Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

October 7, 2010 -

A piece appearing on the website of The Heights, Boston College’s student newspaper, says it’s “too soon” for Electronic Arts to base a game in Afghanistan and calls the setting of Medal of Honor “disrespectful.”

The article’s author pulls no punches, labeling game developers “desperate and unoriginal” and “moving in all the wrong directions to please their audiences.”

The ability to play as the Taliban in MOH’s multiplayer component, a component since renamed, was termed, “neither educational nor acceptable and goes against every ounce of American patriotism pumping through the veins of our country's citizens.”

The columnist continues:

Young Americans should not learn what it's like to kill American soldiers. While it is beneficial for them to learn more about the Afghani culture, a video game is certainly not the right setting for that type of education. After all, video games are made for the pure entertainment of their audiences, not as informative documentaries.


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Comments

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

 I find it amazing that during the whole controversy, no one, I repeat, no one, has mentioned Command & conquer Generals: Zero Hour yet?

The campaign mode is that the US actually lost the war against Global Liberation Army - it is China who saved the day.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

I don't see the connection, seeings as that's a completely fictitious event. Even a game in which the premise is that the US lost World War II would be in a similar category, because although WWII happened, we didn't lose, and anything branching off of that isn't going to be taken very seriously.

This new MOH, however, is firmly based in reality.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

 Zero Hour is loosely based on the War on Terror. Enough said.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

I know this opinion may be attacked, But I for one would like to see a game from the Taliban or Insurgents' perspective.  The vast majority of video games(a lot of films are guilty of this too) are extremely one-dimensional/Stereotypical in their portrayals of the "bad guys." their motivations are usually defined as the following, evil, insane, or greed.  There tends to be (outside rpgs anyway) no fleshing out of of the main antagonist(s) and it would be refreshing to at least try (even if I don't agree with them in the least) to see things from a different perspective.  And I do not mean in multiplayer, I mean a heavily story driven experience, That if done right could be a masterpiece rather than just another pointless action movie styled knockoff.

 

NOTE: I do consider using current and past conflicts to be unimaginative; they do have the potential to be imaginative and more poignant then a made up conflict can likely ever be, but they are rarely if ever used in a way that that even approaches art. 

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

I don't know if this is the reason that games don't end up being that way, but I do know that America really shutters at the thought of looking at things that way. I blame that for the reason so many people don't understand the criminally insane, and what can be done to prevent a lot of them from existing in the first place.

That's one of the many reasons I love RPGs, because they're not afraid to delve into such things, mainly because the fans of RPGs are usually the kinds of people who aren't afraid either.

I have to give some simple yet extremely fun games a pass on this though, honestly, because in some cases it would ruin what I enjoy about them. Like Mario games, mostly the older ones. I don't give a rat's ass why Bowser's such a princess-kidnapping asshole, he just is, and I just need to help Mario deal with it, and that's that.

I think it's especially bad with movies, and I know the reason for it is because film studios always assume their audience consists of brain-dead fucksticks, because, well, a lot of times they're right. Hard to look at the success of reality TV and believe that your Average Joe has an I.Q. over 100.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with some of you people?

Just because something is and SHOULD be protected by free speech, and the game designers have the RIGHT (for now) to include or exclude whatever content they please, and everyone has a RIGHT to choose what games they buy, it does NOT mean that people who are offended by something are bad...or even wrong.

The goddamned vilification and mockery of anyone who finds the content of MOH (or anything in games) offensive or disturbing is just WRONG.  People find things offensive, and that is their perogative, and I'm sure any one of you has a unique threshold of what offends you. 

If we want the public to respect gamers as normal people and not immature sociopaths, then we have to accept that content in games is offensive to some people- just like books, movies, etc.  Treating these offended people with outright disrespect is childish and yes, sociopathic.  You may not be personally offended, but show some fucking EMPATHY for people who might be offended (like military widows, for instance).

The only times going on the attack against these people is warranted is when/if they make outright lies about the game's content or if they use this as a springboard to push an agenda of censorship.  Attacking or mocking these people for any other reason is simply the act of being a thin-skinned unempathetic sociopath.

We are certainly free to disagree on the extent of offensiveness (if any) a given game may contain, but we have NO RIGHT to treat people poorly because they are having an emotional response to a matter that may cut very close to home for them.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

I have great respect and empathy for those who are simply offended by something involving the Taliban, terrorists, current ongoing military conflicts, and so on. To that end, I understand the author is offended (somehow) by the use of the Taliban in Medal of Honor. (I say "somehow" because... it's a college student in Boston. What does he know, hmm?)

