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Black Ops 2...Starring Oliver North?



[Stand by for a lot of Blacks Op 2 content coming to Burke's Joystick!  I am finding it to be representative of what is best about gaming:  it is thought provoking, exciting, and wonderfully produced!]

Imagine my surprise when during one of the early moments of Treyarch's superlative shooter, Black Ops 2,  an animated character walks up to me and I am struck by a sense of familiarity.  I think: "I know this guy...."


"Hey!  That's Oliver North!" I exclaim.  And, sure enough, he is introduced as just that!  How cool is that?

Why would that be cool, you ask?  
 

 Well, for the simple reason that a lot of games have tried to incorporate real people into their content, but the animation has often fallen so short that the avatar is only vaguely reminiscent of the actual flesh and blood person it is meant to portray.  Outside of iconic historical figures who are usually easily recognizable in most games (how can't you successfully capture the appearance of the 'bulldog' Churchill, for example?), this is the first time I can recall being able to easily spot a figure of lesser historical prominence without the game first pointing out his identity.  

I guess it isn't a surprise that Oliver North is in the game.  He did, after all, make the first commercial for Black Ops 2, something that had irked leftists everywhere:



Oliver North isn't the only historical figure in Black Ops 2 either.  In addition to him, I have already encountered Noriega, the ousted dictator of Panama who made the mistake of getting on George H. W. Bush's bad side (one thing about the Bushs: they don't hesitate to squish dictators who like to stick their finger in the eye of the America Bald Eagle).  I even have walked the decks of the USS Obama, an aircraft carrier.  One person I have not yet encountered, but who is most definitely in the game, is this fellow:


In-game Secretary of Defense David Petraeus and Louis Gossett Jr. chew the fat

That's right, former Iraq general, and now former CIA director, David Petraeus!  Unfortunately, though, I am sad to learn that neither one of the Stepford wives, Paula Broadwell nor Jill Kelley, are in the game.  I'd imagine it would make for quite a challenging gameplay mechanic for David Mason to have to avoid the unseemly behavior, harassing emails, and obsessive stalking of these two viragoes (I wonder what type of unlock you could get for completing that challenge?  Send me a reply with your suggestions).

When asked about the appearance of Petraeus, Activision released this statement:

General Petraeus was not paid, was not involved in the creation of the game, and has not been asked to endorse the game. Call of Duty: Black Ops II and its fictional storylines are aimed at providing fun and enjoyment. It is clear to game players that his character and others that are based on real-life figures are fantasy.
Including Gen. Petraeus and other real-life figures was strictly a creative decision made many months ago when the storyline was drafted. We are not commenting further on the latest news or Gen. Petraeus. His service to his country and career accomplishments are a matter of public record.

Regardless, I, for one, am getting quite the kick out of these recent historical personalities in the single player campaign of Black Ops 2.  Frankly, I am sick to death of running into World War II figures in games, and never understood the obsession with all things Kennedy and Vietnam (most gamers are Gen Xers and not Baby Boomers for Pete's sake!).  Black Ops 2's switch to the recent past of the 1980s and forward therefrom is much appreciated by this Gen Xer.  I mean, I lived through the events portrayed in these flashbacks, so they have a great emotional resonance for me.  Perhaps that is why I am enjoying the story in this campaign unlike any other in recent memory?

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