Call of Juarez: The Cartel Criticism Continues

February 17, 2011 -

Community leaders in city of Ciudad Juarez and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office line up to complain about Ubisoft and Techland's latest game in the Call of Juarez series. The new game, Call of Juarez: The Cartel, is set in the present day, which has put it on the radar of people that are dealing with real-world violence from Mexican drug cartels.

Community leaders in Ciudad Juarez, say that Ubisoft’s new game glorifies the violent lifestyle of drug cartels and being "a hit man."

"Lots of kids say they want to be a hitman, because they are the ones that get away with everything," youth worker Laurencio Barraza told Reuters.

That city, according to Reuters, averaged eight murders a day last year and - at the start of this year - at least 40 residents from El Paso have been murdered while visiting. Barraza works for the  Independent Popular Organization, which tries to keep the youth of the city out of the violent drug cartels.

"This glorifies violence, as if victims were just another number or another bonus," he added.

Commander Gomecindo Lopez of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office feels the same way. He lost a jailer in a shooting last March. While visiting Ciudad Juarez, the man, his wife and their unborn child were killed.

"In games you get hurt, you die and you get another life. In real life, you only die once," said Lopez.

Lopez compared the game to "narco corridos," Mexican ballads that glorify the violent culture of drug trafficking.

"This goes along the lines of narco-songs that portray cartel leaders as heroes, but both are a gross misrepresentation of who they are," Lopez said. "They are criminals."

Ubisoft says that, despite the setting and story, the latest Call of Juarez game is purely fictional and for entertainment:

"Call of Juarez the Cartel is purely fictional and developed by the team at Techland for entertainment purposes only," a Ubisoft spokesperson said. "While Call of Juarez the Cartel touches on subjects relevant to current events in Juarez, it does so in a fictional manner that makes the gaming experience feel more like being immersed in an action-movie than in a real-life situation."

Source: Reuters


Comments

Re: Call of Juarez: The Cartel Criticism Continues

With an average of almost ten murders per day in the real city of Juarez, I should think people would be better off trying to stop that, rather than focusing on a game that (even with high kill rates of today's ultra-violent games) would find it hard to even match the reality of the violence in that city.

According to all the stuff I've read, much of the violence in Ciudad Juarez derives from high levels of corruption among the city's top officials. I'm not surprised that community leaders would want to keep the public unaware of their city's depravity. How inconvenient that the makers of this game can't be silenced as easily as the poor innocent female factory workers who tend to turn up dead on a daily basis in Ciudad Juarez.

Maybe the game can do what Juarez's community leaders have failed to do so far - make people aware enough of Ciudad Juarez's problems so that something can be effectively done about them. Maybe that's what the city's top officials are really afraid of.

Re: Call of Juarez: The Cartel Criticism Continues

Have these people come out and criticized any of the million movies about this kind of thing? No? Well then tell them to shut up. These are bunch of older people who do not understand gaming, rather they fear it. They still think that gaming is only for children, when children under 18 make up only roughly 25% of the market and the voluntary ratings system has much enforcment than that for movies.

Adults are free to play whatever they like. Children are free to play whatever their parents deem to be ok. These people have ZERO right to step into a creative field and try and censor it. Eventually this old guard of technically unsophisticated people will die off and people will stop making these idiotic statements.

Re: Call of Juarez: The Cartel Criticism Continues

What I find interesting is that I'm having a hard time imagining this sort of criticism for any other form of media. It sounds like what they're complaining about is that it's a game, and thus can't and shouldn't touch upon any current issues. Does this mean that games should be unlike other forms of media?

Perhaps these people would complain about anything that mentions a Cartel, but wouldn't that make them highly sensitive people about this issue? Wouldn't it be better to devote their energy to solving problems rather than complaining about fiction?

Re: Call of Juarez: The Cartel Criticism Continues

Exactly. No Country For Old Men touched on drug runners and Mexico, but nothing is said about that, it's just accepted as part of what the film explores. These politicians are doing the usual presumption that the game will glorify the cartels and never criticise them one iota. We don't even know much more about the game beyond the concept anyway!

Some idiots glorify Scarface (gangster rappers mostly, it seems) yet that movie clearly shows the price that drug barons face for their chosen lifestyle. It's like Full Metal Jacket - there are arguments that it's pro-war and anti-war. I'd like to think it's more of the latter, but that's a whole separate debate.

Re: Call of Juarez: The Cartel Criticism Continues

"Lots of kids say they want to be a hitman, because they are the ones that get away with everything," youth worker Laurencio Barraza told Reuters.

Uh, really?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that none of these critics have played, watched, or even seen video of the game.  I hope I'm wrong.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Call of Juarez: The Cartel Criticism Continues

To be honest one of my silly dreams as a teenager was to be a hitman. Of course as I grew older it starts to look like a pretty dumb idea considering the amount of effort required and well, networks and stuff. Plus as a hitman you never get to see the juicy stuff. (you know, the story and all that) 

Re: Call of Juarez: The Cartel Criticism Continues

My own editorial on that very line is thus:

So the solution is to censor/ban a computer/video game rather than demand that the citizens, police force, legal system, politicians/city officials, etc actually DO something, or something more than what is done now, to bring an end to that preception?  After all, if the children, and even adults, have the preception that actual cartel members and leaders are able to get away with various crimes, then the problem is far deeper than their depictions in ficticious media.

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Call of Juarez: The Cartel Criticism Continues

Nor worked with children.  As someone who does (in mental health) I have yet to hear a single child express the desire to "grow up" to be a hitman.

Re: Call of Juarez: The Cartel Criticism Continues

 to be fair i might imagine that this be something that would vary on location... Children living in a highly violent area are likely to have a much more different view on life than children growing up in less troubling areas. 

Re: Call of Juarez: The Cartel Criticism Continues

I imagine it would be a very regional thing.

In some areas, hitmen are pretty high on the totem pole and have a better standard of living then much of the population, so they do get idealized.

 
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Matthew WilsonI updated to a clean instill of windows 10.07/29/2015 - 2:36am
Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
TechnogeekYes, because actively trying to convince advertisers to influence the editorial content of media is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, especially for a movement that's ostensibly about journalistic ethics.07/28/2015 - 11:02pm
Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
MattsworknameDitto kotaku, Gawker, VOX, Polygon, ETC07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
 

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