Professor on War Games: Studios Stuck in “Netherworld”

October 28, 2010 -

A ForeignPolicy.com piece on the state of war videogames asks if such titles are bringing the reality of current conflicts into the living rooms of gamers, or simply exploiting them for commercial gain.

A good chunk of the piece centers on the recently released Medal of Honor, in light of the controversy it generated. That controversy, the author writes, “wouldn't have occurred even five or six years ago,” as “video game studios seemed to be reticent about tackling contemporary conflicts, preferring instead to crank out games based in abstracted worlds and full of abstracted enemies.”

8 comments | Read more

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.

8 comments | Read more

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:

35 comments | Read more

Pitchford Worried that Duke Could Run Afoul of Rating Boards

October 7, 2010 -

Gamers have waited so long for Duke Nukem Forever, would they possibly accept a watered-down version of the game?

Gearbox Software head Randy Pitchford seems to be worried that Duke’s potty mouth and penchant for strippers might result in the game agitating the ESRB and PEGI. CVG conveys (Thanks Cheater87!) on Pitchford’s worries, as delivered at a London press event.

Pitchford reportedly warned press not to view a trailer for the Duke Nukem Forever, as he didn’t “want our friends at Take-Two to be punished for our creativity.” The trailer, which featured “bare breasts, strippers, gratuitous swearing, the word 'f***ing' in massive letters and a giant alien getting pummelled in the genitals by Duke himself,” was outrageous enough that Pitchford stated that rating boards would probably “not be approving of this.”

17 comments | Read more

Before EA Caved, ex-Congressman and General Gave MOH Grief

October 5, 2010 -

While there’s no doubt Electronic Arts totally succumbed to pressure when it removed the Taliban (in name only) from the upcoming Medal of Honor videogame, a letter written to the Colorado Retail Council (CRC) by a former Congressman and ex-Air Force General shows the type of opponents EA was assembling as media hysteria about the game spread.

In a letter dated September 30, just a day before EA announced its change to Medal of Honor, former Colorado Republican Congressman Scott McInnis and Bentley Rayburn (pictured left and right respectively), a retired U.S. Air Force General, affixed their names to a letter urging the CRC to denounce the Medal of Honor game.

As seen on the Colorado Springs Independent website, the pair argued their case to CRC President Christopher Howes, calling the ability to play as the Taliban a “complete disgrace” and adding that “out of respect to our troops no retailer in Colorado should sell it.”

The duo continued:

7 comments | Read more

EA Caves, Renames Taliban in MOH

October 1, 2010 -

Did not see this one coming, but via Kotaku (thanks Cheater87!), Electronic Arts has folded like a cheap suit and announced that it is renaming the Taliban forces in its upcoming Medal of Honor game to the more benign “Opposing Force.”

To be fair, Medal of Honor Greg Goodrich, in a statement on the game’s website, indicated that the renaming was done in response to “reverence for American and Allied soldiers.”

More from Goodrich:

The Most Offensive Games Ever

September 29, 2010 -

The Washington Post took a break from talking about the mid-term elections to select the 15 most Offensive Video Games Ever Made. Ever made? Well if you consider rape, ethnic cleansing, recreations of horrific crimes, pedophilia, terrorism, and gruesome brutality offensive than this list has something for you.

So what are these horribly offensive games?

WP lists Modern Warfare 2, Bonetown, Rapelay, V-Tech Rampage, Custer's Revenge (you can't beat the classics..), Resistance: Ethnic Cleansing, Battle Raper, JFK Reloaded, Operation Pedopriest, The Torture Game 2, Muslim Massacre: The Game of Modern Religious Genocide, Manhunt 2, Virtual Jihadi, and Raid Gaza.

Enjoy the horror show here.

20 comments

EA to Offer Four Day Open Multiplayer Beta of Medal of Honor

September 24, 2010 -

In a bid to clear up any “misunderstanding about the patriotism” at the heart of the game hated by defense ministers around the world, Electronic Arts will offer an open beta for the PC versions of its Medal of Honor game ahead of the title’s October 12th release.

PC owners will be able to take part in the open multiplayer beta from October 4th through midnight of October 7. The beta will consists of two maps (Shahikot Mountains and Kunar Base) and a pair of game modes (Combat Mission and Sector Control).

EA Games President Frank Gibeau offered:

We also hope that by offering the Multiplayer Open Beta, we can clear up any misunderstanding about the patriotism and respect that are the foundation of this game. The Medal of Honor franchise has always shown extraordinary reverence for American and Allied soldiers -- this game is no exception.

