Call Of Duty Ghosts Just Can’t Stand Those Awful Women

By John Walker on January 23rd, 2014 at 10:00 am.

Call Of Duty’s online world has something of a reputation. A reputation for being a cesspit of revolting idiocy, bile and cruelty, rather spoiling it for those who just want some multiplayer shootyfun. So it is to this that Activision have targeted their latest trailer for Ghosts Onslaught. To the idiots, I mean.

Call Of Duty is, in Activision’s mind, what men do when they can finally escape the horrors of hideous wives or children. A game for men only. MEN. Not those awful nags! Just the lads! Cor eh guys, don’t the missus just go on and on and stop you from enjoying shouting obscenities into your microphone because of something about raising the kids or whatever she’s whinging about now?! Because it’s apparently 1994, and we’re all reading Loaded.

My explanation: an advertising executive time travelled from a more pathetic age. “Hey guys,” he said, to the room full of other men. “What if we show massively traumatised women while men enjoy a sit down and a game of COD?” The others all sit up in interest, slicking back their slicked back hair. “Go on, go on,” says their 27 year old boss, coughing slightly on the cigarette he’s trying to smoke. “You’ve got our synergistic attention.”

“Okay,” continues the inspired one, “and you see…” He pauses, looks around the room at the open-mouthed rapture of his colleagues, and breathes in the moment. “Well ‘COD’ – that sounds a bit like ‘KID’. We could say…” He stops again, as everyone leans forward. “We could say, ‘CODNAPPED’!”

There’s silence for a moment. And then just the throng of applause. One man weeps with joy, and is immediately shot in the head. The rest lift our genius onto their shoulders, and carry him from the room, cheering and explaining to each other about their potential for consuming alcohol and that time they saw a boob.

And scene.

It’s rather pitiful really, isn’t it? Which is a bit of a shame, because blimey, the game bits look pretty decent. Call Of Duty: Ghost’s single player was utterly dreadful, but look at those massive alien things! That’s part of Extinction Episode 1: Nightfall. That bit looked pretty interesting. Just showing the game, I imagine they’d have appealed to not only the fuckwits they’re apparently targeting with the rest of the ad, but also, you know, other people. I’m pretty sure other people have some money too.

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490 Comments »

  1. coreyfaure says:

    Talk about sensationalism. The article pretended like that video was the worst, most sexist, horrendous video ever made. Then I watched it.

    I don’t like CoD, but really? Taking an ad that advertises an escape in general (and merely mentions relationships as an example) and saying that it is the worst piece of trash that ever happened? Lost credibility of the author. it’s like he/she is just looking for something to offend them.

    • Yosharian says:

      I was gonna post pretty much the same thing, but you beat me to it. There’s nothing even remotely sexist or ‘women-hating’ about this at all.

    • Snailgoop says:

      The author of the article is more insightful than you. He sees what you do not.

  2. Retrofrank says:

    I´m not a fan of the COD-Series, but I found that clip quite amusing.
    And that agressive little guy, they got for doing it, is one hell of an actor.You should really check out the stuff he does, like “Boardwalk Empire”.

    But yes, it would be a nice idea to do a female-gamers-version of this, perhaps with Michelle Rodriguez kidnapping her gamer-sisters from their boring nerd-friends.

  3. McCool says:

    I thought it was self-effacing and quite well made (as a satire of its own trailers/cut-scenes), pretty harmless stuff to be honest.

    Here is an idea, John: imagine the same trailer, but with CODBLOPS replaced with something more RPS friendly like Civ, or whatever personal time-sink game you happen to neglect YOUR real life because of. And fill in the monologue scenes with a prominent character from that game, and have the abduction be themed towards the game (for instance, an XCOM squad making an extraction in the sorts of social situations you find yourself wishing you were playing said game in). Does this help you understand the point of the advert a little better? It’s just a knowing in-joke, nothing more.

    The only part of your argument that holds any water is pointing out how sad it is that only the 20-something-male demographic is being targeted. The marketing executives responsible obviously though it would be more profitable to go after their main demographic aggressively, rather than dilute the message they are selling to their main fanbase by trying to be inclusive. Sad, but everyone on this site knows that COD is just a soulless exercise in pure marketing anyway; it is about as artistic as shaving foam. Why the obsession over how they market it?

    • TheWhomp says:

      I was under the impression Cod’s fanbase was stagnating, at least from what I’ve seen first-hand. If that does pan out they’re probably desperate to hang out to the one demographic they can rely on, instead of trying to convince people who are already over it.

      CoD trying to go for a different demographic doesn’t really make sense to me at all, though. CoD is *the* game for 20-something males, and they’re sticking to their formula until (I suppose) it stops making money. It’s like farmville or something in that it attracts huge number of ‘non-gamers’, so many in fact that it dwarfs ‘proper’ games and they can ignore everyone *but* the one type of person who’s into it. Although it finally caught up to Zynga, so maybe Cod will have to make a switch soon.

