A new video game that lets players opt to fight alongside Taliban soldiers against the US in Afghanistan has provoked outrage in Australia and abroad.
Medal of Honor , which is due to launch in October, is a multiplayer game based on an
elite group of US soldiers sent to apply their unique skill sets to a new enemy in the most unforgiving and hostile battlefield conditions of present day Afghanistan .
But the new title from Electronic Arts has incensed the military
community for using an ongoing conflict as a source of entertainment, and allowing gamers to pick which side they want to fight with.
Neil James, executive director of the Australian Defence Association, said: We think it's in very bad taste .
. . Australia is at war - not just the defence force - and every citizen has an obligation to not only support the Defence Force but to be sensitive particularly to bereaved families. It's unfortunate that people think they can make money by belittling
the sacrifice of others. It's also morally dangerous because it is desensitising people to the moral and strategic issues underlying the war.
Families of US Troops serving overseas have also condemned the new game. Karen Meredith, the mother
of a US soldier who died in Iraq, told Fox News: Right now we are going into a really, really bad time in Afghanistan ... this game is going to be released in October so families who are burying their children are going to be seeing this.
Update: Fox chooses to play the bad guys
23rd August 2010. Based on
article from guardian.co.uk
The UK defence secretary, Liam Fox, has urged shops to ban a computer game where players can act as the Taliban and kill British troops.
Fox said he was disgusted that Medal of Honour allowed people to recreate attacks on Nato
An updated version of the popular game, due to be released in October, is based on the struggle between allied special forces and the Taliban – with players able to choose which side they represent.
A clip on YouTube shows a Taliban
soldier fighting in southern Helmand province, where UK forces are based.
Gamers are apparently instructed to stop the coalition at all costs , and receive points for every allied soldier they kill.
It's shocking that someone
would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban, said Fox: At the hands of the Taliban, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands. I am disgusted and angry. It's hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to
buy such a thoroughly un-British game. I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product.
A spokeswoman for the game's developer, Electronic Arts, told the Sunday Times: The format of the new
Medal of Honour game merely reflects the fact that every conflict has two sides.
We give gamers the opportunity to play both sides. Most of us have been doing this since we were seven: someone plays the cop, someone must be robber.
In Medal of Honour multiplayer, someone's got to be the Taliban.
Update: BBFC refutes the need for a ban
24th August 2010. From
The BBFC has said it is satisfied with Medal of Honor 's 18 rating, ruling out a ban as called for by UK defence secretary Liam Fox.
Sue Clark, head of communications for the BBFC said Medal of Honor is at the lower end of the
18-and-over classification, implying the adult content in the game is not extreme, with the PEGI online classification system covering the multiplayer activity. She added that if Medal of Honor had included British soldiers, it would not have been
exceptional. The game does not involve British troops, Clark said, but there are games both in modern and historical settings which do involve British troops.
In a statement responding to Fox's criticism, EA pointed out that the
original Sunday Times story in which the comments originated contained significant inaccuracies, including the involvement of British forces. Medal of Honor does not allow players to kill British soldiers. British troops do not feature in the game,
EA said. The EA spokesperson said that although Medal of Honor will let players take on the roles of both US forces and the Taliban in multiplayer mode, multiplayer combat often involves players fighting on either side of a conflict. Many popular
video games allow players to assume the identity of enemies including Nazis and terrorists.
Offsite: Liam Fox's call for ban on Medal Of Honor is both ill-judged and
26th August 2010. See article from telegraph.co.uk by Nick Cowen
The Telegraph hasn't yet received a preview copy of Medal of Honor and as far as I am aware Fox hasn't seen the game either. In a statement released in the wake of Fox's comments, EA pointed to factual inaccuracies in the Sunday Times article over the
involvement of British troops. Medal of Honor does not allow players to kill British soldiers, said an EA spokesman. British troops do not feature in the game.
Fox has since defended his position; according to the BBC, he said the
fact that players can assume the role of Taliban soldiers in the multiplayer mode is the main issue. But this sort of thing isn't unheard of in FPS multiplayers. If Medal Of Honor is unfit for public consumption on these grounds, then what are we to make
of last year's Modern Warfare 2 where the multiplayer mode cast players as South American terrorists and militia members from the army of Ira… sorry, from an un-named Middle Eastern nation. Why has nearly every WWII game with a multiplayer, in which one
side of players are Nazi soldiers, been allowed to pass classification from the BBFC without comment? In light of some of these past examples, Fox's call for a ban looks more than a little extreme.
...Read the full article
Offsite: Gamers' Voice writes to Liam Fox MP about Medal of Honor comments
27th August 2010. From gamersvoice.org.uk , thanks to mediasnoops.wordpress.com
We at Gamers' Voice, the consumer group representing the players of video games in the UK, feel you should reconsider your statement calling for the banning of the upcoming Medal of Honor title, or at the very least properly research the issue before
passing judgement on it.
Firstly, Medal of Honor is only a game. The people who play it – who if retailers adhere to proper regulations and BBFC rating will only be adults – aren't going to be playing as the Taliban for any ideological reason.
The fact is in the multiplayer mode of the game, someone is going to have to play the bad guy. Children have been doing it for years with games like Cops & Robbers, and Cowboys and Indians, should these be branded disgusting too?
Offsite: If Liam Fox can rant over a videogame it's no wonder we're losing the war
31st August 2010. See
article from guardian.co.uk by Marina Hyde
They said it couldn't be done. But in Liam Fox have we finally found the defence secretary to make Geoff Hoon resemble Churchill? A walking Daily Express leader column, Dr Fox appears to have surpassed even his own exacting standards of idiocy this week,
by calling for a forthcoming video game set in Afghanistan to be banned.
Though the latest Medal of Honor is essentially a first-person shooter following US troops as they seek to crush the Taliban, players can take the role of the enemy in its
multiplayer mode. It's shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban, Fox fumed showily. I am disgusted and angry. It's hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly
The response from the game's manufacturer is pityingly understated. Most of us have been doing this since we were seven, it runs. Someone plays the cop, someone must be the robber. In Medal of Honor multiplayer,
someone must be the Taliban.
It's vaguely troubling, isn't it, that the press officer for a games company has an infinitely more rational take on the Afghan war than the secretary of state for defence.
...Read the full