I have a history degree (well, an Arts degree in history… whatever). I basically majored in the Second World War. Or, I majored in non-fictional story-telling. I’m not one of those people who bought the Jane’s books and memorized every piece of machinery from the war, but I know a stupid amount of information about it.
What’s weird about World War II is that there’s something for everyone. That sounds a little fucked up. It is. But here’s a great example: I’ve never considered the Pacific Theatre to be my forte. I’m sure veterans of the Pacific campaign would have said “you and me both, buddy.” I think it’s probably pretty common for people who are WWII enthusiasts to gravitate towards the European campaign. It’s sexier. There’s Nazis, crazy huge tanks, dogfights, thompsons, Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 3, paratroopers, giant beach invasions, hedgerows, Patton, Rommel… man. There’s just so many interesting stories.
Maybe it’s because I’m Canadian, but I just don’t find the Pacific Theatre all that interesting, despite the fact that it’s how America got involved (fast tip for Americans: no one except your president thought fighting Hitler was a good idea until Japan whacked you with bombs… just sayin’), and where the war finally came to a close through the birth of atomic warfare.
Or maybe it’s because it’s all boats, planes, and jungly warfares. Can you imagine dying by drowning in a sinking boat? Trapped in compartments while the pressure builds? Terrifying.
Anyway, the whole point of the Pacific Theatre of Operations series is to live out the battles of the Pacific Theatre in a turn-based format, hoping to somehow perform better than your real-life counterparts. For some reason I want to say this is incredibly stupid, except I played a shitload of Close Combats 2 through 5 and loved the shit out of them. But there’s something really weird about obtuse icons over shitty maps representing rpg-like number chugging for Pearl Fucking Harbour. It feels wrong.
I sort of can’t believe I just wrote that, but it’s the case. I’ve played probably three-hundred or more digital tours of duty in Normandy alone. I’ve probably blown up more Germans with a controller than any veteran killed with a rifle. And yet, the Pacific Theatre almost feels like it should be off limits. It seems like it was a more difficult fight… or maybe a more passionate one. It was the front where democracy illustrated why you wouldn’t like it when it’s angry.
So for some reason I feel like PTO might be the worst. An obsfucation of destruction with plane and boat icons representing real lives lost. I guess the more interesting question is why that obfuscation bothers me when the ringing sound of a headshot in CoD: World at War doesn’t.
We’re probably monsters.