    • X_kot says:

      Take a gander at this promo for Civ V, McCool:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkHkINbrO7Y

      That’s how you do an in-joke advert without writing off a gender. And it has different ethnicities and ages!

  4. Totally heterosexual says:

    MY MASCULINITY

  5. Cockie says:

    I am dissapointed, there wasn’t a single fish in that ad, let alone one that gets kidnapped

  6. michaelfeb16 says:

    This whole article is silly. The ad was entertaining and lighthearted. Acting as though it were some affront to civilization and proper liberal beliefs is either an over-dramatic reach for attention (and ad impressions) or the showcase of a mind with a terribly twisted view on reality.

  7. fFreakazoid says:

    Oh RPS, your horse is so high I can barely see its mane

    • Don Reba says:

      It’s just John Walker, not RPS as a whole. I, for one, am thankful it is merely the feminism meme he is into. It could be something worse, like libertarianism or Scientology.

      • sistergodiva says:

        I would love walk a day in your shoes. To understand what a horrible backwater echo chamber you must live in to consider feminism a “meme”.

        • PaceCol says:

          “Feminism” is about increasing rights for women, and has long since ceased to be about equal rights. Equal rights are self explanitory. Anyone fighting for rights for either women OR men are inherently sexist. The fight should be for EQUAL rights.
          Yeh, and fuck men, how dare they have their own interests.

          • Tams80 says:

            If you don’t define yourself as an equalist who supports equalism, and rather feminism or masculism, you are sexist. Or just don’t subscribe to any and don’t care as lots of people seem to.

          • sistergodiva says:

            Oh? Please enlighten my to what agenda feminists have to give themselves more rights than men?

        • Don Reba says:

          I would love walk a day in your shoes. To understand what a horrible backwater echo chamber you must live in to consider feminism a “meme”.

          Just so we are on the same page, a meme is an idea that passes from person to person and mutates so as to adapt to its environment, the way genes do in biology. Religions are prime examples — you get a set of beliefs that encourages people to adhere to them through reinforcement, threats, and lies, and to disseminate them in prescribed manner.

          Feminism likewise has its own mythology, ways in which it keeps people engaged and encouraged to propagate it. It is not a pejorative — memes are what culture is made of. But I do feel John is using the site as a soap box for something that is as inappropriate as Mormon preaching would have been.

          The way to actually do good is to just not be an asshole. If a cult movement grants you license to be an asshole, then maybe it is not a good one to follow.

          • Snailgoop says:

            John isn’t being an asshole though. His article is insightful and what’s more important and exciting is that it’s TRUE. It vibrates truth. He dares to say what others will not, even when he is being thrashed for it. It’s amazing and awesome. It’s refreshing to see the truth out there in such bold letters in an article.

          • Don Reba says:

            Right, there is a lot of TRUTH in it, in capitals — the religious kind that is never backed by evidence.

  8. Tei says:

    I find interesting what the feminist is tryiing to do.

    Mens are born to hunt. So much is obvious. This why you get dead bored when you follow your girlfriend buying crap.
    Your genes tell you to enter wallmart, go directly to the thing you want to buy, get it, and get the fuck out of that place. His genes are different.

    X, XX, XY, XYYY, XXXXY, XXXY, XXXXY, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXx, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXYYYY

    We all are different, and feminism is fighting that.

    • AngelTear says:

      There could be a lot to say about your comment (“men are born to hunt. So much is obvious” Really? Ugh), but I’m going to focus on your last comment “We all are different, and feminism is fighting that.”

      Your point of view seems to be that All men are the same, and they are all different from women, who are also all the same. So, the correct view, according to you, is that everyone belonging to a certain gender is like all the other members of that same gender in some fundamental way. (And let’s not get into how racist your view would be if you replaced “men and women” in that system with “white and not-white”)

      I’m not going to ask where homosexuality and transsexuality fit into your view, but I’m just going to point out that feminism actively fights constraining gender roles. According to pretty much every variant of feminism, you should be allowed to be a masculine man, a feminine man, a feminine woman, a masculine woman and everything in between those two ends of the spectrum. Little girls should be able to play with action figures of soldiers and tanks without being looked down upon, and little boys should be able to play with dolls and like the colour pink without being looked down upon.

      It seems to me that the conclusion should rather be “We all are different, and our sexist culture is fighting that”

      Also consider the fact that maybe overall culture and ideology may be affecting people and unconsciously forcing them into stereotypes that do not fit their personality. There are 46 chromosomes, and yet according to you only the last two count.

    • TheWhomp says:

      Talking about feminism like it’s a monolithic entity isn’t going to go anywhere though. There’s such a huge number of feminists with such wildly different views that treating feminism as anything other than a broad term is pointless.

