The entire Camp David sequence then is a game within a game. It conjures up elements that are inherently familiar to anyone who’s ever played a video game before and warps these as part of the narrative world. It can pause, break down, and reconstruct itself when a mission fails and its action is merely performed, its violence inconsequential. “Dead” characters casually stand up again and crews work to restore the scene to its original setting. Mitchell fails in the same way a player fails a mission, leading to a hard reset that emphasizes the fakeness of video game design and the repetitive nature of play. By integrating failure and resets into the narrative as something characters grapple with, Advanced Warfare directly allows audiences to see and confront the skeletal structure of video games. Form becomes content. The reset of the simulation reveals to the player how artificial its spaces are, and in doing so, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare presents a kind of parody of video game design.
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