FOX News Talks About Medal of Honor, is Surprisingly Even-Handed

There’s a new Medal of Honor coming out, and news has dropped that in the multiplayer segment of the game, one side will take on the role of the Taliban. Naturally, this sort of “ripped from today’s headlines” type of story is a natural fit for FOX News, which previously treated gamers with a fair and un-biased look at the sex scene in Mass Effect. Sarcasm aside, this time around the FOX News anchor actually played the devil’s advocate for EA and Danger Close Games, the developers of Medal Of Honor. The segment’s guest, a mother who had lost her son in the current conflict came on to say that treating modern events like a game does a diservice to those who have died in uniform. I’ll let you watch the interview and decide for yourselves.

Now, I’m not one for censorship, and the anchor is correct, someone always has to be the bad guy. Unfortunately, the bad guy in this case is one of the most violent and dangerous terror groups in recent history. On the other hand, playing as the Taliban is confined to multiplayer, and games like Call of Duty and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 give you the option to gun down virtual American troops as well. There are multiple sides to this issue, but I want to know what you guys think. Is it wrong for EA to allow players to play as the Taliban? Is it any different than playing as a similarly themed, but differently named, terrorist faction in other first person shooters?

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mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

12 thoughts on “FOX News Talks About Medal of Honor, is Surprisingly Even-Handed”

  1. This REALLY aggravates me. I mean REALLY aggravates me.

    “My son didnt get to start over”
    No, you are right, he didnt. But when he put on that uniform, when he went and signed up for the armed forces, he said to his family, to the world, ‘I will fight and possibly DIE for this country I love’. He wasnt saying “oh this will be just like the video games” he wasnt sitting there expecting to hit start and restart mission if something went wrong. He CHOSE to fight for this country he loved, he put EVERYTHING he had on the line, FOR US.

    This lady is delusional and upset because her son died, doing what he loved, for those he loved, with honor and dignity. She thinks that portraying the soldiers fight on a game, makes it a game! Oh yes, she is so right. And every movie on the way is just a movie, shame on Hollywood for portraying a real war, a CURRENT war, where Americans die as a movie!! For SHAME! Ignorance, this is pure ignorance (and no surprise its on FOX News) I am an advocate for our american soldiers, I go to a school with a rich military history. I believe that every soldier who signs up knows what he is getting in to, and guess what, they do. This is outrageous.

    Police die every day to drug dealers and crooks. But no one sings them a ballad when a game comes out where you kill cops. Games try and show BOTH sides now a days. We are out of the days of the John Wayne war deaths, where Americans rarely die and when they do its a heroic and drawn out death where he dies spouting patriotic words. We live in an age where we show the reality. And guess what that reality is, we are fighting terrorists. So when we show that in a videogame, we show the other side too.

    When I play COD as the terrorists, we make jokes, we have fun, we do that when we play as 141 or the seals. Kids do not go around thinking “war is a game, we just hit reset”. Kids do NOT do that. She is so ignorant for thinking that. We play the games because they are a game. It allows us to in such a different and warped way, experience war, without having to put our lives on the line. Gamers are not always soldiers. And in no way does making a videogame about war, make that ANY less of a reality. Soldiers know what they fight for and all the risks that are inherent with fighting for our freedoms. War is not a game and gamers know it.

    Gamers average age is also high because parents BUY these games for their kids. Im sure gamers ages are averaged higher than one would think, but as far as buying goes, considering that kids must be 17 to purchase the game, parents are buying it. Skewed data. Ask PLAYERS how old they are, not the ones buying it.

    I feel that lady is just reacting to her sons death and taking it out on a game because she is offended and misinformed. What is she misinformed about? About the fact that her son knew he may die for this country. That he knew this was no video game. God bless all soldiers out there fighting any war, they know its not a game. Showing bad guys killing good guys demeans no one or belittles the reality of any war/combat. It doesnt at all. It merely shows the side everyone wants to see, the other side, the REAL side. This is a stupid and biased media coverage. That woman should be ashamed, her son died for so much more than a video game. TO throw it in there, my best playing buddy on MW2 is a marine, he deploys in Feb, he just had his 2nd child. He isnt sitting here saying this is horrible when we play as the terrorists. She is misinformed and biased, grieving the loss of her son and looking for a place to place her anger. War is not a game and every soldier knows it.

  2. There is nothing inherently wrong with having players play as the Taliban – though I would not be surprised if most players feel a bit uneasy at first while playing.
    The most important thing is to remember to keep the lines between real life and fantasy seperate and not to take for granted in real life what you would in a game – something most gamers can do, I’m sure.

  3. IT’S NOT PACMAN, MORON! It’s only in the multiplayer, and the story mode is not about playing as the Taliban. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT! And just because Six Days in Fallujah got shot down doesn’t mean it was the right decision. Yeah it was the popular decision, but it was an ignorant decision. MoH:Afghanistan’s story is based on a real war (which this woman didn’t believe just because the characters aren’t real I suppose) and sure, somebody has to play the enemy IN MULTIPLAYER.

    These idiots shouldn’t be able to talk until they understand everything of what they’re talking about. They don’t understand what the game means. At least with Medal of Honor, it’s not a bloodsport.

  4. Sean, I agree with you, but people did and still do complain about GTA letting you kill cops. A minor point, but one I needed to make.

    People don’t mind movies being made about the war, so why not a video game? it is being done respectfully. I look forward to getting my 72 virgins.

    That being said, I do understand why she is saying this, but it’s a free country.