      There’s waves 1 through 4, sex positive, sex negative, trans inclusive, trans* inclusive, radical, pro-choice, anti-abortion and so on. And most of them will disagree on at least one key aspect of their ideology.

      So people are mostly going to take away what they see, I’m fairly fortunate in that I know and see a fairly decent cross-section of feminists, but it isn’t impossible for someone to only have experience with only one kind, whether they be ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

    • TheWhomp says:

      Oh and as for men being born to hunt, surely part of hunting is patience? It can’t all be chasing mammoths over mountains, otherwise I think we wouldn’t turned out pretty differently. So wouldn’t our natural nature kick in and let as wait patiently for our girlfriends to finish shopping? (on that note, the only kind of shopping I don’t enjoy is grocery – window shopping and the like can be great fun)

      But even if we were born to hunt, and now we’re bored because we cant. Why not try and ‘fix’ that? Why not, as a society realise that we’ve moved past that stage of our development, and try to focus on art and pleasure or something? (instead of as a society stubbornly resisting changes that could’ve happened decades ago, at least)

    • sistergodiva says:

      Maybe you should learn more about history, instead of just spouting some lame made up “biotruths”.

  9. derbefrier says:

    Reading this post this song kept repeating in my head.

    everwhere you looked there was confusion, violence, drama and drugs
    so many righteous revolutionaries spouting utopian love
    everyone shrouded in purple haze
    then one day they woke up from their dream state
    they found themselves no more at peace than before
    older, meek, and conformed

    empty causes
    a bluster for the soul, a fix for their mind
    empty causes
    cling to everything you find

    well, the shots rang out like popcorn
    and the Chief was hit and rushed out of sight
    the mohawk-chain, leather brigade rejoiced maliciously on that night
    someone cried out “fuck the government”
    his mates couldn’t define what he meant
    so no one gave him the time of day
    and the scene died away

    empty causes
    a war for the body, an army in the mind
    empty causes
    losing steam as time goes by

    could it be that everybody selfishly desires their own personal retinue
    and that causes are just manifestations
    of too much time and far to little to do

    empty causes
    direction for the soul, conviction for the mind
    empty causes
    cling to everything you find
    empty causes
    you’ve got yours and I’ve got mine

    I read the entire article before watching the video. I was expecting something much worse than I actually saw, a video about some dudes being at some social gathering they dont wanna be at wishing they were somewhere else. I dont think you have to be a man to releate to that and I think this article is quite self defeating. You really have to make a stretch to label this as sexisim. This looks more like an excuse to slander the COD audience with hyperbole while elevating us “enlightened” peoples egos with out really saying anything. an empty cause. I am sure you all feel good about yourselves though and that really what this is all about right?

  10. Philomelle says:

    In Activision’s very vague defense, they must have resigned to women having better taste than playing their games. Most women I know who enjoy the genre would rather spend their time on Warframe, Killing Floor, Team Fortress 2 and Borderlands.

  11. duncanthrax says:

    Not that I would play COD, but just watched it and must say it’s quite good, even without sound.

  12. db1331 says:

    John is white knighting all those wives and girlfriends so they will have sex with him while their men are codnapped.

  13. Stevostin says:

    I am all in for bashing sexism but when it’s done with humour like this, it’s just, you know… humour. It’s not like IT NEVER EVER HAPPEN that you’d like to get rid of socialites (like, you know, the missus) to dive into a good old violent man shoot.

    Now would have it been the same if ONE of the dude was a dudette ? Probably. But it would have been quite hypocrite too. Depsite all the bs men and women do tend to have different tastes in books, movies, games. It’s only an issue if you decide it is, which apparently the vast majority of men and women don’t.

    • AngelTear says:

      “Depsite all the bs men and women do tend to have different tastes in books, movies, games. It’s only an issue if you decide it is, which apparently the vast majority of men and women don’t.”

      I’m not convinced that this is the case. But even if it was so, it IS an issue when men who like “typically feminine” things and women who like “typically masculine” things get singled out and looked down upon. And that happens a lot in the gaming community (Tits or GTFO and all teh rest of the abuse women get simply for being women), let alone in the rest of the human spectrum of activities and interests.

      • Stevostin says:

        It only is an issue if you consider that advertising, or others, have to validate your choice of activities for you to feel good about it. Now if there was bashing of girl playing COD, that would be an issue. But I don’t think it’s what is happening.

    • TheWhomp says:

      There is a lot to say for the way society shapes us. There was a study I’ve never been able to find again that was talking about mental elasticity, or something like that. Basically how people use their brains actually changes it physically, which was then linked to things like men actually having weaker emotions than women – because while they were growing up they forced themselves to feel less. Then someone comes along and studies men, only to discover that they really aren’t as emotional as women, and the whole thing starts again.

