thought might reveal about themselves, the entertainment they enjoy and the society in which they live.

#8 Edited by BabyChooChoo (4662 posts) -

This entire article feels rather...overly sensitive. I can sorta see how one would take issue with some of the quotes from the EA dude, but what the fuck do you say when someone gets all serious about your obviously crazy, dumb, mindless shooter game?

#9 Posted by csl316 (9032 posts) -

I suppose I can see why it could make someone uncomfortable.

I feel like they're setting out to make a game that builds on stuff that Payday did, while mixing it with Battlefield's urban aspects. It doesn't bother me and I didn't see anything remotely controversial about it. It's violent, but it's a first person shooter and not a political statement.

But again, I guess I can see why it bugs him.

#10 Posted by BisonHero (6674 posts) -

@hailinel: The new games journalism: desperately trying to relate your job in the video game enthusiast press to what big boy reporters are talking about at the moment. Because I guess that somehow equals page views.

Next up: What the Kim Kardashian game taught me about the actions of ISIS in the Middle East. [Editor's note: Nothing. It taught me nothing.]

#11 Edited by Giantstalker (1695 posts) -

Pure leftist bullshit, but I expected little else from a Polygon opinion piece.

Hardline is an exaggeration of a worst-case policing scenario. Similarly, regular Battlefield is an exaggeration of worst-case conventional warfare. The only real difference is that I thought Hardline was a considerably worse game after its initial beta.

Plante is naive enough to compare this with a real, much different, still-developing situation; in so doing, he shows his lack of knowledge about either. Still, at no point did this stop him from wheeling out a bunch of stale liberally-slanted arguments about the militarization of police, the evils of violent FPS'es, and the attitudes of the public which supports them.

Of course he conveniently forgets the changing nature of policing, and it's a given he has no clue about the nature of the equipment which they use and operate (even when it's overwhelmingly defensive compared to the military). No, instead we get to see him build his own convenient archetypes and caricatures: Armored vehicles are tools of oppression, body armor makes you a bad person, and of course guns and lethal force are inherently evil.

I guess the Army and Marine Corps are inherently evil too, which is why we'd never want the police to resemble them in any way whatsoever. But I digress... I really regret clicking on that link and giving this trash traffic. But Plante's basic assumptions, his supporting arguments, and his entire premise is so awful I had to try and warn others. It's that bad.

#13 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

@hailinel: The new games journalism: desperately trying to relate your job in the video game enthusiast press to what big boy reporters are talking about at the moment. Because I guess that somehow equals page views.

Next up: What the Kim Kardashian game taught me about the actions of ISIS in the Middle East. [Editor's note: Nothing. It taught me nothing.]

The sad thing is, I could honestly see someone trying to pull that.

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#14 Edited by ripelivejam (4357 posts) -

@andorski said:

You could have given me one hundred chances to figure out what real life geo-political event Battlefield Hardline relates most closely to. I would never have guessed Ferguson/militarized police.

i did actually think of it myself in the last couple of days and there's a bit of a parallel, but only in the police being heavily militarized. obviously it ends there, but it wasn't a far-off leap to make. maybe i'm a simpleton when it comes to seeing allegories to real life in media, meh...

#15 Edited by Crembaw (452 posts) -

@giantstalker said:

Pure leftist bullshit, but I expected little else from a Polygon opinion piece.

I am considered severely left by all metrics and even I agree that this article is stupid. You have at least one comrade across the political spectrum regarding this idiot's spouting, albeit for slightly different reasons.

#16 Posted by NoelVeiga (1103 posts) -

@chrissedoff said:

@corruptedevil: All art and entertainment is worthy of analysis that situates it in a sociopolitical context. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Agree or disagree with conclusions drawn in such an analysis, but insisting that everyone shuts off their brains is the kind of thing a person does when they worry about what critical thought might reveal about themselves, the entertainment they enjoy and the society in which they live.

I agree, but I'll add only this: maybe it would have been good to wait until they play the game they're talking about. Deconstructing a piece based only on promotional materials is a bad idea.