What I don't understand is whether he's actually offended by the use of the Taliban, or if he's simply offended by the use of the Taliban in a game.

"After all, video games are made for the pure entertainment of their audiences, not as informative documentaries."

That little dismissive statement dashes away all examples of games we might consider art and even seeks to proactively ignore the actual content of MoH. All we've seen is the controversy surrounding the use of the Taliban in multiplayer, and already politicians, news agencies and students like this guy (as I hoist my thumb towards the author of the article in question) are screaming "OMG, that's, like, SO offensive!@"

[I'm sure the author doesn't really talk like that... maybe...]

The problem here - and I think you and I can agree on this - is education: there are walls of distrust and scorn standing between we gamers and the rest of the world, and we need to start talking to each other more openly in a manner that doesn't resort to trolling and flames. The more we act like we're just angry, harmless idiots, the less others will care what we have to say. Perhaps if we all calmed down a bit and tried to explain our positions while acknowledging the positions of others, we'd start getting somewhere.

That being said, the article in question, despite being an opinion, has a shaky foundation. I think if the author were willing to reevaluate his thoughts on games being solely for entertainment value, he might find something lacking in the rest of his argument. That's all.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

So why again are games being held to a standard higher than books or movies/tv? Oh right... because there is no merit to this argument.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

"Young Americans should not learn what it's like to kill American soldiers."

Learn? What someone takes out of a game is what makes it art.  I could just as easily say that people shouldn't be able to "learn" how to make effective IEDs from the Hurt Locker.

Either way, the thing I hate more than people being offended and oversensitive is when people who have no real vested interest in the issue telling others that they SHOULD be offended.

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

Very odd, it seems the American technique is to prevent Taliban Sympathisers from having what people percieve as a 'training tool', when, surely, the priority would be to make them not sympathise with the Taliban?

I'd much rather meet people didn't want to kill our citizens and soldiers than people who did want to, but, allegedly, weren't quite as good at it (and whether MOH would have had any impact on that is highly dubious).

Kind of reminds me of when it all started, 'The Taliban? Fighting Back? They aren't supposed to do that!'.

In any game, whether it uses plastic toys, footballs or a computer console, it requires someone to play each side. I wouldn't be surprised if 'Insurgents and Soldiers' will end up in some kind of playground format, much like Cowboys and Indians, taking a great struggle filled with suffering and injustice and turning it into a bit of energetic running around and shouting.

After all, if we follow this reasoning, does it mean that if the computer is doing the AI for the single player game, that your computer is being trained how to fight for the Taliban, or is it maybe just doing what is required to make a game a game?

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

Why is the concept of letting people decide for themselves if they want to play this game or not for whatever reasons so complicated? Everyone on this planet has a different opinion of what they think is offensive and what isn't. Bottom line, you cannot say that this game is offensive or too soon when there are numerous games that let you play as Nazis, etc or considering the huge numbers of books and movies that graphically portray the battlefield.

"With free speech either all of it is ok or none of it is." Kyle Broflovski

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

It's political.

In the states, words like "terrorist" and "Taliban", wield a lot of power over people's emotions. I understand it to a degree, much as I think it's silly to empower words so.

It all goes back to 9/11 really. Were it not for that, I highly doubt anyone would've ever even noticed that a game was about to be released that allowed players to assume the role of a terrorist on a mission to kill American soldiers. Of course, there would also not likely be any conflict to base such a game on, but that's not exactly necessary for such a game to be made now is it?

Just look at the whole South Park portraying Muhammed controversy. You know there's an episode where Muhammed is briefly featured prior to that? Guess what it was also prior to? 9/11.

If the Twin Towers still stood, and there were no American soldiers fighting and dying in Afghanistan and Iraq, I promise you that in this case no one would give a shit. Unless they had complaints about the level of violence, which is certainly possible. But that's a lot less politically-charged, I would say, than the current situation.

My real fear is not of terrorists, but that I won't live long enough to see the day my country is able to move on.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

To be fair, if the Twin Towers still stood and the US never invaded Afghanistan or Iraq, this game would have no subject and, thus, would never have been made. An entire generation of entertainment would be completely different, as a matter of fact, including games, movies and even music.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

“neither educational nor acceptable and goes against every ounce of American patriotism pumping through the veins of our country's citizens.” Not only is patriotism stupid but it makes people stupid as well.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

Just like whatever the polar opposite of patriotism is.

---

With the first link, the chain is forged.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

The polar opposite of patriotism is recognizing that no country is exceptional and I don't believe that's ever caused a problem.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

No, the POLAR opposite of patriotism is hatred of your own country, which does a lot of damage.

