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The latest version of Call of Duty’s iconic Nuketown map has a somewhat ironic anti-war message

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Nuketown ‘84, the latest iteration of the eternal Call of Duty map, has an official backstory. It’s something to do with bohemians stumbling upon a decommissioned replica of the test site in the original Black Ops, and repurposing the place as a commune—a deeply ironic refuge from cold war anxiety. Then I guess the rent spikes? The misfits move out, spec ops move in, and rat-at-at-at neeeowm BOOM. I’m filling in Treyarch’s blanks at the end, there. It’s a flimsy premise for what is, after all, a multiplayer map. The real story starts every ten minutes or so, when the scoreboard resets.

That’s not to say that Nuketown ‘84 is about nothing. It’s stuffed with real-world symbolism and iconography. Even the stage itself, the white picket fence neighbourhood populated by mannequins, is pulled straight from fact. Specifically, a spot of desert northwest of Las Vegas where the US tested the effects of early nukes on brickwork, clothing, and tinned food—not to mention the unfortunate Utah residents who happened to live downwind.

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