#17 Posted by Milkman (17067 posts) -

I don't know about the specifics of the article but it's not all that absurd to draw parallels between the very real problem of the over-militarization of the police in America and a game literally about (and glorifying) militarized police. I'm not sure if there's any real profound connection to draw from that. Other than maybe, fuck that game?

People this thread acting like it's AN OUTRAGE that anyone could possibly draw any similarities between the two are being really silly.

#18 Edited by TheHT (11549 posts) -

This would've been a fine article if he didn't try to connect it to what's happening in Ferguson as directly as he did. Police militarization is enough of a current topic without having to try to directly compare Hardline's scenarios to Ferguson's, because as soon as he did that he opened himself up to the criticism of how ridiculous the comparison is.

Hardline's criminals are professional heist-men armed to the teeth, not protestors or unarmed young men. Asking if it'd be fun to play a game set in Ferguson is just disingenuous. Hardline is nothing more or less than the shootout from Heat as seen through the eyes of Michael Bay.

Also a bit uncomfortable is the way he's framed their conversation with the executive producer of Hardline, Steve Papoutsis. Taking Papoutsis' responses to an interview from back at E3 and responding to them in the context of current events. It comes across as hindsight high-roading.

There are still some interesting points brought up about Hardline being a game where a player pretends to be a cop pretending to be a soldier. That thing seemed like a great idea when it was first leaked, but the more I learned about it the more deflated I got. I guess I didn't expect it to be so much like Battlefield. I'd hoped it would be Battlefield in spirit, but still feel like a different sort of game. Like a cross between Counter-Strike and Battlefield and Payday.

A bit of a side note, but it struck me reading his closing thoughts that blaming a "culture" seems to have replaced blaming a lower order thing like video games or movies. It's not video games that's the problem, it's crime and law enforcement culture that's the problem, which is perpetuated by video games. That seems marginally different.

And holy moly saying that such a culture is the reason police in the real world have been militarized with little resistance is kinda silly. Following it up with the whopping generalization that every big-budget shooter celebrates the worst parts of "our culture" is also silly.

#19 Posted by Crembaw (452 posts) -

@milkman said:

I don't know about the specifics of the article but it's not all that absurd to draw parallels between the very real problem of the over-militarization of the police in America and a game literally about (and glorifying) militarized police. I'm not sure if there's any real profound connection to draw from that. Other than maybe, fuck that game?

People this thread acting like it's AN OUTRAGE that anyone could possibly draw any similarities between the two are being really silly.

At the very least they got rid of the one where they said Ferguson was giving Hardline an 'Image Problem.'

#20 Edited by handlas (2700 posts) -

Getting the gist of what the article is about through these comments reminds me of why I don't go to Polygon. So I'll continue doing that. Seeing the thread title made me curious.

#21 Edited by EXTomar (4863 posts) -

What is with Polygon these days? The other day they had something saying Riot doesn't have to beg for money like Valve does. It was not sourced and probably misquoted and completely inflammatory.

#22 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

@extomar said:

What is with Polygon these days? The other day they had something saying Riot doesn't have to beg for money like Valve does. It was not sourced and probably misquoted and completely inflammatory.

They've basically discarded the entire pretense that they're seeking to change the face of game journalism and have emerged from the chrysalis having completed their transformation into Kotaku 2.0.

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#23 Posted by Branthog (5583 posts) -

Actually, it comes across as more sensationalist muck-stirring.

#24 Edited by Branthog (5583 posts) -

@extomar said:

What is with Polygon these days? The other day they had something saying Riot doesn't have to beg for money like Valve does. It was not sourced and probably misquoted and completely inflammatory.

They're still reinventing game journalism and industry ethics, with wonderful content like "Proof '90s kids playing video games are cooler than kids today" filled with images of kids in the 90s playing video games and "problems only a 90s gamer would understand" where the only content is a video containing a list of things only a gamer from the 90s would have dealt with (like dusty cartridges) . . . that was someone else's content on a site linked to by a site they linked to.

