oPaP Hobby Hole: Homefront, Scaring the Shit Out of Me

I considered spinning Hobby Hole off into its own blog dedicated to my thoughts and opinions of areas outside the standard writing front. Then I realized its limited nature didn’t merit an additional site and that segmenting my writing into different areas was archaic and asinine. I’ve compromised with a slightly different color coding.

One of the oft-repeated criticisms regarding Kaos Studios and THQ’s Homefront upon its March release was that its story was built on the absurd notion that, following the death of North Korean leader Kim-Jong Il, his son and successor Kim-Jong Un managed to reunify the two halves of the country to create the Greater Korean Republic. This, of course, made the game extremely unbelievable and ridiculous. Or so they said.

Hearing this and other criticisms for months, it was with somewhat diminished expectations I began playing Homefront only days after Kim-Jong Il truly died, sending our world reeling and gearing up for the poverty-stricken nation’s first moves under its newly appointed leader.

I entered a world where, within the first few minutes, all the basest fears of 2011 going into the new year were realized: the United States, facing unparalleled financial difficulties, was forced to pull back its armed forces and become nearly as isolationist as it was prior to World War II; gas prices across the globe skyrocketed as tensions in the Middle East grew, furthering economic depression in the Western world as the powers evolving in the East took hold; tensions between the working class and the business elite resulted in armed clashes, military control and mass arrests.

And then a little boy witnessed his mother and father brutally murdered while I drove by on a bus, helpless to defend him as he ran, crying, toward the fallen bodies.

I was captivated, the story pulling me to the edge of my seat as realization swept in: though this dystopian future may have seemed a distant possibility earlier in the year, every waking moment moves us closer and closer to potential disaster.

Yet while the lackluster dialogue and awful AI often pulled me out of the experience, reminding me over and over that this is only a videogame, a short drop in the hat of what I call life, seeing my world in shambles after only a few logical leaps ahead, I drove on, motivated to see my mission fulfilled, no matter the cost. Because, in the end, no matter how much I want to live, I want to guarantee that the world I leave behind, even if at the Game Over screen of a six-some-odd hour campaign, is a better one.

Though I’ve now pulled myself away from the narrative found in Homefront, I continue to work toward the game’s achievements, finding myself repeatedly dropping a tear at the way heroism in the face of utter defeat is depicted without mercy. My jaw drops each time I crawl into a pit of decaying Americans, shot, killed, murdered for their beliefs. I ache with tense relief as those trying their hardest to end me are consumed by fire and scream with rage as that same fire is turned against me and my allies. I try to scream through the television at the other Americans who fight against me in an arrogant display of self-righteousness.

And as I work my way across the bridge listening to the jets soaring over my head, tanks approaching and explosions knocking me to the ground, I wish it could be me grabbing the flare. Giving my life for a cause I truly, utterly support. Because how often can something like that be said?

As time passes and we see the full extent of the true Kim Jong-Un’s powers and influence, as we attempt to battle our way out of financial ruin and toward an era where half the United States isn’t considered poverty-stricken, I hope Homefront proves to be little more than an entertaining distraction rather than an oddly informed crystal ball of our bleak, depressing future.

Homefront is available for all major videogame platforms and can be purchased on
Amazon for less than $29.99.