Inevitably, Someone's Mad That You Can Be The Taliban In Medal Of Honor

I must be inside the bubble, because the idea of playing as the Taliban in Medal of Honor multiplayer didn't hit me as particularly controversial. Fox News noticed. Though it did treat the subject reasonably, the woman they interviewed doesn't.

This segment aired on Fox & Friends yesterday, and despite the network's poor rep with gamers thanks to past treatments, its handling does come in pretty fair and balanced. They didn't have to pick this subject, of course, and it may not be news to us, but I'll allow that it is to the general public.

Anyway, here's Karen Meredith, a Gold Star mother who lost her son in Iraq six years ago. Her beef with Medal of Honor is, more or less, that it's disrespectful. And that it's coming out at a time when the US is having a bad month in Afghanistan.

"Families burying their children are going to be seeing this and playing this," she alleges. I seriously doubt anyone in the throes of grief will choose to pay $US60 to be hurt by this war again.

The Fox News anchor does point out the Taliban component is part of the game's multiplayer mode and that the average gamer age is 35-39 for someone buying this particular title. So, no BS about this desensitising children to violence or war.

Although he doesn't differentiate that the single-player game - the story being told - is entirely the US perspective, I'm not sure that detail would mean much to the majority of his audience or to this woman.

Fox read a pretty candid statement from Electronic Arts' Amanda Taggart: "Most of us have been doing this since we were seven. If someone's the cop, someone's gotta be the robber, someone's gotta be the pirate, and someone's gotta be the alien. In ‘Medal of Honor' multiplayer, someone's gotta be the Taliban."

I'm not sure this woman gets it that the multiplayer only concerns the hat you wear; Taliban fighters in MOH multiplayer are not fighting for a cause and neither are the Americans. The alternative to a playable Taliban is, what, US soldiers shooting each other?

Meredith, naturally, mentions the abortive "Six Days in Fallujah," as some kind of evidence that games publishers can be shamed into showing respect for the current war. "Six Days" ran into a buzzsaw because it invoked a specific, brutal conflict and then, Atomic Games did the extremely stupid thing of bragging it had Iraqi insurgents as consultants on the project. To my knowledge, Medal of Honor concerns fictitious operations in Afghanistan and its military advisors are entirely American, or at least not Taliban.

But Meredith's problem seems to be that any game would be made about a current, ongoing conflict. World War II games are fine because "that's far removed, that's not based on real people." Well, neither is Medal of Honor, to be honest.

Fine. I think trying to convince her of this game's legitimacy, and the respect gamers still have for the armed forces despite (and perhaps because of) playing it, would be like talking to a stop sign. She's done a very good job of going out of her way to be offended by something she doesn't consume, and then relying on her martyr status to get her way.

Video Game Lets You Be The Taliban [Fox News, thanks Robert R.]


Comments

    Cue FOX news taking things out of context and causing mass histeria.

      Opps, didn't read all of the article. Very uncharacteristic of Fox to not be so bias.

    So in COD:MW2 the Russians are the evil ones, esentially like the equvilent of MOH taliban, but on one wants to compain about that. It's not like the game is glorifying terrorist activity and taliban.

      *complain

    Also, you need to look at the other side of this. This woman has lost someone significant to her and is in the midst of the greiving process. She is going to be angery, irrational, and attack anything and everything that dosen't sit right with her because thats how many people greive. Many people subconciously look for something to blame the situation on (its a subconcious thing) and so this is seen as evil because people should all understand how she feels. Its not a matter of who's right and who is wrong hear, its a case of a game company vs a greiving woman, end of story.

      i'm sorry she gets nothing she just said my grandparents aren't real people, that they don't have real grief

      that my parents aren't in someway still affected by that

      people grieving should do just that grieve

      if your gonna jump on TV and start making rash comments that's when you've crossed the line(if it had been 6 months ago i could understand rashness alot more)

      why isn't she on the news complaining about the 100's of other stupid things americans do tt remember thier soldiers(such as the anti gay church protesting at soldiers funerals

        You have me there, just because she has issues dosen't give her the right to say soldiers of past wars arn't real. Also, i suppose if you open yourself up on TV, then maybe you are taking it too far.

    It's. Not. Real. Get over yourself

    so, does anyone else think thie whole taliban thing is just a ploy for advertising the game? you know, the whole "any publicity is good publicity=sales" thing going on here.....

    "Taliban" is a fairly plastic definition which has gone from the fundamentalist ruling regime of Afghanistan, through to Al Quaeda sympathisers and now seems to be synonymous with Al Quaeda itself.

    The reality is probably that the current "Taliban" is a rag-tag bunch of insurgents who for various reasons are fighting the occupying forces.

    what about all the Taliban members that have died? What about the Germans the Japanese? They all have family too. Yet they are portrayed as the enemy in countless games.
    Suck it up bitch. your kid went to a territory that no westerner has any right to be fighting in and he died as a result of the country's people fighting back.

    She lost all credibility when she said that WW2 is not fought by "real" people and that the scars of WW2 are "long in the past". Just because the war is now over and people are no longer being killed, does not mean that the pain is gone over a lost one. For shame.

      I know a few people who fought in WWII, their experience was visceral and terrifying.

    lets see how objective and reasonable you are when your son dies in such a messy war.

    I believe the biggest issue is that it is effectively a still ongoing war. If they set it based on Gulf War 1, there would prob be no complaints.

    Plus, most Americans associate the word Taliban with terrorist, and terrorist with Sept 11.

    Guys, clearly we have forgotten something.
    American's point of view is all that matters! DUH!
    Hence why its okay for them to do what they do.

    This reminds me of the time Gabe interviewed his dad about WWII and his thoughts on games that glorify the conflict.

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/2007/12/7/

    Interesting that WWII didn't involve real people.

    So.. Anyone seen any films based on the Iraq war lately? I have...

    Why aren't they met with the same rage as a video game based on the situation?

    I was playing COD: World at War last night and that experiance brought about a new feeling of respect for everyone who was involved in WW2... Maybe Medal of Honor will do that for this war as well?

    Heaven forbid that it generates more awareness of the war and what all of our troops are dealing with over there...

    US hypocrisy at its best. You're our political enemy and you attacked us, so you're evil. Now we can attack you and no big deal if we shoot anyone, because they're our political enemy.

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