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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prh99""We are what we repeatedly do..."10/30/2014 - 12:30pm
Andrew EisenI would, however, call someone who routinely kills time by playing random games on their phone a gamer.10/30/2014 - 12:15pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, AE, Yeah, that is why I have a hard time understanding critics of Sarkeesian. I look at her videos as a Feminist review of video games, but for some reason, others look at them as personal attacks.10/30/2014 - 12:01pm
E. Zachary KnightDefinitely a good answer. That is the way I lean. If you actively chose to stop gaming, or just stopped out of habit, then yeah, you are no longer a gamer.10/30/2014 - 11:45am
Matthew WilsonAE i agree, but it is worth pointing out the fact that that is whats happening.10/30/2014 - 11:45am
quiknkoldbehavior to warrant having a Title that doesnt involve a piece of paper.10/30/2014 - 11:43am
quiknkoldwaiting in line. Thats not being a Gamer. Thats akin to me reading a Pamphlet in line and calling myself an active reader. or watching a movie trailer on a tv in walmart and calling myself an active movie goer. There has to be some form of repetitive10/30/2014 - 11:42am
quiknkoldbeing A Gamer is a Conscious decision. I am consciously engaging in this form of media and showing some form of enthusiasm. The only person I Wouldnt call a gamer is somebody who has a random game on their phone just to kill 5 minutes cause they are10/30/2014 - 11:41am
E. Zachary KnightSo how much time must pass since the last time you played a game before you are no longer a gamer?10/30/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew Eisen"Plays" is present tense so the clarification doesn't seem necessary to me.10/30/2014 - 11:18am
quiknkoldI would change that from "One who plays games" To "One who currently plays games". Like my friend as a kid playd games but then he stopped and hasnt for the last decade+ so I wouldnt call him a Gamer.10/30/2014 - 11:16am
Andrew EisenHmm, that sounds like a great idea for a series of articles! I bet they'd be well-received and not taken the complete wrong way at all!10/30/2014 - 11:12am
Andrew EisenThat's right, gamer simply means one who plays games. That's it. The idea that "gamer" refers to something very limited and specific, well, that's no longer applicable in this day and age of mainstream gaming.10/30/2014 - 11:12am
Andrew EisenMatthew - As I said last night, that is not a bad thing. Different types of reviews to serve different interests is a GOOD thing and should be encouraged! There is not, nor should there be, only one way to review a game or anything else.10/30/2014 - 11:01am
ZippyDSMleeAnyone see this? http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/10/29/1339617/-Cartoon-Gamergate-Contagion-Spreads?detail=facebook10/30/2014 - 10:55am
E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, Matthew, yeah, there is no "wrong" way to review a game. It all depends on who the reviewer wants reading the review.10/30/2014 - 10:48am
quiknkoldhas their own stream, you are a gamer. I think the only prerequiset is to Play Games for Enjoyment10/30/2014 - 10:21am
quiknkoldI always felt the Gamer Identity was expressing an enthusiasm for Gaming in general. There are different degrees to that. If you say "I love this game and play it, lets see what else" with Ipad game, you are a gamer. If you are a retro game collector who10/30/2014 - 10:20am
NeenekoIt is long overdue, and things will probably settle down when they accept that the industry does not cater to them and them alone and go back to posturing within their own subculture.10/30/2014 - 10:10am
NeenekoThe community has always been split, with many factions within it, and they used to not interact all that much. Now they are having to confront they are not alone and thus not the one twue gamer identity.10/30/2014 - 10:09am
 

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