*Spoiler Warning* There are portions of this post that may be considered spoilers, proceed at your own risk –PB
First off I would like to get out of the way the fact that I am Canadian. I never have had the pleasure of visiting the impressive capitol of the United States, to see the Washington Monument or the Apotheosis of George Washington. Only in books, TV, and video games have I visited this city. If my recent video gaming has taught me one thing, that if I ever want to see this city and all its wonderful architecture for myself, I better do it quickly. Because if it is not an all out air invasion, a ground war, or a thermonuclear war, it appears that Washington D.C. is in for some rough time in the near future. Here is a look at me in the virtual Washington D.C. over the past year.
Fifteen Minutes into the Future: Modern Warfare 2
The hottest game on the planet ratchets up the controversy even further with the inclusion of levels that feature street-to-street fighting in the D.C. suburbs, finally culminating in a titanic battle that takes place in the Washington Mall area. I know that there has been a lot of talk regarding the ‘No Russian’ level in the early part of the game, but I almost found these levels to resonate with myself even further. Just the idea of a ground war taking place on American soil is a difficult one to wrap your head around, never mind the combat taking place right into the President’s Oval Office. As viewers of the news and world events, how often have we seen the President speaking from the White House, to actually (virtually) be there definitely made ponder the possibilities of such an attack and what it would mean for the world.
So this is my first example of gaming’s attack on the U.S. Capitol. Events later in Modern Warfare 2 really put a stake into D.C. heart, but that discussion will be for another post. Next I will look at the battle that raged over the skies of Washington D.C.
Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. Takes to the D.C. Skies With Unparalleled Realism
Clearly Washington D.C. can’t catch a break. At least in Modern Warfare 2 it was the Russian Army that invaded U.S. soil. In Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. a PMC company has the nerve to attack the country. During said attack one of levels features an attack on Washington D.C. What sets this attack apart from the one I previously discussed in Modern Warfare 2 is that you can see the entire city from the air. This view of the city is not just some sort of artist rendition, rather it is a super-accurate recreation based on the GeoEye technology. The GeoEye Ikonos is a $100 million dollar satellite situated 423 miles above the surface of the Earth creating accurate maps like the ones you can play in H.A.W.X.
In this level you thwart the enemies advance on the nation’s capitol, the city does not seem to be too worse for wear after this attack. I wish I could say the same for the next game as it features a walk through the wasteland.
Fallout 3 Features the D.C. Wasteland
In 2077 the United States engaged in a nuclear exchange with the Chinese leaving the bulk of the planet a smoking husk. But humanity has survived, some in Vaults under the ground while others survived the aboveground hardships of the post-nuclear nightmare. In Fallout 3 the game takes place in the rubble that was once Washington D.C. and its surrounding countryside. The stylized look of Fallout is based strongly on a world that never really got past the 1950’s, so while the city is for the most part recognizable, it diverges sharply in its post 50’s architecture. Fallout 3 was my most played game over the past 12 months, logging in nearly 150 hours. I could not get enough of exploring the city, its transit system, and its wastelands. Fallout 3 will lock you in and keep you busy for a long time.
Fallout 3 is the reason for this post. It has made me deeply curious about this great city, that is probably why I paid particular attention to the events in Modern Warfare 2 and Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. At the beginning of the post I said I had never been to D.C., but because of this interest I really do want to visit the city and see all the incredible monuments first hand. To end on a light note, not all gaming in D.C. is bad, I had a blast in the past racing the city streets of the city in Project Gotham Racing 2. I may have to go back and play that so I can see the city in all its glory.