Last week, President Obama and his National Security team reportedly got to witness a live feed of the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Seeing the photos of Obama and his posse staring at monitors and huddled around a table covered in laptops and wires, it struck me that this bizarre sporting event, if it happened as reports describe, probably wasn't too far removed from a tense game of Counter-Strike.
Undeterred by the thousands of too soon's that would inevitably follow, one game modder took that thought to the next logical step and created a Counter-Strike: Source map which simulates the American raid on the world's #1 bad guy. The map, created by a modder named Fletch, reconstructs the site of Osama's last stand using publicly available data. "Honestly," comments gaming website GamePron, "we're a little surprised that it took this long."
As stupid as it might sound, I find this kind of reactionary simulative construction really interesting. I was pretty entrenched in the CS community for several years, and while the existence of maps that mimic real-world spaces is nothing new, what really blows my mind is that I can't honestly imagine this one carrying the same stigma as other examples in the past.
Traveling back to 2007, you might remember a story about a student who was suspended for creating a Counter-Strike map that resembled his high school. It was during a period of heightened anxiety in the wake of the shootings at Virginia Tech, which caused an abominable ruckus in the anti-videogame camp after loud-mouths like the now-disbarred lawyer Jack Thompson wrongfully claimed the Vtech shooter got his inspiration from playing games like Counter-Strike.
I'm really interested to see whether those same anti-videogame activists condemn Fletch's Abbottabad map as quickly as they did that one student's private attempt at recreating a familiar space. By their logic, isn't the Osama raid sim doing just as much to promote violence? And how about this little gem which revels in the killing itself? Or does a targeted assassination led by the good guys not count?
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