Somewhere between the Greatest Generation and Generation X lies a vast expanse of American history. Though World War II is safely enough in the past to explore freely, and our current war on terror close enough to inspire (occasionally uncomfortable) ripped-from-the-headlines games (and plenty of movies, books, and television), that great middle section has been largely unexplored by interactive entertainment--until now.
Dan: With a mighty stroke of the virtual pen, the Call of Duty series has single-handedly brought everyone's attention to the Cold War era. But this is not the Cold War of John le Carre or James Bond; instead the brutal small-arms firefights and squad skirmishes feel more like today's unconventional warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, just redesigned for a different decade. It's modern warfare, just in a slightly less modern package.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. Often, the most effective way to tell a story is through time-shifting and indirect symbolism; it's pretty much the foundation of the narrative experience. Interestingly, this particular setting is uniquely underused in video games--compared even with the Civil War or various ancient conflicts. I'm not sure there's an adequate explanation as to why there have been so few Vietnam-era games (and even fewer Korean War games); perhaps the baby boom generation controlling the purse strings of game developers and publishers felt it off-limits, or inaccessible to younger gamers who had not lived through the tumultuous era. … Read more