  5. To me this seems like BS. I understand why she is not happy about EA having people play as the Taliban but it is a game based on real life.
    Apparently it is not ok to kill American Soldiers as the Taliban but as anyone else it is fine. She just seems so uneducated on the subject.

  6. Who cares? In multiplayer, all it is is a Taliban skin on the player character’s model. You’re not going around screaming Jihad Jihad and death to the infidels. It’s two sides of the fight, what are they supposed to do, make it Americans versus some guys with black masks? And we have no problem playing as Russians shooting Americans in other games?

  7. I can remember a few years ago a mod was released (I can’t remember for what game, but it was probably Counter Strike) which allowed you to play as either the IRA or the UVF (the two main opposing factions in Northern Ireland during The Troubles). This caused some controversy over here and the were many victims families taking the same stance as the mother in this video.
    The point that was made by the victims families was that it was too soon to make entertainment based on a dark period of our history.
    No one, to my memory, pointed out that there had already been books, movies and TV dramas and documentaries made on it. My guess as to why this is the way people perceive games as completely different is its lack of status of art.
    I’m not saying I need that woman’s validation that my hobby is an art form, I really don’t. But if more people would either accept or understand that games CAN deal with mature and/or sensitive topics then maybe wouldn’t have to listen to this tripe. She is clearly and understandably still distraught at the loss of her son and is ignorant as to what exactly happens in these games and assumes all soldiers feel the same way.
    Sean’s comment affirms my belief that people involved in conflict know what war is. They aren’t stupid and neither are the gamers who play “war games” so allow us our choice.

  8. The woman even says it herself; her son didn’t get to just reset when he died. In a video game, you can. There’s a difference between games and reality, and when a game replicates things going on in real life it’s the same thing as when a movie does it or a book does it. Hell, I’ve read books that narrate from the Taliban’s point of view. I guess when a book does it it’s edgy and artistic but when a video game does it it’s just in bad taste.

    War is not a game. Medal of Honor is. If it’s in bad taste, then it’s in bad taste. This is something that people can discuss till they turn blue, but whenever we take something off of shelves or censor something because we consider it to be in bad taste, then we’re letting our opinions judge what others should be allowed to experience. I’m pretty sure that’s what a lot of soldiers believe they’re dying to keep from happening.

  9. Fucking morons: Don’t interview a poor woman who has lost her son, that’s not comparable to any pain a person can possibly imagine.

    I’ve played the beta, and it makes you play as both sides in each round. I wasn’t offended.

    And don’t compare video games to movies/books/music. Those things you do not in “control” step by step. It’s definitely different to “get in the Taliban’s boots” than it is to read about them.

    p.s. LOL “Heck, they’re watching pro wrestling too!”

  10. I realize I seem to be alone on this one, but I personally don’t feel comfortable playing a video game based on a real life military conflict. Whether or not I can play as the Taliban is irrelevant, it’s more a problem of knowing that I’m playing out a real-life conflict in which real-life people died. I don’t play World War 2 first person shooters for the same reason and I’m lukewarm on the Modern Warfare games as well (even though they’re a bit more fantasy, to be honest).

    I don’t necessarily think that there’s anything morally wrong or exploitative with these types of games, but do I think it reinforces a sense of detachment in the way we think about these conflicts. Take WW2, for example. Most Americans’ understanding of this war is conditioned by movies, History Channel specials (which aren’t all that different, really), and, to a much lesser extent, video games. For all practical purposes, WW2 isn’t a “real” war for many people in the sense that they think of it in a very detached, macro fashion. There’s talk about casualties and economic hardship, but our understanding of those concepts are generally limited to a montage of images from a documentary. And everything always gets swept in up in the grand narrative of the “Good War,” which is an easy way of brushing aside all problematic questions surrounding the characteristics of modern war.

    A lot of people think about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in much the same way. Unless you’ve been there or are close to people who have been, you’re forced to rely on the media coverage of the war, which doesn’t tell the whole story regardless of which side of the political spectrum you prefer. Add that to the fact that the Middle Eastern wars are relatively unprecedented in American history because they coincided with a period of economic prosperity and were fought by a completely volunteer force. Unlike previous wars, the average citizen really didn’t have to sacrifice anything for the war (by say, paying higher taxes or finding themselves or a loved one drafted into service), so it doesn’t really “exist” for them in the sense that if they choose not to think about it, they can continue along with their lives without any reminder that their country is engaged in a serious military conflict on the other side of the world.

    I think the existence of these types of games is a result of that detachment and further reinforces a comfortable distance between the average American and the war. Again, I don’t want this to sound like a condemnation of the games or anyone who plays them and perhaps I’m just too sensitive about the issue, but I do think that controversy over the game is justified to a certain degree.

    On another note, it’s a little unfair to compare movies and books to video games in this context. A movie about the war in Afghanistan is usually going to be a dramatic film that focuses on some compelling or problematic aspect of the war. It isn’t going to have the seek and destroy, wall to wall action and body count that a first person shooter video game will have. A video game simply cannot convey the psychological strain of being in a war-zone, the genuine moral compromises a soldier has to make, or the harrowing sensation of facing an enemy that could be anyone or anywhere. So it isn’t really fair to compare the two since they’re both seeking to accomplish different objectives.

  11. As much as I agree that war games should aspire to be more than just shooting other people, I don’t really see anything morally reprehensible about having a Taliban skin. You play as terrorists in Afghanistan in MW2 multi, so MoH is, IMO, just naming the group that we all thought of as the Taliban.

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