Gamer response to the middle east

I’ve just finished playing a game of Call of Duty 4, online.

Voted best game of 2008 by many, it has a very loyal following, across 4 different game platforms. Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Mac. Online, gamers increase their rank by killing opponents and completing challenges. This ranking system is used to balance groups of gamers, who play as either American, Middle Eastern or Russian. Take on a gamer tag, create your set-up and head out to kick butt. A world away from the world, until that first bomb dropped on Gaza.

for anyone living under a rock for the past few days, or enjoying a sun drenched holiday without an internet connection, there has been a flair up in the Middle East. An area of contention since religion was invented, military confrontations tend to polarize, with impassioned supporters of either side sharing emotions and points of view across blogs, tweets and SN’s.

But over the past few days i have noticed another area. gaming. This particular experience happened on a mac, playing COD4. Since the most recent fighting in the Middle East began, i have experienced an angry intensity against characters that represent US troops, at a level i have never felt before. and i play daily.

the past few days have seemed intensely one sided against gamers playing on US teams. Playing as a middle eastern character, suddenly has taken on some kind of symbolism. like it was a statement of disapproval for what is currently happening.

the observation didn’t solidify for me until i noticed that gamers had changed their gamer tags, to include names like n00bush and outnow (tags on Mac COD4 don’t link with any other profile and gamers regularly restart their rank building with new tags after they reach the maximum 55). this was behaviours i hadn’t really seen before. and i have dedicated a quantifiable amount of time to COD4 in the last few months.

there are is no audio chat on the mac version of the game, only text, so i can’t be 100% accurate about who is playing. but there are a few clues. it is mac only, so probably college kids, designers, most creative industries contributes, across what i would guess is a fairly large age spectrum, upwards.

not sure if this is true across all platforms, but an interesting way to make a statement i thought.