      For a more solid example, how many man do you know who’ve tried on a skirt for a laugh? It’s fairly common knowledge that they’re fantastically comfortable, but few men wear them – despite the fact that the airflow is probably *very* beneficial. Lots of men don’t wear them in public, simply because it’s not worth the fuss – since it’d be automatically be a *statement*, instead of just a piece of clothing. Hell, if someone tried it around here they’d probably be dodging bottles every step – how would society *not* be affecting people’s choices?

      • Stevostin says:

        I for one did try a skirt and hated it – I didn’t look good in it :P

        Also the reason why so much women go for trousers is precisely because skirts aren’t actually that comfortable :D

  14. Shooop says:

    This is nothing more than the typical “Escape your mundane life for a few hours of beer/poker/sports/virtual explosions!” ad. It’s literally the same ad that’s been made the past 30 years and gets little more reaction from people than eye-rolls.

    It’s stupid, but it’s not another Dead Island Riptide torso fiasco. A simple “Oh look it’s one of these stupid things again” would have sufficed instead declaring a state of emergency. You’ve just handed the opposition more fuel for their (faulty) argument that feminists are hysterical reactionaries.

  15. hejkompis says:

    This disgusting fucking ad is a boss-shaming, friend-hating, family-oppressing, fancy-whatever-thing-marginalizing piece of shit.

  16. BobsLawnService says:

    Wow, this article strikes me as being overly-hysterical even for John.

    I found the ad rather amusing actually.

    The point of the ad is not that girls are icky (John must have closed the ad in frothing rage before the dudes were Codnapped from a work meeting and a boring family gathering.) it is all about escapism from day to day responsibilities – which is pretty much what gaming is about for all of us.

    • 00000 says:

      Escapism? How dare you state that’s all gaming is about.
      Some of us, like John, play video games for a living. How dare Activision imply that playing video games isn’t serious business, and not target their advertisements towards critical game journalists instead of those casuals with “other responsibilities.”

  17. ender1200 says:

    Not the smartest commercial around, but i see nothing wrong in using an escapist fantasy to market what is essentially an escapist fantasy.
    If i would be looking for a problem with the commercial i would point out that non of the “codnapped” people were woman. There are female COD players after all.

  18. Tams80 says:

    I wouldn’t mind being Codnapped. You get fed (without even lifting an arm) and get to play a computer game (even if it is a mediocre one at best) in a comfy chair.

    It’s not like I don’t shirk responsibilities and ignore people while gaming to some extent as it is.

  19. Jenks says:

    I can’t even imagine the amount of misery my life would have to be filled with to watch that video and come up with a rant like that. I think there are pills that might help you, John.

  20. newprince says:

    People are asking why John’s article was so sarcastic if he was trying to make a point against the ad.

    I’ll just leave this here:

    “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions.”

    You know, like the idea that men have to be kidnapped from their responsibilities in order to enjoy what they really’d rather be doing (blowing away virtual foreigners).

  21. jealouspirate says:

    A trailer about the joy of taking time to have fun and escaping various real-life obligations for a while, one of which happens to feature a man getting some alone time from his girlfriend.

    Funny how none of the other commitments like family events, your job, and boring parties never made it into John’s article. Really changes the whole tone.

  22. Ehetyz1 says:

    Welp, guess this was the straw that broke the camels back. What I mean is, the ad was well made and perfectly funny, and the awful social justice warrioring on RPS has reached a point where I’ve lost all interest to read this site.
    Deleting Rock Paper Scissors from my bookmarks. You used to be one of the better sources for games journalism, now this site is plagued with sub-kotaku clickbait. I won’t miss it.

    Yes, I registered just to say that.

    • NailBombed says:

      …. and yet, the world seems to keep turning and nothing of value was lost. Does your skewed sense of outrage fulfill you? Unless of course, this is meant as some kind of passive-aggressive satirical commentry.

    • Pliqu3011 says:

      Goodbye, we won’t miss you either. :)

      • agreed says:

        Posting goodbyes?

        It’s like you expect him to look over his shoulder as he is leaving.

    • tormos says:

      and not a single fuck was given that day

      • tormos says:

        I think I just missed an opportunity to say “and nothing of value was lost” at the most opportune time possible.

    • TheWhomp says:

      This seems kind of weird.
      If someone disagrees with a decision of a commercial entity, it’s unacceptable to complain about it – or to no longer support it (and say why). Both fairly reasonable things to do as a consumer. Going by the responses that this sort of thing usually gets – although there hasn’t been a “Thank god! You’re free from that evil man who forced you to read this!” yet.

      However, if the commercial entity is making a video game, suddenly the *only* acceptable option is to complain about it in the hopes that they will change something. Why don’t we all just liberate ourselves from the evil man forcing us to play Cod, and let it die quietly?

    • Alzu says:

      Man i just registered to say, DON’T GO. Don’t leave me with all these hyper sensitive politically correct pansies. I don’t want the comment section to be just people congratulating John for telling it how it is, for fighting the good fight.

