Petty Controversy

Petty controversy: Fidel Castro vs. video gamers

A virtual mission to kill the Cuban leader angers the country's real-life government

The petty controversy: In the first level of Activision's blockbuster video game, Call of Duty: Black Ops, which was released last week, gamers must complete a mission that eluded the C.I.A. in the 1960s: Assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Upset by the imagery, the Cuban government posted a statement on a state-run website, declaring that "what the United States couldn't accomplish in more than 50 years, they are now trying to do virtually." Cuba also says the game "stimulates sociopathic attitudes in North American children and adolescents." (Watch for yourself)The reaction: "It's hard to sympathize" with the American government's "noxious" efforts to kill Castro over the years, says Matt Peckham at PC World, but the rest of the Cuban statement seems "overwrought and melodramatic." The United States isn't up to anything sneaky here: Activision just wants to "sell millions of copies" of its game. Call of Duty must be "a powerful game if it can turn American children into sociopaths," says Chris Matyszczyk at CNET. That is something that extended exposure to a host of corrupting influences, "such as cell phones and pre-pubescent singers, have failed to do."

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