Labour party MP and chairman of the home affairs select committee Keith Vaz has called on Parliament to express "deep concern" at Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's depiction of a terrorist attack on London.
Vaz, a frequent critic of violent videogames, also calls for UK ratings board the British Board Of Film Classification (BBFC) to more strictly control the sale of violent games.
Early day motion 2427, titled Call Of Duty 3, calls on parliament to agree that "this House is deeply concerned about the recently released videogame Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, in which players engage in gratuitous acts of violence against members of the public, [and] notes in particular the harrowing scenes in which a London Underground train is bombed by terrorists, bearing a remarkable resemblance to the tragic events of July 7, 2005.
"[The House] further notes that there is increasing evidence of a link between perpetrators of violent crime and violent videogame users, and calls on the BBFC to take further precautions when allowing a game to be sold."
This is far from the first time Vaz has spoken out against videogames. He campaigned against Rockstar's Manhunt following the murder of 14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah, and also criticised another of the developer's games, Bully, its UK PS2 release later renamed Canis Canem Edit. Last year, he filed another early day motion in which he attempted to link the Malmo school shootings to Valve's online shooter Counter-Strike.
Vaz clearly hasn't played or even seen the level in question, judging by the factual inaccuracies in his motion. Players do not attack members of the public; the terrorist attack is a series of chemical explosions above ground; and in the scene on the Tube, players engage with terrorists in an empty underground train, armed with explosives and bound for Westminster station.
Hats off, then, to Tom Watson, deputy chair of the Labour Party, who yesterday filed an amendment suggesting that Vaz's motion be reworded from "House" – the third word – onwards, as follows:
"…notes that the BBFC gave the videogame Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 an 18 classification, noting that 'the game neither draws upon nor resembles real terrorist attacks on the Underground'; further believes that the game has an excellent user interface and challenges the gamers' dexterity as well as collaborative skills in an outline setting; and encourages the BBFC to uphold the opinion of the public that whilst the content of videogames may be unsettling or upsetting to some, adults should be free to choose their own entertainment in the absence of legal issues or material which raises a risk of harm."
Image credit: Steve Punter