2 comments | Read more

Op-Ed Urges Consumer, Retailers to Avoid Medal of Honor

September 23, 2010 -

An opinion piece in a Fort Meyers, Florida newspaper describes the ability to take on the role of insurgents in the upcoming Electronic Arts game Medal of Honor as games reaching  an “all-time low level.”

Taking a page (or bait?) from UK Defense Secretary Liam Fox, who urged retailers not to sell the title, the author of the News-Press editorial posed a similar challenge to readers:

…we do suggest that Americans at the very least refuse to buy 'Medal of Honor.' We suggest that retailers refuse to stock it. And we especially suggest that parents not allow their children to own or play it.

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:

No Mafia II for UAE

September 7, 2010 -

The United Arab Emirates’ National Media Council has banned the release of Take-Two Interactive’s Mafia II videogame in that country.

Nitin Mathew, of the Dubai-based distribution firm Red Entertainment Distribution, told Arabian Business that the game was banned because of its “excessive violence and nudity.”

Mafia II was going to be released at the end of August, but now it will share the same fate as its predecessor Mafia, which was also banished from the UAE. Other recent games outlawed in the UAE include Heavy Rain, Dante’s Inferno (which wasn’t even submitted to censors), Darksiders, God of War and Grand Theft Auto IV.

3 comments | Read more

Another MOD Criticizes MOH

September 7, 2010 -

The red phones connecting the world’s defense/defence ministers must be working fine, as yet another member of that group has jumped on the anti-Medal of Honor videogame bandwagon.

This time around Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay took issue with the Electronic Arts game, specifically over the ability to play as a member of the Taliban in Medal of Honor’s multiplayer mode. MacKay, via the Ottawa Citizen, had this to say about the game:

The men and women of the Canadian Forces, our allies, aid workers, and innocent Afghans are being shot at, and sometimes killed, by the Taliban. This is reality. I find it wrong to have anyone, children in particular, playing the role of the Taliban. I'm sure most Canadians are uncomfortable and angry about this.

What the Average American Thinks about MOH

September 1, 2010 -

In light of the controversy surrounding the ability to play as the Taliban in Electronic Arts’ upcoming Medal of Honor, Northern California’s Times-Herald solicited reader input on the title, in the form of letters to the editor, and listed them on their website.

The responses range from ambivalent to angry, and probably represent a decent enough cross-section of opinions. Samplings of the responses are shared below, led off with our personal favorite:

Aubrey Cosentino: I don't think they should have even made this game, let alone try and release it. I would never buy it. My brother is in the Navy and served over in Iraq. It's a slap in the face to Americans is what it is; first they want to build a temple, now this game, come on now ...

Linda Peterson: I would NOT buy it -- but I don't play or buy any war games at all. I think the Taliban option is in extremely bad taste. Offensive even.

32 comments | Read more

Anti-Mosque Game Created by Austrian Political Party

September 1, 2010 -

An online videogame backed by the right wing Austrian Freedom Party (FPO), launched in advance of regional elections to be held on September 26, depicts the province of Styria as overrun with mosques and tasks players with stopping further ones from being built.

A Reuters story claims that the “Bye Bye Mosque” game has drawn over 60,000 visitors since Monday, in addition to criticisms from the local Islamic community, Social Democrats and the Green Party. A local Islamic leader named Anas Schakfeh called the game “tasteless and incomprehensible,” adding, “This is religious hatred and xenophobia beyond comparison.”

As the game ends, a message reads, “Styria is full of minarets and mosques. So vote for Dr. Gerhard Kurzmann (pictured) and the Freedom Party on September 26 so that this doesn’t happen.”

26 comments | Read more

Officer’s Immersion in Plants vs Zombies Allows Jail Break [Updated]

August 9, 2010 -

One police officer’s profound interest in the game Plants vs Zombies allowed five inmates to easily escape a jail cell in the Filipino municipality of Cagayan de Oro City.

The officer was so deep into his game session that he left the keys to a cell within reach of prisoners, according to a story on Global Nation. While four of the escapees were quickly rounded up, a fifth, Reynard Marturillas, is still at-large.

Officials believe Marturillas integrated himself with a trash pickup in order to escape detection, though local Department of Public Services stated that the inmate would “have surely collapsed from the stench of food slop collected from the jail.”

It was noted, however, that “a convicted prisoner, who is due to be shipped out to the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinglupa, would surely find the will to endure a ride that smells to the high heavens.”