      I come to RPS because i’m a PC only gamer and it’s pretty hard finding good PC focused sites. I don’t come here because i care about women’s rights issues or men or cats or anything else. I’m not a bad person, nor am i a particularly good one. I just care about PC games, that’s it. And Walker makes me feel more and more like the enemy with every passing article simply because i don’t care enough about women’s problems in the gaming industry.

      I dunno if you’ll ever read this but as opposed to all your other replies, i WILL miss you, internet stranger.

  23. GROM says:

    As a posh and high standing socialite who organises bi weekly brunches and soirees for our local Rotary, I find this ad highly offensive in its’ portrayal of our activities. Quite shocking indeed.

    Also fighting stereotypes with hyperbole, more stereotyping and sweeping generalisations of entire subcultures . Brilliant, just brilliant!

  24. Johnnyseven says:

    Seemed like a cool advert.
    I rarely comment here but I usually love reading it every day, just seems like there is a constant fishing expedition for anything that could be called sexist on this site lately. Sexism is bad, we get it. I’m sure if it were women being “CODnapped” away this somehow wouldn’t be sexist against men because apparently sexism against men isn’t a thing on the internet I don’t know.

  25. Horg says:

    It’s around this point that the reply system starts having a wobble. This public service announcement was brought to you by Horg, filling in for captain obvious.

  26. Turkey says:

    COD is one of those things that’s perpetually stuck in the time when it was at the height of its popularity, so it doesn’t really surprise when they roll out a commercial that seems more at home in the era of midnight game-releases and Mt. Dew sponsorships.

  27. Pow pow LAZERS! says:

    I don’t get this hissy fit, cod target audience is males from 16 to 35 so activision made an add targeted at this audience. Is this really newsworthy?

  28. Wachepti says:

    That actor turns up in the strangest places… From Snatch to This is England to starring in a COD commercial. Caught me off guard!

  29. PaceCol says:

    This is utterly disgraceful. Nut allergies are a very serious condition that have frequently caused fatalities. The way that those with a nut allergy are casually disparaged is an example of the sort of backwards thinking that belongs in the 90′s.

  30. jonahcutter says:

    It’s a targeted ad, as you point out yourself. Yet you don’t seem to grasp the concept of what a targeted ad is. It is targeted at a particular demographic, not at everybody. Seems silly to be angry over it being what you realize it is, no?

    And it’s not selling a hatred of women/children as you imply(nor of the bosses/coworkers which you seem to have not noticed), it’s selling escapism. Please note the bits (which you seem to have also not noticed) where the abductees return to their family, friends and coworkers.

    Perhaps you do not feel the desire for escapism from family and work responsibilities. That’s fine. Others do though (that’s okay too), and that is who the ad is targeted at. Declaring all those people of being “fuckwits” is, well, being rather a fuckwit yourself.

  31. Freud says:

    Holy overreaction, Batman. An action movie spoof of how hard it is to get gaming time as an adult is not an assault on women, children or business associates.

    It wasn’t even a trap, but you desperately try to reverse-engineer it into one so you can Walk(er) into it.

  32. NathanH says:

    It wouldn’t have been very hard to have a woman being codnapped too. It would have been quite a decent advert then. I guess it would have taken a bit of effort to work out how to do that in the best way, but not being arsed to try is for me more tedious than something like the Dead Island Torso. I mean, I can understand “we’re going to market heavily towards a particular demographic and our strategy for doing that is going to be somewhat exclusive no matter what” much more than “we’re going to market heavily towards a particular demographic and can’t be bothered to put in a little effort not to be exclusive”.

  33. EireJohn says:

    Managed to miss the closing paragraph first time around, that’s some pretty angry stuff for a light hearted advertisement!

  34. Burnouts3s3 says:

    I just find the whole commercial funny in the fact that it trivializes the idea of being kidnapped. Based on this commercial alone, one would get the impression “Oh boy! Getting Kidnapped is nothing but a barrel full of monkeys”. Never mind the clear mental and physical trauma one undergoes on being a victim. Even if, under the best of circumstances the kidnappers are being as nice as possible and allowing you to just sit on a comfy chair and play COD all day long, you are still being held against your will. This commercial comes under the assumption that you want to be taken away from your life, which you may or may not have spent all your childhood trying to create for yourself, being blindfolded and taken to an undisclosed location and have little to no contact with your loved ones. Slightly worse scenarios in this situation involve having your pinky chopped off and mailed to a loved one and you being bargained for ransom money.

    Now, I understand this is a fantasy and not meant to be taken seriously (thought if COD somehow hired an actual helicopter and not use a green screen effect for that bit, I will come ‘this’ close to laughing myself to death). But, if Call of Duty actually made this commercial on the set basis on offending people and getting additional tweets and social media jabs, then they are evil geniuses.

    Am I offended? No. Am I in stitches from this commercial? Yes.

