I’ve talked about the controversy Medal of Honor garnered for including the Taliban. Most of the backlash was (understandably) from families of fallen soldiers and wounded veterans, but few stop to think about how active soldiers feel about games like Call of Duty and MoH. Games that romanticize and heighten the experience of warfare. You have to think, that after all the drill, training, and worst of all, waiting, getting to go to war in a safe environment of a video game would be enjoyable. It turns out for some, not only is that true but it’s even better when the game is based on stuff you have experienced.
Retired Lt. Col Hank Keirsey is the guy who keeps the action in your Call of Duty “authentic.” A 24 year Army Veteran, and teacher at West Point who sips whiskey and hunts deer with a bow is also the guy who talks to veterans to get inspiration for the last 6 Call of Duty games.
His involvement started when the CoD series when it was set in WWII, he was impressed with the team’s commitment to historical accuracy and he’s stuck around ever since. At first the veterans he talked to didn’t want to involved with a video game, but as he says in an interview with AOL News, “And I’d say, ‘Well, then, your story will never be told.’ And they’d say, ‘Well, OK.'”
Keirsey also has something to say about the controversies around the CoD series (namely executing un armed Nazis or shooting up an airport full of civilians as a terrorist). For him, the only ones who have a right to complain are the soldiers them selves. But as he experienced the last time he went to Iraq, as soon as the troopers found out he was an adviser for Call of Duty, he became a rock star, and was getting offers for story ideas left and right.
“In my opinion, the entertainment business appeals to something primitive in man,” he said. “At least when we do it in a historical context, we awake the thoughts of the intellectually curious.”