They're slowly settling into the niche that suits them best, which is somewhere around the level of Buzzfeed and shitty Outbrain network advertisements. I like some of the individual people at Polygon, even despite a lot of disagreements with their attitudes or viewpoints, but collectively, I find their site quite sensationalistic and intentionally and disingenuously muck-stirring. And now, it looks like they're all about pokemon content or something.

#25 Edited by Marokai (3074 posts) -

The problem isn't civilians shooting people because of a video game. The problem is cops shooting people because of a culture. The problem is media — with games at its center — fetishizes that violence, machismo and "pretty awesome gear" of our law enforcement.

And because of that, cops have militarized with minimal resistance. And because of that, Visceral and Electronic Arts are making a mainstream, multi-million dollar game in which a cop who kills hundreds of people is the fucking hero.

Big-budget shooters celebrate the ugliest parts of our culture, and at the center of these shooters is Battlefield Hardline.

Excerpts like this are why people compare the social justice activists of today to the Jack Thompsons or the "Sexbox" Fox News stories of yesteryear. These kinds of statements make me deeply uncomfortable, and if they were made by mainstream news stories several years ago, they would be roundly denounced.

#26 Edited by Sweetz (540 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@extomar said:

What is with Polygon these days? The other day they had something saying Riot doesn't have to beg for money like Valve does. It was not sourced and probably misquoted and completely inflammatory.

They've basically discarded the entire pretense that they're seeking to change the face of game journalism and have emerged from the chrysalis having completed their transformation into Kotaku 2.0.

Yup. Controversy generates hits and pays the bills. It also gets people to read your work in a field where egoism is part and parcel with the job (because it takes a certain amount of self-importance to build a career around the assumption that your opinions are worth listening to).

#27 Posted by 2HeadedNinja (1685 posts) -

I guess the Army and Marine Corps are inherently evil too, which is why we'd never want the police to resemble them in any way whatsoever.

You don't want the police to resemble an army because both, idealy, have very different goals. Military is supposed to have a maximal impact on the enemy with as few friendly casualtys as possible. Police is supposed to uphold the law, the term of "enemy" should not exist for a police officer. In the end police is there to protect citizens.

If there is a situation that regular police forces can't handle there are always special forces like SWAT in the US or the GSG9 in germany. Regular police officers don't need access to military equipment because for what they are supposed to do that stuff is simply not needed. Especially if they are clearly not properly trained to use that equipment (see Ferguson).

#28 Posted by OfficerMeatbeef (92 posts) -

Lot of people saying this is an attempt to tie games to Ferguson. This article never once directly mentions Ferguson though? It links to several recent images of cops in Ferguson, yes, because those images are currently pertinent, plentiful, and [i]goddamn terrifying[/i].

I mean, the article was certainly prompted by/links to Ferguson, in that hopefully that whole situation has opened people's eyes to the fact that the militarization of the police (all that "cool stuff" the exec. producer was so excited about back in E3) is maybe unnecessary, excessive, and very troubling?

There's a lot of claims of opportunism here too, but why should we be vilifying a piece just because it's been prompted by current events? Of course when people are seeing awful images of questionable things they're going to be prompted to write about them.That's kind of what journalism is.

I get that Hardline is being a crazy, action-movie type cop thing. That can be fine! That can be fun! That doesn't mean it doesn't help glorify the idea of "the police are the good guys and will do the right thing, so they definitely need and can be trusted with all this 'cool stuff', and that's something worth addressing. Because like the exec. producer clearly says,

"We did some research on the [internet]," Papoutsis said, "and we found out law enforcement have a lot of cool, kick ass stuff."

It's worth considering the SWAT games here. They also did a lot of research (more than just "the internet", certainly) and they implemented a lot of "cool stuff". However, all the SWAT shooters are very clearly based on attempting to preserve life, despite most scenarios in the game being pretty extreme for a single SWAT element. Every time you have to kill a dude in SWAT 3 or 4 is at least a small failure; even a necessary, justified shooting incurs a small penalty in your rating at the end of a mission. You'll never get in trouble for shooting someone who points a weapon at you or someone else, but you're constantly encouraged to consider "could I have dealt with that situation in such a way that nobody had to die? Could I have done that a better way?"

