Play Your Video Games

North Korea Uses Call of Duty Footage in Creepy Propaganda Video [Updated]

Okay then.
(Photo: LiveLeak)

(Photo: LiveLeak)

What do you do when you lack the technology to create your own simulation of New York City under missile attack? You use footage from video games, of course!

Kotaku reports that a new space race propaganda video put online by North Korea’s propaganda arm Uriminzokkiri depicts a city that looks an awful lot like New York being struck by missiles. Buildings begin to burn as an American flag waves overtop the footage. The video is couched as a dream sequence, showing the dreaming man aboard the rocket the country successfully tested in December.

“Somewhere in the United States, black clouds of smoke are billowing,” reads the caption, according to LiveLeak.

But as Kotaku points out, the footage of New York in ruins is actually borrowed from the popular video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Even more bizarrely, the video is scored with the popular Michael Jackson/Lionel Richie song “We Are the World.”

Is this some sort of ironic jab at the imperialistic nature of American pop culture, or do North Koreans just really really like MJ? Kim Jong-un does kind of seem like he’d be into all-night COD marathons.

We’ve reached out to COD publisher Activision for comment, though we have a pretty good feeling North Korea didn’t reach out to them for permission.

Update:

Yup, Activision was none too happy with North Korea using its bestselling video game for propaganda purposes. The BBC reports that YouTube has taken the video down after a copyright complaint from the video game publisher.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com