  35. Nameless_1 says:

    Finding myself on your homepage after a year or more (and my old nickname gone who knows where, lol) and you’re still going on with these pathetic “news” composed of sexophobic nonsense junk. Aren’t you at least a little bit embarassed about it?

  36. BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

    Call me a retarded and disgusting sexist, but I didn’t pick up on any sexism when I watched that ad. Certain products have a certain audience in mind and the ads are meant to reflect that. The point isn’t to try and appeal to everyone. Isn’t it like having a female perfume advert and saying ‘they should have shown a guy putting it on as well because he shouldn’t be any less entitled to do so’? That may be so but you’re missing the point if you think that. Christ, I’m all for equality, but trying to force it down peoples throats under stupid circumstances, and making everyone who doesn’t include females in some form seem like disgusting pigs is a terrible mindset to have if you ask me.

    • NathanH says:

      You could easily add a woman to the codnapped list without doing much damage to the advert. There’s no real reason not to do it other than laziness or not thinking about it, neither of which are particularly virtuous reasons.

      I doubt it requires going into full rant mode but that’s just Mr Walker’s way.

      • BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

        I just feel like too many people are moving away from the thought of having both sexes included as being optional, and more towards the thought that it’s a neccessity to include both unless you want to have a legion of people calling you a godawful sexist. To be honest, if I’d seen a woman involved in the codnapping fiasco I would have literally felt no different whatsoever. Why is it viewed as something that was done with some sort of evil, scheming agenda behind it, instead of them just making it all males because it was a choice with nearly no thought involved? I’m more disgusted at the people who think they can judge exactly what types of people the creators are simply through watching an advert.

        • NathanH says:

          In general it’s correct to treat inclusion of group X into something as entirely optional. In the specific case where group X is being given a hard time in whatever area you’re thinking about, though, such neutrality isn’t really appropriate and you have a duty to think things through a bit more. The premise is that in online FPS gaming women are given a disproportionately hard time. I’m not familiar with online FPS gaming but from what I know about people in general and gamers specifically I’m happy to accept that premise as likely. If you accept this premise, you really ought to give some thought to it and, if you’ve got an opportunity to be inclusive at no significant cost, you ought to take it, because it can’t really hurt and it might help. That’s my opinion on the matter.

  37. kwyjibo says:

    Apparently, that COD is marketed towards men is newsworthy.

    I mean, it’s a gunbro game populated exclusively by frat fucks. It also became the most successful franchise of the last generation doing exactly this.

    “Just showing the game, I imagine they’d have appealed to not only the fuckwits they’re apparently targeting with the rest of the ad, but also, you know, other people. I’m pretty sure other people have some money too.”

    No they fucking wouldn’t. Activisions’ COD advertising has generally been really good, this Black Ops ad is just fantastic – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pblj3JHF-Jo

    Activision know their audience. And this isn’t an advert for the game. It’s an advert for the DLC. It’s preaching to the converted. Sorry that you’re not the target market John.

  38. Hef34 says:

    Commercial about men shirking their responsibilities to play a video games, makes a rant article about how it’s sexist.

    Yes it just so happen that women are a part of men’s lives, just like their jobs and social lives. So if the premise of the commercial is to take men away from their responsibilities so they can play a new dlc pack or whatever, then yes there’s going to a girlfriend and wife in it. That’s just something that most men can relate to.

    Also in case you didn’t know, the vast majority of people who play CoD are men, so yes any ad is going to be directed at them, go figure.

  39. MadTinkerer says:

    Eh, sorry John, I just found the commercial funny. I haven’t bought any CoD games since Modern 2 and don’t intend to, but I found that commerical funny. And not at all sexist. It’s not like women were the only ones being branded as annoying distractions from CoD, and it’s not like the whole tone wasn’t deliberately silly.

    I mean: come on, dude. You’re British. You know how Python sketches work and all that. You should understand this.

  40. BobsLawnService says:

    One last thing. RPS is becoming The Boy Who Cried Wolf of journalism. There is some work that needs to be done when it comes to involving women in the industry. RPS could really be a positive force for change but with all this hysterical screaming and crying of “wolf!” over absolute non-issues like this he is just alienating everyone but a tiny core of fellow fanatics and zealots.

    I’d love to see RPS hire someone who is able to write rational and level-headed articles on the topic of women in the industry and how it can be made to be more inclusive of them. Maybe then RPS could actually make a difference.

    Until then unfortunately we’re stuck with tantrums.

    • jonahcutter says:

      I agree with this. The issues are real (in the industry, though not in this ad). And RPS’s heart is in the right place. The problem is RPS’s thinking is so often muddled and/or shallow, they undercut their own stance.

      Insisting on raising issues of sexism in the gaming industry is great. But it’s shallow, poorly thought-out articles like this one that cast doubt on RPS’s ability to understand the issues in depth, and contribute insightful observations to a complicated, ongoing debate.