I'm pretty sure in at least SWAT 3, you could outright game over your career if you just ran around shooting people (even suspects/terrorists!) without proper cause. But even if I'm incorrect, you always end up with a better rating at the end if you bring someone in alive, even wounded, rather than dead.

I think that was a pretty damn responsible way to deal with these themes, while still making a very fun shooter. You got to play with a bunch of cool police toys and weapons, sure. But the games always reinforced the idea that you were still a police officer. You're there to save and preserve life, whether victim or perpetrator, albeit in very extreme situations.

Again, Hardline isn't necessarily committing any kind of crime by taking this stuff and going all balls-out action movie with it. But that doesn't mean we should turn a blind eye towards the fact that yes, this stuff does glorify the idea of "cops as rad home-soil soldiers" that has allowed the kind of extreme militarization we've seen so clearly these last few days to propagate all across the states with very little apparent concern from the general populace. That's the whole point of the article, and I think it's very relevant indeed.

#29 Posted by Icemael (6343 posts) -

Action games have always and will always fetishize violence and the means to exercise it because that's entertaining. It has absolutely fuck-all to do with politics -- since glorifying violence and power is the whole point of action games, the player character will always be violent and powerful whether he's a soldier, a cop, a criminal, a vigilante or whatever. Which is why Hardline (or at least its multiplayer component) fetishizes the violence of the criminals just as much as -- if not more than -- that of the police. But of course, no one's talking about that as problematic because you can't tie it into current events to get cheap hits on your shitty article.

#30 Edited by TruthTellah (9362 posts) -

After reading these comments, I was expecting some kind of leftist monstrosity, but... it just seems like a straight-forward opinion piece from a writer that has already made it clear many times that he disagrees with how violence is handled in many videogames. In that context, it makes perfect sense that he might feel this way about Battlefield Hardline and desire to share his opinion on it.

I don't happen to feel the same way as Plante, but I also don't think him having a rather different opinion from my own somehow means he is terrible, Polygon is terrible, and I need to say ten Hail Mary's to apologize for clicking on the article link.

I had a similar initial response to Battlefield Hardline as he and others have had; which is that it reminded me of my ever-growing concerns over the militarization of many police departments in America since the start of the War on Drugs and post-9/11. A developer making a Battlefield game in a police setting certainly highlights how similar the military and many police have become, and if you feel there may be an issue with that, it's only natural that you might feel something off about this.

I'm not necessarily a fan of tying the situation in Ferguson to it, but I can at least see the reasoning behind it. Dramatic images of gangs of police with assault rifles trained on unarmed citizens are bound to resonate with people. I don't think that has much to do with EA, but I think it's fair to ask them about it. No media exists in a vacuum, and as an artist, I'm quite glad that is the case. Videogames aren't just "murder simulators", but we can consider how art reflects individuals and aspects of our larger culture.

In my opinion, the prevalence of violence is more about violence in our culture than the other way around, but it makes sense that it could work both ways over time. Media feeds upon culture, and culture feeds upon media. That we might have a game presenting police as a kind of military force reflects upon some modern realities, and it may connect to a modern history in media of presenting police as soldiers in a homegrown war zone. To me, it is more concerning that it may be something in our reality to be reflected than a game choosing to reflect it.

I'm not particularly hyped for Battlefield Hardline so far, but I do appreciate this discussion around it. As it gets closer to launch, I will be curious to hear more about its reception. It does reference some things that many are concerned about, in a similar way that the whole Battlefield series always has. We will naturally not all agree on the significance, or lack there of, in various aspects of the game, but a lot of it is well worth thinking about and discussing.

#31 Edited by Random45 (1240 posts) -

Oh for fucks sake, IT'S A FUCKING VIDEO GAME.

"As an industry, video games are often held up as you can't do that …But we're an entertainment business, we're making entertainment. If you think about what you see on TV and film, they approach different themes and settings. That's part of the experience people are creating."

They actually have that quote in the fucking article, and yet they still try to push this whole "This game is wrong" angle. This is such a flimsy pretense for an article that it actually pisses me off. Why is killing criminals as a cop any different than killing terrorists as a marine? If you're against Call of Duty: Hardline, then you better be against ALL Call of Duty games, because other than location, there's NO difference at all.

