|super mario bros. (NES)|
it's been more than 20 years since then. i'm almost 30. seeing games explode over the years into complex stories set in visually stunning landscapes, and expanding into the online realm, i am just as into games now as i was then, if not more. which means that i and people like me view them somewhat differently - not just as distractions, but increasingly powerful multimedia engines that are capable of capturing an audience and conveying thoughts and ideas. sometimes even more effectively than television or movies. which means they're going to increasingly cause some controversy. in that way gaming has become a very broad and easy target for politicians to assault from their soapboxes with constant media coverage.
|medal of honor (2010)|
the game doesn't actually doesn't have any british soldiers in it. but i'll let him slide on that for now, since his sentiment is really what was important here.
a report on fox news was a little more local. this report featured gold star mom karen merideth with the sentiment that "war is not a game," who had this to say: "we've just come off of the worst month of casualties in the whole war, and this game is going to be released in october. so families who are going to be burying their children are going to be seeing this and playing this game. i just don't see that a video game based on a current war makes any sense at all. it's disrespectful."
you can see the whole fox news clip on ars technica.
|medal of honor (2010)|
hell, you've probably even played cops and robbers as kids. or maybe cowboys and indians?
point being, there always has to be a bad guy. and no one at EA is trying to make an argument that the taliban aren't bad guys. it is extremely clear that the taliban are the bad guys. and the campaign missions don't go through taliban storylines or have the player plot the demise of american forces. they focus on tier one operators operating under the command of the national command authority, elite ops and army rangers. you know, the good guys.
that aside, i can understand where those who share the minister's point of view are coming from. and i'm not insensitive to ms merideth and other like-minded people. the wounds of war are very deep, and perhaps too fresh in the minds of people. but i think that this game is about exploring the experience of the american soldier, not being a terrorist. EA's team is still proud of the work they're doing, and in response to criticism, EA president frank gibeau had the following:
"at EA we passionately believe games are an artform, and i don’t know why films and books set in afghanistan don't get flack, yet [games] do. whether it's red badge of courage or the hurt locker, the media of its time can be a platform for the people who wish to tell their stories. games are becoming that platform."
"games have been set in afghanistan before. we anticipated this [controversy] when we decided on the concept of the game – this is about being a special forces solider. what’s really important for us is that we partnered with the US military, and the medal of honor society as well. we've gone out of our way to produce the best story for the game." videos of interviews with the people that consulted from these organizations can be found on the official medal of honor site.
i'm not really a huge fan of the medal of honor series, mainly because i lost interest in the whole military FPS genre years ago, but i still feel that had to put in my two cents in on the criticisms against it. it's very easy speak out against something without really taking a deep look at it. in this case, the phrase "play as taliban" is causing red flags without a real look at the context. EA isn't forcing people to purchase or play this game, so not purchasing it is a completely valid option. it's true, war is not a game. but we also have to remember the reverse, that a game is not war.