It would be somewhat of an understatement to say that the American and Cuban governments have had a rocky relationship since the island nation's institution of communism under Fidel Castro over 50 years ago.
With Treyarch's latest title Call of Duty: Black Ops putting players in the shoes of military operatives tasked with executing the young Castro before his regime could take shape, it's no surprise that the Cuban press has voiced its disapproval. Cubadebate, a state-run news website has denounced the game, and taken this opportunity to once again accuse violent videogames of perverting and twisting young minds.The CIA has made dozens of attempts on the life of the Cuban President, all to this point unsuccessful. One of the first missions of Black Ops allows the player to take part in an urban assault on Havana, shooting their way to Castro's stronghold.
The article denouncing the title, posted on Cubadebate seems to imply that one of the motivations behind the game's focus is American wish fulfillment:
"What the United States couldn't accomplish in more than 50 years, they are now trying to do virtually"
So it would seem that the politics at play between the United States and Cuba are still functioning as normal. The debate concerning violence in videogames has reached America's highest court, so it's clearly on the minds of many. While recent events have shown that Black Ops does bring about violence, it wasn't the game's influence on young gamers that was to blame.
Nevertheless, the Cuban government seems to think that the violence in games like Black Ops will ultimately result in dysfunctional citizens:
"This new video game is doubly perverse ... On the one hand, it glorifies the illegal assassination attempts the United States government planned against the Cuban leader ... and on the other, it stimulates sociopathic attitudes in North American children and adolescents."
Cuba is certainly not alone in taking issue with the Call of Duty series, but the argument is a difficult one to make. Those who have picked up a copy of the title are already aware that the game contains a fair share of mindless killing, but their is also a depth to gameplay that the game's critics often overlook.
If the direct relationship between violent games and real violence is to be believed, then the massive fan following the CoD franchise enjoys would also be one of the most violent criminal organizations in the world. Considering that there aren't 15 million more murderers rampaging through city streets on release day, the issue is clearly not as simply as some would have us believe.
We'll all have to wait for the Supreme Court to let us know whether or not we're all on our way to becoming sociopaths, so why not try your hand at an incredibly successful shooter in the meantime?
Get your chance to see the Cold War glorified in Call of Duty: Black Ops now on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.