A cop game can't hide under the already prejudiced notion of previous Battlefield games: that the enemy is an international terrorists motivated by pure evil. No, the villains in a cop game are American citizens with American rights.

So I guess 'evil' Terrorists don't have any rights then? I guess they don't have lives or families, and I guess they are also not fighting for something they truly believe in, just like our soldiers are. But "Oh no! These are AMERICAN Terrorists! Now I can suddenly humanize them and this is so wrong!" It's not like we're going to be fucking killing unarmed black men in this game, in EVERY scenario, you are going in with lethal force because the people you're killing either murdered countless others, or are FIRING AT YOU. And, as much as I like to jump on the 'fuck police' bandwagon, I'm not going to fault a police officer for using lethal force against someone TRYING TO KILL THEM.

Ugh, I'm going to bed, fuck this shit.

Edit: Sorry for the cussing, I get a bit cranky at night when I don't go to bed at a decent time, haha.

#32 Posted by Baal_Sagoth (1274 posts) -

I'm not going to read the article besides what has been quoted here so keep that in mind. The premise immediately falls apart for me since it compares a complicated real world situation that's very much still in progress to PR materials for a cartoonish and very, very simple setting of a game that hasn't even really released yet. That's just not how you approach your controversial, far-reaching and damning point and still expect to get smart and respectful reactions. That's how you approach your point when you want to provoke a reaction, any reaction, right now.

Other than that, I think @brodehouse has it right. It's a shame that these tactics come up so much recently since, just like many of the socially progressive topics, there's stuff worth examining here and articles like this one don't help at all with getting a reasonable discourse going. Fetishizing the military and firearms in media and the subtle or overt effects it could have on culture at large might involve problems I don't want to carelessly dismiss. Doing that would be as silly as forcing that topic at all costs.

#33 Posted by TruthTellah (9362 posts) -

I feel like this thread about how an over-the-top police-based videogame may relate to some concerns about modern policing is lacking without this real video that used to be on the front page of the Doraville, GA police department's website.

Featuring the classic song, "Die Motherfucker Die!" by Dope.

#34 Posted by BisonHero (6674 posts) -

@truthtellah: Whoa now, let's replace that Dope with a little Simon and Garfunkel.

#35 Posted by Baal_Sagoth (1274 posts) -

@truthtellah: That video is not exactly what you'd want to see front and center on a police department's homepage, I agree. That tone is not very recent though. It was incredibly widespread for all kinds of combat footage from Iraq, Afghanistan and so forth to feature Die Motherfucker, Die! or Let the bodies hit the floor. I'm not sure many commenters deny a peculiar lack of boundaries between US military and law enforcement (not that it's limited to the US).

Polygon bringing that up now all of a sudden is what reeks of click-bait. You didn't need the Ferguson tie-in to start that discussion if a reasonable discussion is all you wanted. Using an unfinished game as an example, where you'd have a choice between probably thousands of released games featuring similar settings, is just questionable. Also using relatively "good" (as in not exactly gun porn) examples of less whacky games like SWAT, America's Army, Operation Flashpoint would really increase credibility too.

#36 Posted by altairre (1219 posts) -

I feel like this thread about how an over-the-top police-based videogame may relate to some concerns about modern policing is lacking without this real video that used to be on the front page of the Doraville, GA police department's website.

Featuring the classic song, "Die Motherfucker Die!" by Dope.

Did you by any chance see the latest episode of the John Oliver show?

#37 Posted by SunBroZak (1212 posts) -

To me, Battlefield Hardline feels more like a game trying to capitalize on the success of Payday 2 than a reflection of the state of the US police force. But I can understand why some might feel that it's depiction of the police would be in poor taste, given recent events. But trying to have that discussion before the game is released, while the topic is "hot", also strikes me as poor taste.

#38 Posted by Corvak (1128 posts) -

Polygon has gotten more and more clickbaity as time goes on. Before this, there was that awful Watch_Dogs article, which was doing the same thing. I don't need to view my video game articles through the lens of current events any more than I want to see mainstream media blame video games for everything.

