The Cartel video game; say it promotes drug violence
By Nina Mandell
Daily News Staff Writer
The Call of Juarez: The Cartel came out July 19 week despite calls for a boycott from Mexican politicians.
A new video game about the ongoing drug war in Mexico has turned into a true border fight, with critics claiming it portrays the United States' neighbor to the south in a bad light.
In the video game "Call of Juarez: The Cartel," users can play as a Los Angeles cop, DEA agent or gang affiliate-turned-FBI agent to hunt down cartels from Los Angeles to Ciudad Juarez, a main drug capital in Mexico.
The quest begins when a Mexican drug cartel bombs a U.S. law enforcement agency, according to the game's website. The site urges users to "ignite an all out border war."
"Experience the lawlessness of today's Wild West as you hunt down the Cartel before the violence escalates north of the border," the website brags.
Although the "Call of Duty" games have come under fire for glamorizing the brutality of war, critics say "Call of Juarez" promotes a negative view of Mexico.
"I think this should be taken very seriously, considering the large scale demonization of Mexico and the Mexican people," Kathleen Staudt, a political science professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, told Fox News Latino.
The game, set for release on Tuesday, could negatively influence young children who grow up around violence, politicians argued.
"Children wind up being easily involved in criminal acts over time because, among other things, during their childhood not enough care has been taken about what they see on television and playing video games. They believe so much blood and death is normal," Mexican state congressional leader Entrique Serrano told The Associated Press in February.
The game's maker, Ubisoft, dismissed the criticism in a statement to Fox Latino.
"While 'Call of Juarez: The Cartel' touches on subjects relevant to current events in Juarez, it does so in a fictional manner that makes the gaming experience feel more like being immersed in an action movie than in a real life situation," the company said.
But politicians like Ricardo Boone Salmon, a congressman in Mexico's Chihuahua State, which includes Ciudad Juarez, are still calling for a ban on the game.
"It is true there is a serious crime situation, which we are not trying to hide," Boone Salmon told The AP. "But we also should not expose children to this kind of scenarios so that they are going to grow up with this kind of image and lack of values."
More than 6,000 people have been killed in Juarez from ongoing drug violence since January 2008.