Game Theory: Why Call of Duty Ghosts Should Terrify YouRobin Kshlerin October 21, 2019 100 Comments
Skip the latest Call of Duty? Then you have no idea about the biggest threat hanging over our heads, right now. *Game Theory theme* Hello internet, welcome to Game Theory. The show that slightly more lovable the a military trained German Shepard rendered in 720p. Uhh, joke about Call of Duty dog? Check. Jab at Xbox One graphics? Check. Uhh, let’s see what else is on this list. Unoffensive Statement About Call of Duty? Huh. Okay, love it or hate it, there is no denying that Call of Duty is one popular franchise. And despite past installments wearing the Modern Warfare moniker loosely, I mean come on! Russia makes so many bad military offensive maneuvers throughout the series, I could probably dedicate an episode just to that. The latest entry, Ghosts, certainly knows how to predict the way we’re all going to die. But in case you missed it and I’m sure about 82% of this show’s retro gaming core audience did, don’t worry, I’ll give you sufficient cause to run to your bunkers. I’m not saying that this game is worlds more accurate than its predecessors, uhh, quite the contrary, the game has more fantasy elements than my high school love life. I mean, when your entire premise is a federation of South American countries banding together to fight the U.S., you’re really starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel for new nationalities to kill, at this rate the next COD will be America fighting the United Forces of Australian Kangaroos and Kiwis. (You know, come to think of it, that sounds like a pretty cool game.) Anyway, ignoring the ridiculous enemy, the complete lack of stealth for a game that supposedly centers around a stealth and the gun fights in space that hilariously ignore the laws of motion and inertia guerrilla group one key plot point immediately caught my attention. As I mentioned earlier, “Ghost COD” must take place in a non-World Cup year, since South America isn’t watching Soccer all day, and in its newly found free time decides to hijack a space weapon belonging to the United States. But this isn’t just any science fiction death ray or orbiting missile base, it’s a satellite system that attacks via what’s known as “Kinetic Bombardment”. Cutscenes of this defense system in action show long metallic rods falling to Earth, gaining speed through the atmosphere and blowing up like bombs upon impact. “Well that’s unusually creative.” I thought to myself upon first seeing it. “I wonder where they got that idea?” So I did what I do best. Research. And what I found was equal parts fascinating and terrifying. You see, Kinetic Bombardment didn’t first appear in COD Ghosts, other games like Battlefield 2142 and Syndicate Wars, even Black Ops 2 all feature these raining rods of death. But the idea dates back much earlier, as far back as the Cold War, but what’s it all mean? Well, Kinetic Bombardment is the act of attacking a planet’s surface with an inert projectile, where the destructive force comes from the Kinetic Energy of the projectile impacting at very high velocities. That’s an overly complicated way of saying: “Hold an object up high enough and drop it and it’s going to do some damage”. In fact, these rods from space would be hitting the ground at Mach 10. To translate, a Mach is equivalent to the speed of sound, which at sea level Is 770 mph or 343 m/s, Mach 10 then is ten times that speed, 7700 mph or 3430 m/s if you’re metrically inclined. But, similar to figuring out the destructive force of the Majora’s Moon, we need to know how massive these rods are before we can make the call on how deadly they are. Back in 2003, the United States Air Force proposed schematics for a Kinetic Bombardment system, similar to what’s depicted in COD Ghosts. The falling rods were to be made of Tungsten and measured 6 meters long and .3 meters wide, the reason for choosing Tungsten is that it’s one of the densest elements known to man, or at least one of the densest without having a stupid name like “Seaborgium” or “Dubstepium”. In other words, more mass for every inch of your rod. And while we’re on the subject of massive rods, the reason they’re rods and not say spheres or Tungsten cubes, is that their narrow structure and long shape reduces the friction they’ll experience falling through Earth’s atmosphere, meaning more energy and penetrating power when they hit the Earth. In the end, more destruction and the possibility of obliterating underground bunkers. Anyway, measuring the mass of these rods, (Ugh. I need to stop saying that I’m playing around with rods.) Each one impacting the ground would equal anywhere between 10 to 120 tons of TNT. 120 tons of TNT is certainly a lot, but to put that in perspective, It’s about 1000 times less powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II. So, if nuclear weapons are so much stronger than these glorified chin up bars, the smart commenter will ask: “Why rods and not say hydrogen bombs?” And there are a few reasons. The first is that the rods reach their target in between 10 and 15 minutes, significantly faster than a plane could fly in and drop a bomb. Plus, they’re incredibly hard to defend against. Think about it, it’s a one foot wide hunk of metal falling at Mach 10, just try to target that. And finally, it’s already been done… Well almost. Remember how I said the concept dates back to the Cold War? Well between 1968 and 1983, the Soviet Union deployed what was known as a “Fractional Orbital Bombardment System”, instead of putting rods in space, the system was designed to put nuclear warheads into Earth’s orbit, later de-orbiting them to hit any location on the Earth’s surface in a matter of minutes. That’s right Jiminey Cricket, you’re not wishing upon a star, that’s a twenty kiloton payload shooting across the sky. And the Soviets would of gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling diplomats. On January 27, 1967, the “Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies”, or as it’s known by its friends, the “Outer Space Treaty”. Outlawed any nation from being able to put a Weapon of Mass Destruction into orbit around the Earth. It also outlawed installing them on the Moon, which in turn ruined my childhood dream of building a lunar doomsday laser. In other words, this system would be in place already. The only thing that’s keeping you from having a “Fat Man” hanging over your head is a sheet of paper from the 60s. Yeah, that’s real comforting. So then, that brings up the question, why are we talking about this at all? I just said weapons like this were illegal, right? Well… people looking to conquer the world are clever little buggers with smart lawyers, and those smart lawyers just so happen to find loopholes in the agreement. Sure, they can’t have Weapons of Mass Destruction in space, but by the definition of Weapon of Mass Destruction, that only eliminates chemical, biological and radioactive weapons. More conventional weapons like bullets, heat rays, laser cannons, or in this case, giant destructive rods are 100% fair game. Wait a minute? Lasers are okay? Haha! My laser death cannon is once again a go! So that’s all well and good but how close are we to having to worry about this thing? Quite honestly it’s getting closer by the day. I present to you the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, which has been flying over your head for the last year, or so. It’s a reusable space plane, developed by the U.S. Air Force, that can launch and enter orbit in minutes, allowing for speedy surprise attacks from outer space, without actually sending up a dedicated satellite. And for all you Eco-conscious viewers, it’s also reusable. During the last year it’s been running secret tests for the military, and although many conspiracy theorists have claimed it’s being used as a spy plane, which in all likelihood it probably is. It’s also the perfect vehicle for carrying and delivering the so called “Rods from Gods”. And in one final connection between the game and real life, Call of Duty’s rod defense system was named “ODIN”, the real life initiative is named “Project Thor”. Either way, if this thing becomes a reality, there’ll certainly be thunder raining down from the heavens. Well done Infinity Ward, good research. Just goes to show that even in a game written off by so many as narrow-minded, xenophobic, military porn that grossly misinterprets political issues, there are still important lessons to be had. And if there’s one lesson to be taken away from Call of Duty: Ghosts, it’s this. Duck and cover. But hey, that’s just a theory, a Game Theory, Thanks for watching. Welcome back to the “Super Amazing End Card Tournament!” Where last time you liked Ronnie’s face the best, I mean, I’m not jealous or anything, Ronnie’s a very good looking guy, sure. But you know, as host of this show, you would think that you would’ve clicked on my face a little bit more, instead of me placing third, but not bitter or anything. This week a simple question: Call of Duty. Yes or No? Genre defining series of shooters or ultra-violent disgrace to video games? #FPYes or #CODNO. Click on one to choose and before you do be sure to subscribe for more weekly reasons to stay awake scared in your bed at night fearing for your life. Man, between this episode, the Polybius one and falling to death out of planes from the Assassin’s Creed episode, the show reaches some pretty dark areas. Anyway, that’s the end of the episode, now if you’ll excuse me, my foot’s asleep so, I have a date with some painful pins and needles.