#39 Posted by AMyggen (3356 posts) -

To me, Battlefield Hardline feels more like a game trying to capitalize on the success of Payday 2 than a reflection of the state of the US police force. But I can understand why some might feel that it's depiction of the police would be in poor taste, given recent events. But trying to have that discussion before the game is released, while the topic is "hot", also strikes me as poor taste.

Eh, wouldn't say it's in poor taste. If you can't discuss something like this now, when can you? I don't buy the argument of not discussing things surrounding a tragedy like that, even if it's just "entertainment", when it's happening.

As for the subject at hand, well, the fact is that American police has become extremely militarized. While the game might glorify that, I think it's just a reflection of the society more than anything else.

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#40 Posted by GiantLizardKing (490 posts) -

Oh wow, polygon is morally outraged about something? Jesus, what a reach.

#41 Edited by AlexW00d (6314 posts) -

@crembaw said:

@giantstalker said:

Pure leftist bullshit, but I expected little else from a Polygon opinion piece.

I am considered severely left by all metrics and even I agree that this article is stupid. You have at least one comrade across the political spectrum regarding this idiot's spouting, albeit for slightly different reasons.

Yeah I'm pretty sure attempting to blame this awful shitty article on the 'left' is a pretty idiotic thing to do. Especially as the whole VIDEOGAMES MAKE YOU A KILLER is a weird conservative belief anyway.

#42 Posted by AMyggen (3356 posts) -

@marokai said:

The problem isn't civilians shooting people because of a video game. The problem is cops shooting people because of a culture. The problem is media — with games at its center — fetishizes that violence, machismo and "pretty awesome gear" of our law enforcement.

And because of that, cops have militarized with minimal resistance. And because of that, Visceral and Electronic Arts are making a mainstream, multi-million dollar game in which a cop who kills hundreds of people is the fucking hero.

Big-budget shooters celebrate the ugliest parts of our culture, and at the center of these shooters is Battlefield Hardline.

Excerpts like this are why people compare the social justice activists of today to the Jack Thompsons or the "Sexbox" Fox News stories of yesteryear. These kinds of statements make me deeply uncomfortable, and if they were made by mainstream news stories several years ago, they would be roundly denounced.

No, people who compare "social justice activists" to Jack Thompson is doing that because they're fucking stupid, not because of some random articles.

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#43 Edited by RollingZeppelin (2033 posts) -

I don't want to read the article because I don't want to waste my time. Is he saying that this game is wrong and therefore people shouldn't like it or that it shouldn't be made in the first place? If it's the latter then fuck that guy, if it's the former then he's entitled to his opinion but I'm not buying it.

#44 Posted by Excast (1030 posts) -

I am once again reminded that, while I like some Polygon staff like Justin McElroy and Alexa Ray Corriea, the site as a whole is just rife with clickbait and overly political nonsense. It's kind of a shame to see that much talent just not being able to pull it together into a coherent video game website that I can care about or want to support.

#45 Edited by Brodehouse (10104 posts) -

@milkman said:

I don't know about the specifics of the article but it's not all that absurd to draw parallels between the very real problem of the over-militarization of the police in America and a game literally about (and glorifying) militarized police. I'm not sure if there's any real profound connection to draw from that. Other than maybe, fuck that game?

People this thread acting like it's AN OUTRAGE that anyone could possibly draw any similarities between the two are being really silly.

The outrage of Ferguson, or at least mine, is not necessarily that the police have security and firearms technology that we would describe as 'military'. The outrage I have is that they levy this technology against common people on the street in massive escalations of force. Police wearing body armor and using what is considered the most versatile and effective longarm firearm (the military M4 or civilian AR15) against criminals who stand an immediate threat to the lives of others is completely acceptable. I'm also okay with using flashbangs and other disruptive technology in these extreme situations.