---

With the first link, the chain is forged.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

I think it's better to love one's country enough to admit, and care, when it's made mistakes.

To be perfectly frank, some countries actually are exceptional, just not perfect.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

Yeah, sure, we've only been killing American soldiers since, well, at lest Half Life where the HECU marines attacked.

Other games I can think of are the first few Medal of Honor games, Battlefield 1942 comes to mind since it let you be the Nazi forces.

Hell, I'd laugh if Valve changed the forces in Counter Strike to US army and Taliban in protest. Or if someone made a mod for that.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

Go hop on /b/, you might get a few anons willing to help out.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

Them's some pretty strong opinions from someone who hasn't played the game.

"A piece appearing on the website of The Heights, Boston College’s student newspaper, says it’s “too soon” for Electronic Arts to base a game in Afghanistan..."

Okay, at what point is it okay?  As soon as the war's over?  A year after?  Five years?  More?

"Young Americans should not learn what it's like to kill American soldiers."

Well then it's a good thing video games don't have the ability to allow gamers to experience what that's like.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

I find it funny that a lot of people are saying that "neither educational nor acceptable."  No one has played it yet, so how do you know it's not educational.  It probably isn't, but people are making a bunch of hooplah about nothing.

People keep saying "what about the soldiers!?"  It's somehow disrespectful to them.  Has anyone even asked the people on the ground yet before speaking for them?

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

"Has anyone even asked the people on the ground yet before speaking for them?"

My brother will be deployed to Afghanistan within the next couple of weeks. He loves these types of games, and, quite frankly, I don't think he gives a damn whether the Taliban is playable or not.

In the end, all the flag-waving and "too soon" arguments are just a bunch of bs. More so if you then don't also apply them to any other game that allows you to play enemy forces, whether they be Nazis, etc.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

People keep saying "what about the soldiers!?"  It's somehow disrespectful to them.  Has anyone even asked the people on the ground yet before speaking for them?

Because they're afraid of what the answers might be. Hard to play this political bullshit thats gone on with the MOH controversy if your have Marines in Iraq who're looking forward to the game, in spite of it's content.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

There was a gamespot article that interviewed twenty current, active-duty military personnel, and the general consensus, at least to me, was mixed.  Some would play it, some absolutely hated the idea, still others weren't sure, but only a couple thought the game shouldn't be made or sold.

---

With the first link, the chain is forged.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

If you think that making a video game about a current event is disrespectful than you have no respect for this medium.  Most people who will consider this disrespectful are the same people who argue that games are not art and cannot be taken seriously as a dramatic medium.  Yes, multiplayer can be considered very disrespectful because of the atitude of the gamers playing, but if Green Zone and The Hurt Locker are fine, then Medal of Honor and Fallujah should be fine as well. 

http://www.deathvanquished.com

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

Green Zone and The Hurt Locker are fine because, unlike the general stories of most US Military-based FPS games, those were written to educate Americans that fighting the war is bad.  Most US Military-based FPS games tell a story that suggests fighting might be a good thing, thus the problem.

---

With the first link, the chain is forged.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

Granted, I don't play a lot of them but I've not played one that actually suggests or implies that real fighting is a good thing.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

That's not what I meant.  There's more of a pro-American slant towards FPS games featuring the US military than the current crop of war movies.

---

With the first link, the chain is forged.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

I'm not picking up on that either, at least not from American-made movies that feature the US military.  Then again, just like I don't play a lot of war games, I don't see a lot of war movies either (haven't seen Green Zone or Hurt Locker) so it's possible we're just talking about different games and movies.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

If I had a nickel for everytime I have been disrespected I would have a lot of money.  I do agree that the game is disrespectful, I will not be buying it.

 

I may be crazy, but I am not insane.

I may be crazy, but I am not insane.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

I will not buy it either, because of the Massive Controversy, in reguards to the game

My reasons are 1: The Medal of honor game was too soon. 2: it merit mass controversy, Meaning people will buy it and 3: I'm doing this out of respect of the soldiers

Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

I'm not bothered by the game's setting or characters, I'm not buying it because I don't have any interest in playing it.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

Same here. I wasn't all that interested in playing it either, even before the controversies started.

Re: Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

Same here, Even if it didn't faze me, I still Would not be intrested in buying it to play(I "SUCK" at First Person shooters to begin with)

The Game is art(letting the player learn about Afgani Culture) to begin with, But I'm not intrested in it

When I mean Suck I Mean Not good at this genre

Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

 
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