Spec Ops: The Line (2012)

Between sanity and insanity




This week more than ever, it's very important that you've played this game before listening to the podcast. This game is highly recommended for all.

Beginning with our opinions of the armed forces, we tackle tough issues this week with a very interesting discussion about the narrative masterpiece of 2012 that is Jager's Spec Ops: The Line. We have a social worker of advanced wisdom and a psychologist (both of advanced credentials) weighing in on a few key points in our discussion this week, supporting our exploration of PTSD and the reliability of dear protagonist Walker.

What's the trigger? What happened in Kabul, and just how much of this game is a flashback? Is Conrad even real? How do you blend in, getting two trained soldiers not to question you as you subvert your only authority? Should games stress us out? Are we literally descending into hell? Is survival a moral choice for our protagonist? It's unbelievable that a game that starts like any other drab shooter generates these kinds of questions by its shocking end. Also, turns out the P90 exists outside of Stargate. Who knew? Not one of us, apparently.

It should be noted that we almost successfully avoid making Darude references. Go team!

Extra Credits - Spec Ops: The Line
Vsauce - Why Do We Play Games?
Vertigo Comics - Pride of Baghdad (it's real!)

“When 9/11 happened, it was clear that war was inevitable. They'd been preparing for it all along. A generation of young American pilots would use my interfaces to hunt and kill Afghani people and Iraqi people, too. This would be my fault. I felt so sorry for those Arab people and their families, and I knew the American pilots would suffer, too. Maybe not right away. At the time those young boys were carrying out their missions, it would all feel unreal and exciting and fun, because that's how we designed it to feel. But later on, maybe days or months or even years later, the reality of what they'd done would start to rise up to the surface, and they would be twisted up with pain and anger and take it out on themselves and their families. That also would be my fault.”
– Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being


Will Atkinson

Brian Pachucki

Nate Stevens

Craig Schuemann

Alberto Malfavon