02-27-2009, 03:29 PM
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No 'Call of Duty' without 'Rules of War'
Evan Spencer wanted to play “Call of Duty: World at War.” So he asked his dad.
No 'Call of Duty' without 'Rules of War' - On the Level- msnbc.com
Hugh Spencer wasn’t initially thrilled about the idea of his son playing the World War II-based game. “I’ve never really enjoyed first-person shooter games,” he confesses. “They’re just not my favorite aesthetic.”
But the elder Spencer agreed to his son’s request, on one condition: Evan would have to read all four treaties from the Geneva Conventions first. And then, agree to play by those rules.
This story was posted on BoingBoing earlier this week, and it’s been picked up by the game blogs. Most commenters applaud Spencer’s novel approach. But some get downright juvenile and nasty, criticizing dad, questioning whether you can even play “Call of Duty” and abide by the Geneva Conventions — and writing mean things about his son. You know — typical Internet venom. Aimed at a 13-year-old kid.
Spencer the elder is taken aback by all the flaming. He certainly doesn’t expect his son to consult the written rules while he’s playing (he might get fragged, after all). But dad wanted his son to “be aware that there are things called rules of war.”
Spencer and his wife, Helen, have two sons: Evan and Simon, 15. Both like to game, although Simon is more of a “Final Fantasy” type. The boys have “just about every console out there,” says dad, but the games in their Toronto home are mostly E-rated, with very few teen or mature-rated titles. The “Call of Duty” conversation was the first time that “the rubber had hit the road,” says Spencer.
World War II isn’t just pixels on a screen for dad, who works as interpretive designer for museums and other public exhibitions. His uncle was a U.S. Marine in the Pacific Theater during World War II. And his grandfather fought in both world wars. Many people, he says, have been in subsequent wars, and “people are in war, right now. And it’s not a game. It’s really not a game.”
When Evan realized dad was serious about the “Call of Duty” contingency, he read up on the Geneva Conventions. After talking it over with dad, Evan eventually got his prized game.
Spencer agreed to speak with me about why he and his wife decided to institute some “rules of war” in their home; following is an edited transcript of our conversation.
You can read the transcript on the web-site.
I find this fascinating.
I am trying to picture somebody playing "Grand Theft Auto" while observing all U.S. road rules. "You forgot to turn on your blinker son".
"Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value."