- Category: Arts & Entertainment
- Published on Friday, 14 September 2012 11:23
- Written by Cathy Herbert
Medal of Honor: Warfighter, the latest game in the popular series by Danger Close Games is slated for release on October 23rd and this time around, the company snagged themselves one very unique beta tester. At eighty-nine years of age, Lt. James Murphy is likely the oldest video game hobbyist around. After retiring from the Canadian military in 1988, Murphy purchased a second hand Atari 5200 from one of his younger colleagues to help pass the time until the end of his life. He found the games to be more fun than he had anticipated, and by the early nineties he was the owner of every console in production at the time as well as two very powerful home computers. Since then, his collection has only grown.
“I never had much interest in war games and shooters,” says the Lieutenant in an interview with WTF over a game of Street Fighter 4 on Xbox Live. “I thought there was nothing a video game could show me that I hadn't already seen in that respect. Not even Hogan's Alley, where the player uses a real plastic gun and everything. When you empty your service rifle into a man at point blank range, and wonder as you watch the life drain from his eyes what he was like as a child, you feel it. I tried walking right up to the TV screen and shooting from there, but it just wasn't the same.”
Murphy was a nineteen year old private when he participated in the Battle of Dieppe in 1942. “I remember when Doom first came out and I thought to myself 'Hell? THIS is their idea of hell?'” he recalls with an eerie, off-putting laugh.
So when the first Medal of Honor game was released in 1999, Murphy paid no attention to it and instead stuck with Banjo Kazooie. But as shooter games grew in popularity over the years (especially those with a storyline centred around various wars) the Lieutenant's interest was caught and this summer when he stumbled across an advertisement looking for game testers for Warfighter on the Danger Close online message boards, he answered it.
Ironically, Warfighter is only the second game in the MoH series (there are fourteen games in total) which is not set in World War Two. Instead the game focuses on the ongoing wars in the Middle East. But that didn't stop Lt. Murphy from having an authentic wartime experience. Graphic, audio, and animation technologies are getting better at an exponential rate, and the first thing Murphy noticed as a game tester was the quality. And the screaming.
“I felt it again,” he says, a marked change in his voice. “That feeling when death is so close all around you that you forget what life feels like, and the warm blood running at your feet was inside the man lying in the trench beside you not one minute before. I, I just- Why would anyone make this...?” his voice trails off into the sound of choking tears. Developers at Danger Close were pleased to hear of the game's apparent authenticity.
One aspect of the game that Murphy found confusing however, was the behaviour of the non-player characters, especially the in-game dialogue. “I don't understand,” he said, “these soldiers appear to...enjoy battle. Why aren't they talking about what an unfortunate and somber last resort it is when diplomacy fails and men have no other option but to destroy one and other?”
***UPDATE: Since the publication of this article, a representative from Danger Close said that their investors have requested that Lt. Murphy not be invited to test any future games in the series or release any statements as to his feelings on the subject matter therein.