1 comment | Read more

Take-Two, Apogee Settle Duke Suit

June 15, 2010 -

Take-Two Interactive and Apogee Software have dismissed lawsuits against each other over the long in development Duke Nukem Forever.

Attorneys for Apogee signed the document on May 18 of this year (thanks ShackNews), while Take-Two’s law firm affixed its signature on May 28. The document stipulates that plaintiff Take-Two, counterclaim-defendant 2K Games and counterclaim plaintiff Apogee agreed to dismiss with prejudice all claims within per a May 14, 2010 agreement. Each party will pay for its own costs of the litigation.

The lawsuits erupted following developer 3D Realms letting go its staff in May of 2009, which Take-Two took as indicating that the game they had partially funded since 1998 was no longer in development. The 3D Realms and Apogee countersuit claimed that, despite a full roster of employees, the game was still in the works.

4 comments | Read more

Mortal Kombat Returns

June 10, 2010 -

Mortal Kombat, one of the games responsible for the formation of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), thanks to its bloody fatalities raising the ire of politicians like Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman and Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl, will return to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011.

The title will be published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and is in development by NetherRealm Studios, which is wholly owned by the WB. Legendary Ed Boon is helming the project and promised, “This game really is a response to what players have been demanding: mature presentation, reinvented 2D fighting mechanic and the best, most gruesome fatalities ever!”

In a nice bit of timing, Gamasutra today is running an excerpt from the book Replay: The History of Video Games by Tristan Donovan that focuses on the uproar violent videogames caused in the 1990s.

4 comments | Read more

Benzaie Takes on RapeLay

June 7, 2010 -

If you’ve always wondered exactly what type of gameplay is in the infamous RapeLay, head on over to That Guy With Glasses and allow Benzaie to give you a walk through.

As Banzaie notes, “The sexual nature of whatever you are doing [to] these 3D rendered cartoon characters might shock you,” but, “If you’re not American, please ignore this warning since all there is to see is a bunch of polygonized girls in undies wiggling their asses in the air.”

There is some coarse language as well, so the video is probably not work safe.


Thanks Andrew!

6 comments

Irish Eyes Not Smiling Over Red Dead Redemption Character

May 20, 2010 -

The Irish aren’t too happy about the name of a town drunk in the just-released Red Dead Redemption.

An article on the Herald website notes that “The stereotype of the drunken Paddy will again be taken advantage of, as the game's town drunk is called "Irish". A description of the character, which the Herald took from a “popular gaming forum”, describes Irish as “the town drunk. Usually found stumbling around and getting into trouble with sober townsfolk while attempting to talk his way out".

Rockstar itself painted the character as “A teller of tall tales, who’ll try to talk his way out of anything.” Another piece of character artwork offered has Irish, while brandishing a liquor bottle, stating, “I was real drunk. You know how it is.”

19 comments | Read more

GameStop Fired RapeLay Commenter to Save $$, Stop Boycotts

May 12, 2010 -

A GameStop employee fired for discussing piracy and RapeLay in a college newspaper says that he was canned in order to avoid costing the videogame retailer “millions of dollars.”

Derek Littlejohn told Kotaku that following publication of The Globe article, his District Manager was contacted by a GameStop Vice President, who said he was getting calls about an article in the Globe, which the VP thought alluded to the British tabloid of the same name. Littlejohn’s manager told him that he was fired because “people were threatening to boycott and picket GameStop, which would cost the company millions of dollars.”

Littlejohn indicated that the author of the Globe piece, Ann Straub, was a friend of his, but that he “Didn't know she was gonna cite me as an employee of Gamestop, which is what they were able to use as for firing me…”

20 comments | Read more

GameStop Employee Canned for RapeLay Comments?

May 10, 2010 -

Being interviewed for an article on RapeLay may have cost a GameStop employee his job.

GameStop employee Derek Littlejohn was interviewed for a piece on the controversial game which ran in the Point Park University publication The Globe. Littlejohn was quoted in the story stating, “I’ve both heard about and played RapeLay myself, and I find it as nothing more than a game.”

Littlejohn went on to offer some theories on Japanese culture before discussing banned games, saying, “It’s relatively easy to pirate these games, when all one has to do is type in the name of what they want and add ‘torrent.'" He added, "Usually, some sort of link turns up.”

GameRant claims LittleJohn, employed for about two years by GameStop in Oakland, was fired shortly after the article was published.

43 comments | Read more

Gamer Offers Counterpoint to Girl against RapeLay

April 26, 2010 -

In response to last week’s story by Charleston, South Carolina’s News 2 on a 14-year old girl who started petitions against the game RapeLay, a local gamer called the station and offered a point of view on the dangers of banning any games.

