The Most Egregious Historical Revisionism of the Year 2012: Black Ops 2

Marsh Davies at

In most years, the idea that space wizards had manipulated the outcome of the American war of independence would probably count as the most fanciful reappraisal of historical fact. But not in a year in which a Black Ops game gets released!

Did you know that the CIA’s support of Nicaraguan death squads (estimated death toll: 30,000) was an “accident”? It’s really quite the Oops! moment, what with it continuing for the better part of a decade, and, latterly, against the direct instruction of Congress.

“We don’t target civilians,” says one character in the CIA’s defence. Credit to the voice cast for adding a nuanced undertone of belligerent denial to the claim, but opposing views (such as, say, that voiced by the International Court of Justice in 1986) make scant appearance here.

You might think the devs would be more familiar with the affair, given that the game’s marketing push involved wheeling out National Security Council bagman Oliver North, a fellow who was convicted on three counts of felony thanks to his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal.

It’s difficult to see why Black Ops 2 would be coy about the casual slaughter of innocents; after all, characters are more than willing to openly torture and summarily execute people they take a disliking to. But even if the game’s not trying to make a case for the righteousness of its protagonists, it still makes a mess of history.