Over the past few weeks, EA's up-and-coming reboot of the Medal of Honor series has come under fire. Britain's defense secretary called for a ban on the first-person shooter entirely, and the U.S. Army has prohibited the game from being sold from any stores that reside on a base. Soldiers can still purchase Medal of Honor off-site and play it to their heart's content, but they can't buy it from any stores subsidized by the military.
The problem? You can play as the Taliban in multiplayer.
That's it. It isn't the violent nature of the game. It isn't the ESRB rating, the foul language, or anything to do with the single-player campaign. The entire controversy is due to the fact that you can use a character modeled after the notorious real-life terrorist organization.
This wouldn't be such an odd move if these groups had also attempted to ban the 2,000 or so other military shooters that let you play as Nazis or "generic terrorist." Can you not play Counter-Strike: Source in those countries or pick up a copy from the local GameStop on a military base?
Shooter fans are no strangers to war. They've killed Germans, Russians, Japanese, and innocent civilians at an airport. They've seen America itself invaded and nuked in a crazy "what-if" scenario — multiple times, in fact. They've gone through both World Wars and every other major conflict in modern U.S. history. None of the games portraying these events have depicted these conflicts as fun; instead they've exposed gamers to deaths in the millions, innocent lives lost, and the struggle that soldiers experience while fighting for a cause. In fact, the developers behind Medal of Honor have stated they included the Taliban to keep the game as accurate and realistic as possible.
Death and war are inevitable parts of life, and taking offense to games that show them in a realistic manner is insane. Yes, Medal of Honor has 3D model of terrorists, but do people really think that if gamers experience "a day in the life of the Taliban," they'll want to jump ship and start shooting allied soldiers?
EA Games President Frank Gibeau wonders why video games are being treated different than other art forms, and he's got a point. "I don't know why films and books set in Afghanistan don't get flack, yet [games] do," he told Develop. "Whether it's The 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."
As of now, the game hasn't been officially banned in any of country, although the ban on U.S. military bases will be in effect. I guess our soliders can engage in actual wars but need to be protected from the fake ones.
What do you think? Should games like these be banned?
GamesBeat 2014 â€” VentureBeatâ€™s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market â€” is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!