While he empathized with the plight of Elena Lyons, thirty-two year old Dondi Wiggins took issue with the banning of any game, saying that gamers, “…should have the right to decide for ourselves” what to play.

Wiggins, President of a local gaming group called Lowcountry Anime and Gaming (a group that is a chapter of the Entertainment Consumer Association [ECA]), said that he personally would not play Rapelay.

Wiggins added, “I don’t think video games should be banned.  I think we as gamers should decide what we want to play as an adult.  We have free speech.”

60 comments | Read more

RapeLay Coverage Hits Home for Teen Girl

April 23, 2010 -

While we often make light of reactions to RapeLay from the media and politicians, the recent reemergence of the game into the spotlight has caused a 14-year old victim of sexual assault to come out and publicly denounce the title.

Well-meaning teen Elena Lyons contacted Charleston, South Carolina’s News 2 in order to voice her concerns over the game, saying, “This game is wrong.  It needs to be stopped.  No game like this should ever be put out there. Rape is not a joke.  People seem to think that it is.  They don’t take it seriously, but rape isn’t a joke. It is very hurtful.”

Lyons, who says she was sexually assaulted by a non-family member at age eight, has started an online petition against the game and is organizing a walk that she hopes will stop the game.

Unfortunately, short of destroying all the tubes that comprise the Internet, there’s not much that can be done about the availability of RapeLay, perhaps someone should have told Lyons that.

54 comments

Argentina Reacts to RapeLay

April 21, 2010 -

No doubt motivated by CNN’s sensationalistic coverage of the game, an Argentinean politician has taken the bait and warned that the controversial game RapeLay violates the country's criminal codes.

Argentina's Ministry of Justice called RapeLay (translated) a “clear vindication of the crimes of sexual abuse, violation, against sexual integrity and discrimination against the women,” and warned the populace that the sale or commercialization of games featuring explicit sexual activities is in direct opposition to article 128 of Argentina’s penal code. Those who break such laws are subject to prison terms ranging from six months to four years.

18 comments | Read more

Manga Artist Objects to CNN RapeLay Coverage

April 6, 2010 -

In response to CNN’s RapeLay coverage, a Japanese artist has penned an open letter to the network decrying its reporting of the matter.

Nogami Takeshi wrote that his career began drawing hentai manga (sexually explicit anime comic), though most of his current work was described as non-hentai manga. As such, Nogami calls himself “well qualified to object to the views you present.”

After noting that, “... we Japanese enjoy one of the most safe and peaceful societies on Earth,” Nogami admits that Japanese society does have its problems, but that, “I frankly do not think that you are the ones to tell us [about the problems]."

He continued:

33 comments | Read more

Swiss Game Ban May Feature Only a Little Censorship

April 5, 2010 -

According to the politician behind the law, a recently-ratified, but not yet enacted, Swiss violent game ban would not blindly outlaw all violent games.

Swiss Social Democrat Evi Allemann (pictured) was recently interviewed by the Swiss publication 20 Minutes Online (translated) and indicated that the ban would apply only to “individual games.” She estimated that, “like in Germany,” only 12 or so games would wind up being banned, including titles such as Mortal Kombat and Manhunt (which are banned in Germany), but not the likes of Counter-Strike.

RapeLay Resurfaces on CNN

March 31, 2010 -

RapeLay, the difficult-to-defend game that’s a favorite target of politicians, is the focus of a CNN story which attempts to paint a picture of the game’s rising viral popularity.

While a voiceover says, “the game infuriates women’s rights groups,” the video cuts to Taina Bien-Aime, Executive Director of Equality Now. She states, “These sort of games that normalize extreme sexual violence in women and girls really have no place in our communities”

Bien-Aime later adds:

What we are calling for though, is that the Japanese government ban all games that promote and simulate sexual violence, sexual torture, stalking and rape against women and girls, and there are plenty of games like that.

69 comments | Read more

Swiss Pass Violent Game Bans, Actual Laws to Follow

March 19, 2010 -

So much for remaining neutral—a pair of Swiss resolutions dealing with violent videogames have been passed by the country’s National Council.

As detailed last month, the first resolution, proposed by Christian Democratic Party member and National Councillor Norbert Hochreutener, would make it illegal to sell PEGI 16 or 18-rated games to minors, while a second resolution, backed by Social Democrat Evi Allemann, called for a complete ban of violent and adult-themed videogames.