  41. DestroyYourEgo says:

    Instead of a long post, I’ll nutshell this up quicker than the ad took to blow it’s manload:

    Worst ad ever. For the worst game ever. With the worst community ever.

    P.S.- If that baby’s father would rather be “CODNAPPED” simply to play CoD, the kid’s clearly better off being raised without him.

  42. Piecewise says:

    I believe theres a bit of Forest for the trees going on here.

    The premise of the commercial is that an elite force of mercenaries will kidnap you, drag you out of your ordinary life and responsibilities and then let you play a shitty fps all day. Never mind the bizarre escapist concept of people wanting to completely abandon their lives to do nothing but play cod. Never mind the fact that this studio apparently thinks it’s game is so important to you that it should supersede all other things including relationships and career. Never mind that the commercial shows the four main responsibilities that may be effecting a man in his 20-30s, those being Family, significant other, Job or social gathering; and that those last two don’t involve women whatsoever.

    No. Lets focus on the fact that, in this completely implausible and frankly insultingly presumptuous scenario, that women are involved some of the time. And lets combine the fact that women are involved some of the time with the fact that cod’s audience of immature 13 year olds high on pixy sticks isn’t nice to girls (Frankly they’re not nice to anyone. If they’re not screaming “Faggot” they’re screaming some racial slur) to paint some sort of picture of systematic bigotry. OH and lets throw in some stereotyping of our own about how all business men are slimy American psycho types and apparently virgins? Seems like a weird thing to insult them with.

    Now, Mr.walker, I understand that it is difficult to get views for your little stories by presenting a balanced, reasonable, Plausible view. And that it’s frankly easier just to throw up a sensationalist title, cherry pick information and act morally outraged. But thats what we call yellow journalism and it’s been proven time and again that such things don’t bring meaningful change, it just brings anger and rash actions. So let me lay a few things out about the reality of this.

    Now, there’s a much quoted statistic about how females make up roughly half of the gaming market, something like 45% I believe it was. And that’s true enough (although it should be noted that that particular statistic includes things like facebook games and angry birds as “Games” which artificially inflates the numbers on both sides, and makes it hard to determine what the split is for more traditional games, but for these purposes, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that it’s about that much regardless) but it’s a bit misleading. Why? Well while the overall numbers are just about equal, the gender split by demographic isn’t.

    Here’s a nice chart that breaks down gender make up in certain games:
    http://www.casualnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/social_games_demographics.png

    As you can see, there are games and genres where women FAR outnumber men, and then there are genres where they’re about even, and then there are genres where men FAR outnumber women. Namely, Call of Duty with a split of 92% male to 8% female. As such, saying that COD is a game for guys, is a statement backed up by empirical data. The reasons for this kind of split are up for debate, and can be argued in several different ways, but lets focus in on the fact that, right now, COD is a game that attracts an overwhelmingly male audience.

    Now, when it comes to games like this, big triple A games with Tens of millions of dollars of backing, advertising is a huge chunk of the budget. Why? Well, because these big, massively expensive games need to sell 1.3 to 1.5 million units just to break even. And I could go on a big long rant about the inherent self destructive nature of ever increasing budgets and increasingly impossible sales requirements, but the thing you should get from this is that marketing is increasingly being driven to target the most lucrative audience in an attempt to sell the most units possible. They are pandering to their largest demographics because they desperately need to make their money back.

    And THAT is why is commercial exists as it does. Not because the marketing executives are shallow, hateful stereotypes that are easy to hate and insult and get all morally outraged at; but because men in their 20-30s of are the overwhelming demographic for this particular game. And so, in a desperate attempt to appeal to this market, they make commercials like this. THAT is why there is no woman gamer in this commercial being whisked away from her boyfriend. That is why there is no gay man being abducted from a date with his boyfriend. Not because of systematic bigotry or whatever reason you’d like to site. But because someone at infinity ward’s marketing department pulled up demographic data that said “The majority of the market for this game is males 20-30.” It is not bigotry or misogyny or chauvinism that drove this. It is shallow, pandering marketing driving by a bloated, inefficient publishing system whose massive budgets do more harm then good.

    So no, Mr. Walker, this is not the correct target for your scornful gaze. Perhaps you could instead look at the way that the triple A environment crushes any attempt at individuality if it doesn’t add to the bottom line; how stories about women, gays, transgendered and people of color go untold less because of a hatred of such people, and more because of a cold, analytical view that such things will cut into possible profits. You could contrast this system with the indie development market and the many games and works about such things that have come from it’s unrestricted creative womb. Because when it comes right down to it, looking at the actual causes for these things and trying to find solutions or at least illuminating the reasons for the current state of affairs is a much more productive use of all of our time then simply pointing at a questionable example of something and screaming “LOOK AT THIS THING! I DON’T LIKE THIS THING!”

