Monday, February 20, 2012

General Grant Car

I saw this on Brooks Simpson's blog Crossroads yesterday.  Someone in the video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" came up with a different take on the car from the 1980s TV series The Dukes of Hazard.  Rather than an orange car called the General Lee, sporting the Confederate flag on the roof and playing "Dixie" on the horn, "The General Grant" is blue, has the American flag on top and its horn plays "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."  Classic.  Now answer this: to what do the numbers "01" refer for the General Lee.  The numbers "76" appear on the General Grant, a link to the Revolution of 1776.

Much has been said about Civil War movies, but little about a more recent development: Civil War video games.  Since the 1980s, many titles have appeared on a number of different computer systems from the Nintendo ES to the PC.  I recall playing "North and South" for the NES in the early 90s, but it wasn't very good.  Better designed were Sid Meier's Gettysburg and Antietam.  I used to play Age of Rifles which allowed one to recreate any late-19th century battle including ones for the Civil War.  These games, and many others which I have not played, involve a chess-like format where one moves around the battlefield in a certain number of spaces at a time.  That comes close to how Civil War battles were fought, though these games are always at a tactical level rather than the theater-wide level.

More recently, the trend in games has been towards "First Person Shooters" where the player serves as an individual soldier using his weapons.  Titles like Medal of Honor and the Battlefield series (1942, Vietnam, 2 and now 3), and Call of Duty (WW2 and Modern Warfare) are intense, frantic action using automatic weapons.  This does not lend itself towards the Civil War where single shot rifles slow down the action.  The one attempt to do so, a movie tie-in with Gods and Generals, failed spectacularly.  Gamespot, a game reviewing website, gave it a 1.2 out of possible 10 point rating, its lowest ever.  Watch the video, it's not hard to see why.

Hopefully someone comes up with a better game, though admittedly the slavery issue will not be addressed - it's simply too controversial.  Could you imagine a slavery video game?  The NAACP and SPLC would have a few things to say about that.

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