Columnists Rips Canadian Defence Minister for MOH Comments

September 9, 2010 -

In response to Canadian Defence Minster Peter MacKay’s (pictured) disapproving comments about the Electronic Arts game Medal of Honor, an Ottawa Citizen columnist took to his pulpit in order to offer a spirited defense (defence) of videogames.

Referring to the ability to play as the Taliban in the game, MacKay had said that, “I'm sure most Canadians are uncomfortable and angry about this.”

In his column, Dan Gardner replied, “No one ever accused Peter MacKay of being Her Majesty's most cerebral minister…”

MacKay had also lamented that children might take on the role of insurgents in the game, a point which Gardner addressed:

The game is not for children. It is a graphic, frighteningly realistic "first-person shooter" -- meaning the player sees the battlefield from the perspective of an individual soldier -- stuffed with blood, gore, and death, and any child whose parent allows him to play such a game should worry more about the quality of his supervision than the effects of playing violent video games.

As for adults, the columnist noted that it’s hard to be concerned about grown ups playing as Taliban members because, as a fan of Call of Duty: World at War, “I occasionally spend my free time playing Nazi.”

About his time spent as a Nazi, Gardner wrote:

I can't say this experience has made me noticeably more sympathetic to Nazis; indeed, I find nothing so relaxing before bedtime as shooting a few.

Gardner then referenced the WikiLeaks video released earlier this year, in which American forces in Iraq were seen wiping out a whole contingent of what was thought to be insurgents. At least a few members of the group killed were later identified as Reuters journalists.

Using this incident to paint MacKay’s view of the war in Afghanistan as “warped,” Gardner wrote that MacKay’s view of the conflict in a “fanstasy” light isn’t much different than how he guesses the war will be portrayed in the game, as “a boy's own adventure of courage and derring-do.”

Comments

Re: Columnists Rips Canadian Defence Minister for MOH ...

The line "a man who seems to think Red Dawn was a documentary" is also spot-on.  Although in his defense, Mackay isn't quite as dumb as the proverbial bag of rocks.  That honour goes to Stockwell Day, who believes that The Flintstones serves as proof of man coexisting with dinosaurs.

Also, the analogy to the leaked helicopter video made me think of a point that I don't think has been raised yet: on any decent multiplayer server, going against the rules (engaging intentionally in friendly fire, for instance) gets you banned.  If games are so bad, how come they're maintained better than wars?

 

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Fangamer

Re: Columnists Rips Canadian Defence Minister for MOH ...

Obviously they didn't check to see if the reticle turned red first.

A terrible joke, to be sure [and I apologize for any offense], but if there's a point to be made, it's that we don't focus on the kill when we play games: we just play a game. The violence affects very few gamers because gamers don't see it as real violence, the way overly-sensitive parents and uninformed politicians assume we do.

Key factor: they assume. Way too much, if you ask me. I think every concerned parent and politician in the world needs a week-long time out to play a massive game of Battlefield or CoD. If they play it they way we do and still come back from a marathon session with concerns, only then would I take the time to address them on equal ground.

Until that time, I find their opinions on games about as worthwhile as they would think mine on any given political system: sophomoric.

 
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