    • NathanH says:

      The main question in this case is whether incorporating into the advert a, for example, woman being codnapped from a tedious boardroom meeting would have actively alienated the main target audience of the advert. If it doesn’t, and given that women online in gaming tend to be given a hard time, it would be a good idea to include that into your advert: if being nice doesn’t hurt you, why not do it?

      Perhaps I have an unreasonable opinion of the target audience of this advert, but I wouldn’t think they’d be alienated by such a scene. If they would be, then that is very sad but indeed it becomes more difficult to criticize the advertisement, although you might criticize the company for basing their income on targetting terrible human beings (I don’t think I’d criticize them for this though).

      • Piecewise says:

        Thats a perfectly valid question too. Would throwing a woman in there actually lower the effectiveness of the commercial? The standard marketing reply would be “yes” because then those being kidnapped wouldn’t represent the person they’re marketing to; but does that assumption actually ring true in reality?

        Of course, that also brings up an equally valid question of “What does throwing a token women in there really prove?” Does it really mean anything? Does sticking a girl into a commercial somehow strike a blow against the system which necessitates such pandering commercials? I would say no, and that angrily demanding such this is treating a symptom, not the disease. It’s a misuse of energy.

  43. Berzee says:

    This kidnappers-for-hire organization is like The Adventure and Romance Agency, only less ambitious and imaginative.

  44. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I must admit at first I quite like the ad, but then tried to understand why people are offended. I may not grasp all of the issues and I am sure I have a lot to learn, but it does seem an exclusionary message to send that it would be exclusively men who play Call Of Duty, or indeed any game. In terms of promoting the idea that girls like games just as much as guys and that there should be no distinction (as in, one party being more entitled, superior or ‘traditional’ than the other) drawn between genders in games, this does fail utterly.

    I am a very isolationist single player gamer who rarely if ever goes online, and I tend to read only RPS for my gaming news, so my exposure to the very worst of the online community it is naturally limited. Maybe for this reason I can’t get quite as far into my angry room as perhaps others might think I should be, but I am trying to understand.

  45. Neptonic says:

    I’ll buy a CoD game again when they put as much effort in to a Single-player game and PC port as the Multi-player portion.

  46. MobileAssaultDuck says:

    A lot of people don’t see to understand that while this stuff appears harmless, it is subtly affecting how our society thinks.

    When kids are going through their formative years, media is affecting how they will perceive gender roles. The most harmless things can change how a child looks at the world.

    If nearly every scientist in movies is male, this is going to subtly shape a kid’s perception that science is “for boys.”

    If the “nagging girlfriend/wife” stereotype is the majority of what they see, it is going to shape their view on how relationships function.

    The most subtle, harmless image can influence how one looks at the world.

    I grew up in the age of Captain Planet, Suntots and Smoggies, the Toxic Avenger, etc and guess what, it made me an environmentalist. I grew up watching Star Trek, and guess what, I am obsessed with space colonization. I was lucky, my world views were shaped by some pretty good examples to live by.

    Lots of kids won’t be so lucky and will be shaped by some pretty horrific examples of how to act like a human, and a lot of those examples will be harmless and subtle.

    Nothing exists in a void, we are affected by everything we see.

  47. quietlittlevoice says:

    I can see both sides here I think.

    Probably could have been solved by having a few ladies being kidnapped to go and play too.

    • PaceCol says:

      Seriously? Can you imagine the deal the mainstrem press, let alone John Walker, would have with a group of paramilitaries kidnapping a woman in an advert?

      • John Walker says:

        I love that your incensed mind can’t even contemplate the idea that one of the kidnappers could have been a woman.

        • Don Reba says:

          Damn, John Walker reads minds now. You know, that thing I thought the other day while posting on RPS — you know which one I mean — I can explain!

        • PaceCol says:

          I love how your incensed mind writes off the very possibility that the group of paramilitaries I was describing didn’t include women.

  48. Scarf Ace says:

    I suppose that means Paddy Power Bingo really hates men!

  49. raggnarok says:

    I’m sorry but, what do “massively traumatised women” have to do with anything about COD?

    Please don’t make this into another social equality war, Call of Duty is already a big enough stain on the video game world and the ad is midly funny enough to the point of people hating it because “its cod”, we don’t need social equality drama on something that bears no relation with it whatsoever.

    • sistergodiva says:

      Yeah you’re right, we should not discuss one of the most important political and societal problems in the world because it’s annoying for you. I’m terribly sorry.

      In fact, women should have just let inequality go and never fought for their right to vote, decide over their own bodies, be treated like normal human beings. They should know that it annoys some dude on the internet who thinks it just “drama”.

  50. Aradalf says:

    Are you fucking stupid John? Oh wait, you are. This was actually a very good ad, and it’s about Call of Duty saving people from the humdrums of society, not about whatever stupid shit you’re trying to be provocative about today.