Six Days in Fallujah Completed

March 3, 2010 -

Atomic Games President Peter Tamte indicated late last year that his company was “committed” to finishing the controversial Six Days in Fallujah videogame and it appears he has remained true to his word.

A story on IGN, citing a “source close to the game’s development,” reports that the game has been completed, though a release date for the game, or publisher, was not disclosed.

Konami had initially backed the project and was going to serve as its publisher before a series of negative public reactions to the game became public. The families of military personnel wounded or killed in the Iraqi war, and even some soldiers themselves, believed that it was too soon for such a game to be released, as the war was still ongoing (and indeed still is today) at the time of the announcement.

Other groups expressed dismay over the project due to heavy civilian losses reported in the real fight over Fallujah. Additional reports that insurgents may have helped contribute to the game’s development did nothing to lessen the controversy surrounding the title.

Konami eventually bailed on Atomic Games and Six days in Fallujah in April of last year, citing negative reactions to the game.
 

Thanks Andrew!

12 comments

Forecast Calls for No Heavy Rain in UAE

February 23, 2010 -

The Quantic Dream-developed PlayStation 3 title Heavy Rain, which releases stateside today, will not see the light of day in the United Arab Emirates.

The Khaleej Times reports that the UAE’s National Media Council, in what sounds like a late reaction, stopped the release of the game. The paper speculated that a scene from the game in which a character is forced to perform a topless dance at gunpoint was most likely among the reasons for the game’s ban.

A Sony PR rep confirmed the game’s ban, noting that Heavy Rain “has been conceived from the earliest stages as a genuinely adult experience. This means that it deals with strong content including blood and nudity, but treats this content in amature and sensitive manner.”

Problem solving UAE residents that wish to play the game will probably not have too hard of a time finding the title according to one gamer, who said, “There’s a flourishing gray market out there and the title will be available there, if it already isn’t.”


Thanks Andrew and Gellymatos!

11 comments

 
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E. Zachary KnightGot that same recommendation on Twitter. So I guess that is a good sign.09/15/2014 - 8:39pm
prh99Portlandia, though I don't watch a lot of sitcoms. Heard it was good though.09/15/2014 - 8:02pm
E. Zachary KnightSitcom recommendations for someone who like Parks and Rec but hates The Office: Go.09/15/2014 - 6:08pm
NeenekoEven if they do change their policy, they can only do it moving forward and I could see the mod/pack community simply branching.09/15/2014 - 12:50pm
Michael ChandraAs for take the money and run, the guy must have a networth of 8~9 digits already.09/15/2014 - 10:33am
Michael ChandraMe, I'm more betting on some form of mod API where servers must run donations/payments through them and they take a cut.09/15/2014 - 10:32am
Michael ChandraEspecially since they want it for promoting their phones. Killing user interest is the dumbest move to make.09/15/2014 - 10:32am
Michael ChandraGiven how the EULA actively allows for LPs, I'm not sure Microsoft is ready for the backlash of disallowing that.09/15/2014 - 10:31am
Matthew Wilsonthey wont do that, the backlash would be too big.09/15/2014 - 10:25am
ConsterSleaker: how is that a flipside? Sounds to me like that's basically what Notch himself said, except rudely.09/15/2014 - 10:18am
MaskedPixelanteOn the plus side, no more lazy Minecraft LPs, since iirc Microsoft has a strict "no monetization period" policy when it comes to their stuff.09/15/2014 - 10:13am
james_fudgeBut it continues to sell on every platform it is on, so there's that09/15/2014 - 10:09am
james_fudgeOh, well that's another matter :)09/15/2014 - 10:08am
E. Zachary KnightNothing against Notch here. I think it is great that he made something so cool. I just can't understand how it is worth $2.5 bil09/15/2014 - 9:59am
InfophileWhat a world we live in: Becoming a billionaire was the easy way out for Notch.09/15/2014 - 9:42am
james_fudgelots of hate for Notch here. I don't get it. Sorry he made a game everyone loved. What a monster he is!09/15/2014 - 9:37am
SleakerOn the flipside, Notch has been a horrible CEO for Mojang, and the company has grown on sheer inertia, DESPITE being mishandled over and over.09/15/2014 - 9:33am
SleakerI can understand Notch's statements he made to Kotaku about growing bigger than he intended, and getting hate for EULA changes he didn't enact.09/15/2014 - 9:32am
MaskedPixelantehttp://pastebin.com/n1qTeikM Notch's statement about the MS acquisition. He wanted out for a long time and this was the easiest way.09/15/2014 - 9:08am
ConsterEh, I can't blame him.09/15/2014 - 9:01am
 

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