Stars and Stripes: Plenty of Violent Games in AAFES Stores

October 8, 2010 -

While Electronic Arts made the adjustment to rename the Taliban to “Opposing Force” in the multiplayer part of Medal of Honor, a ban on the game appearing in GameStop stores located in Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) locations is still in place.

The decision by AAFES officials puzzled a Stars & Striped columnist, who inventoried other violent games available in AAFES locations, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV.

The story quotes one soldier, an “avid gamer” named Marine Cpl. Aaron Hostutler, as stating that the ban was most likely made by “a commander who doesn’t play video games and hasn’t caught up with the times yet.”

Hostutler continued:

In ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,’ you can play as several different countries’ forces and often you’re playing against and killing Marines or our allies. I don’t understand how ‘Medal of Honor’ is any different.

The Marine also noted that AAFES stores also sell booze and tobacco, “substances that actually hurt people when they choose to use it.”

An EA spokesperson said about the ban, “EA has not asked for, and does not expect, a change in the Defense Department's decision to restrict the availability of Medal of Honor on bases.”


Comments

Re: Stars and Stripes: Plenty of Violent Games in AAFES ...

Hold on a second.

They won't sell a game based on actual events that looks like it's done tastefully where American troops fight Taliban forces, but it's perfectly fine to sell a game where a huge chunk of players cause chaos for fun and shoot soldiers for no reason other than joy?

Wow.

Re: Stars and Stripes: Plenty of Violent Games in AAFES ...

Not that I'm doubting you, but, what game would you be referring to? I ask mainly because nothing comes to mind outside of GTA: III (I remember being able to blow away soldiers in that game, though it wasn't exactly a piece of cake either), since I don't really gravitate towards games of that ilk, I guess.

Re: Stars and Stripes: Plenty of Violent Games in AAFES ...

All the GTA games up to GTA4 allowed that, but GTA4 don't have the military. Less fun for that in my opinion, I loved seeing how to takeo n the armed forces.

Re: Stars and Stripes: Plenty of Violent Games in AAFES ...

So booze and Cod:Mw2 is okay but not Medal of Honor? your not making any since AAFES, even after Ea got rid of the Talibans. 

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: Stars and Stripes: Plenty of Violent Games in AAFES ...

Alcohol may kill people, including those in the service, but it doesn't have a face or eyes, or do anything on it's own.

At least, that's my explanation, and it makes perfect sense to me. I don't really agree with the notion that MOH deserves such hatred, but I can't necessarily blame anyone for not being thrilled, especially the military. Plenty of people in the service know someone who got killed by a Taliban fighter or the like.

When Amercia's involvement in conflicts in the Middle East is a good fifty to sixty years behind us, being able to play as a terrorist probably won't stir up nearly as much furor.

Re: Stars and Stripes: Plenty of Violent Games in AAFES ...

Plenty of people know someone who was killed by a Nazi, but nobody freaked out about any WW2 shooter.

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Re: Stars and Stripes: Plenty of Violent Games in AAFES ...

It's not the men and women on the ground that have raised their voices about Medal of Honor; it's the people in charge of AAFES. The folks on the front lines have been told that they're fighting for freedom, so the in defense of freedom, they'd like to see freedom of any kind being respected back home. Armed forces that are trained to kill tend to not whine about what things are called. It's the armchair generals and bureaucrats who want to show off their feathers.

That said, I'm annoyed by the comments that depict EA's renaming of Taliban to Opposing Forces as EA being pressured by DOD. That was EA's choice. In the defense industry, companies regularly tell their government customers to shove it when the government requests something that's not part of their contracts. One long-time defense worker told me, "If EA was a defense company, they would told the DOD to **** off." DOD was very impressed with EA for obliging their request.

EA's action was also very smart for a number of reasons. The best reason why EA's response was smart is because it headed off a PR nightmare for the upcoming SCOTUS case. Nobody wanted the politicians to drag video games through the mud, shouting about how the video game industry is unpatriotic, anti-American, and disrespectful to the military and military families while we were trying to protect video games from regulation. EA shut that down. Yeah, Ian Bogost might have a point that EA didn't help the freedom of expression argument, but quite frankly, EA exercised its freedom, too--its freedom to restrain its expression and protect its business.

Re: Stars and Stripes: Plenty of Violent Games in AAFES ...

Oh I agree that EA was simply being tactful. Though I haven't explicitly stated it until now, I do feel that the Taliban-playing option in MOH was in poor taste, and altering it was a business decision that I agree with, much as I recognize and disapprove of the double-standard being applied, both for games in general and for that game in particular.

Basically, EA's decision was appropriate, but I will always feel it never should've been a big deal.

It's the armchair generals and bureaucrats who want to show off their feathers.

Regardless, that wouldn't be happening without American soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East. That was my whole point.

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