Homefront: A Scene too Far ?

By | 17/03/2011

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I was all set to rush out with cash in my hand and buy Homefront. But after watching the frist 10 minute trailer, I put my money back in my pocket…

Why?

There is a scene at 2:50 seconds into this trailer which hit a nerve with me. A mother and father are executed in front of their grying baby, who then screams and runs towards the bodies of it parents … the executioners, turn their back on the child and leave. The mothers desperate crys of “Please dont look” to the baby, followed by the piecing screams from the baby were just too realistic for me. The screams of that baby, ‘must’ have been recorded from a real baby in distress, there is no way you can get a child to act like that, especially the babies attempt to talk while crying, as the camera pans away, thats a real scream from a real baby in real distress….. and perhaps thats why it hit me so hard.

I understand why the developers have used it, it is supposed to set the tone and motivation for the player. But thats too much of a connection to real life for me, When I play video games, I play them because they are NOT real life, I want to disconnect from reality for a while. As a father of two young children myself, that scene just brought the real fear of being unable to protect my own children, screaming into the game world, and eliminated the seperation of the virtual world from reality.

Maybe thats a reflection on my own psyche, but I’ve been playing video games since the Atari 2600 VCS, I played the Russian Airport scene from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and thought that it was an “interesting discussion point”, I had no-where near the same reaction to that scene as I did to this.

For me, babies & children in distress in a video game is a step too far. Perhaps it was because the scene was unexpected, when I watched Saving Private Ryan, I knew what to expect, so the shockingly realistic scene’s did not have the effect that this scene from Homefront had, because I was expecting (perhaps wrongly) not to see suffering children.

There are other arguably shocking scenes in other games, but the audio from this scene in HomeFront: the mothers pleas, the real baby crying…. they really hit home.

So, the cash is back in my pocket, and I’m looking for another game. After all these years, I’ve finally found a game which truly shocked me.

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