Gameplay Journal Entry #7 — COD Black Ops: Cold War

One of my most favorite video game franchises growing up was the Call of Duty franchise as it was an overall enjoyable experience with its different modes such as multiplayer, zombies, and story mode known as the campaign. The reason why I chose Call of Duty and more specifically Black Ops: Cold War is because I felt it was the most political game in the series. While all Call of Duty games in my opinion have some sort of political or social values dealing with war, guns, and death, Black Ops: Cold War I felt in its campaign had the most political and realistic story dealing with an actual moment in history known as the Cold War and using real-life figures like former President Ronald Reagan to tell its story based on actual history. “These games create representations of causal factors that shaped particular historical events, or more commonly the broad progression of human history. Some of those games craft serve as explicit political commentaries while others do so implicitly. (Bogost). Call of Duty: Cold War definitely tells its own implicit story with its own fictional characters and political views but also goes a step further in having multiple endings in the campaign, which can see you as the player either help the Americans win or assist in helping the Russians win by turning on your team on the very last mission. Despite its implicit storytelling by having multiple endings, I felt the game was successful in being a fun experience but also telling its own story based on the Cold War itself.

Aside from having multiple endings in which either the Russians or the Americans win depending on your actions, you play as a Russian in the game that has been brainwashed to think he is an American, which is very political on its own. Throughout the game, you go around and shoot and kill people, which is not unusual for any COD game but for a retelling of an actual event like the Cold War, it feels different and more political than if this was just a made-up story by the people making the game. Like I mentioned earlier, COD: Cold War in my opinion has the most realistic story of any Call of Duty and because of this, it is the most political of any COD game since its story involves real-life characters like Ronald Reagan and in an actual event in history like the Cold War. Also, add on the shooting and killing of people that happens in the game and it just adds to the political nature of the game itself. While COD: Cold War is more of an implicit retelling of the actual events, it does have some explicit storytelling in it, and considering all the things I’ve mentioned such as using real-life events and figures, brainwashing, and the shooting and killing of people, COD Black Ops: Cold War is, in my opinion, one of the most political games in nature I have ever played.

Link to Let’s Play:


Bogost, Ian. Playing Politics: Videogames for Politics, Activism, and Advocacy. First Monday, 2006.