Call of Duty comes to Imperial War Museum for new video game exhibition


art of the Imperial War Museum (IWM) will be converted to a retro gaming zone with visitors able to play titles including Medal of Honour as part of a new exhibition looking at how conflict is represented in video games.

The free show, called War Games: Real Conflicts/Virtual Worlds/Extreme Entertainment includes a display about the controversial shooter game Six Days in Fallujah which was inspired by the real-life testimonies of US marines and civilians caught up in the conflict around the city in the Iraq War in 2004.

The game was first talked about in 2009 but caused such a controversy developers dropped the idea before it was resurrected and is due for release this year.

Other games examined include Worms, where gamers control armies of cartoon worms, and Call of Duty which began with scenarios set during World War II and has expanded into the cold war and futuristic fantasy worlds selling more than 400 million copies along the way.

Image from ‘Six Days in Fallujah’ Featured in War Games at IWM London (30 September 2022 – 28 May 2023).

/ Image from ‘Six Days in Fallujah’ © Victura

They will be displayed alongside objects such as sniper rifles and facial prosthetics worn by World War One veterans disfigured by their injuries.

Also on show is a German army blanket brought to England by a young refugee which will be displayed as a counterpoint to studies of games such as Bury Me, My Love and This War of Mine where players take on the roles of refugees and civilians trying to survive conflict.

Exhibits also include an Xbox 360 controller used to operate the camera on a drone in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Curators Chris Cooper and Ian Kikuchi said: “The drama and tragedy of war has fascinated us for millennia. Paintings, books, plays, films and TV shows have all told gripping stories about conflict.

“Video games have continued this tradition in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, becoming today’s largest and fastest growing entertainment industry.

“We hope this exhibition prompts visitors to consider the influence this media might have on our perceptions and understanding of war and conflict.”

The exhibition runs from September 30 to May 28 next year.

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