The outrage is that all this technology is being levied on people merely for being on the streets when they were told to go home. My outrage is when flashbangs get thrown through windows in order to execute a search warrant, and wind up exploding infant children. My outrage is when police throw stun grenades into crowds and then use the crowd's panic and disorientation as signs of violent resistance. Police shot a man outside Albuquerque for flinching after he had a flashbang thrown at him. Cops wearing full armor is reasonable during something like the North Hollywood shoot-out, but not in broad daylight, with no firearms violence being responded to, creeping around weapons-up.

My reaction to this situation is not outrage, at least not one comparable to that of Ferguson... it's that this is Stupid, it makes anyone who buys into its logic Stupid, and it leads to more aggressively judgmental Stupidity. Broadcasting this kind of middle-school rhetoric makes people less capable of approaching a situation like this with something approaching nuance.

#46 Posted by Veektarius (4932 posts) -

The problem with Battlefield Hardline is that almost no one wants it. Its depiction of the militarization of police forces is exaggerated almost to the point of parody. Trying to use it as the basis of an argument about social norms in the United States is like attempting to base an argument about violent crime on the Postal series.

#47 Posted by Brodehouse (10104 posts) -

@random45 said:

They actually have that quote in the fucking article, and yet they still try to push this whole "This game is wrong" angle. This is such a flimsy pretense for an article that it actually pisses me off. Why is killing criminals as a cop any different than killing terrorists as a marine? If you're against Call of Duty: Hardline, then you better be against ALL Call of Duty games, because other than location, there's NO difference at all.

Consider also that the same game features hardened criminals in the midst of a violent heist operation wantonly shooting police in order to escape. Players play as those characters and shoot at players playing police characters. 10 years ago, they would have leaned on that in order to find some way to demonize a game and present themselves as considerate, caring, moral authorities. Due to current events however, we're leaning the other way, and they are presenting police characters shooting at criminal characters as being emblematic of the violence in Ferguson.

There's no real artful lines of logic here, it's merely This Game Has The Bullets In It, The Games With The Bullets In It Make The Bad Things Happen.

#48 Posted by JasonR86 (9746 posts) -

This game can't win can it? It's a bit silly to me to compare this game, that has been in development for so long, to a crisis situation that is relatively new.

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#49 Edited by pyrodactyl (2202 posts) -

@giantstalker said:

Pure leftist bullshit, but I expected little else from a Polygon opinion piece.

Hardline is an exaggeration of a worst-case policing scenario. Similarly, regular Battlefield is an exaggeration of worst-case conventional warfare. The only real difference is that I thought Hardline was a considerably worse game after its initial beta.

Plante is naive enough to compare this with a real, much different, still-developing situation; in so doing, he shows his lack of knowledge about either. Still, at no point did this stop him from wheeling out a bunch of stale liberally-slanted arguments about the militarization of police, the evils of violent FPS'es, and the attitudes of the public which supports them.

Of course he conveniently forgets the changing nature of policing, and it's a given he has no clue about the nature of the equipment which they use and operate (even when it's overwhelmingly defensive compared to the military). No, instead we get to see him build his own convenient archetypes and caricatures: Armored vehicles are tools of oppression, body armor makes you a bad person, and of course guns and lethal force are inherently evil.

I guess the Army and Marine Corps are inherently evil too, which is why we'd never want the police to resemble them in any way whatsoever. But I digress... I really regret clicking on that link and giving this trash traffic. But Plante's basic assumptions, his supporting arguments, and his entire premise is so awful I had to try and warn others. It's that bad.

I have to agree that Polygon is stretching the context to make the piece but ''overwhelmingly defensive''? What's defensive about assault rifles, mounted high caliber turrets and sniper rifles AIMED AT A CROWD OF US CITIZENS? This kind of stuff is appropriate for hostage situations, terrorist attacks and other extreme situations. As it's become widely available it's been use in the pointless and costly ''war against drugs'' 90% of the time. Mountains of equipment purchase to fight a war we can't win and now it's sitting around so why not use it to control protesters. Now why not use it too raid dance clubs and look for minors (they did that not to long ago). Where does it go from there?

#50 Posted by EXTomar (4863 posts) -

There is a bit of hyperbole being thrown around here. People should be offended because the author misses the point instead of debating which side has the higher moral ground in Ferguson. Shesh.