U.S. Military Bans Medal of Honor From On-Base Stores

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U.S. Military Bans Medal of Honor From On-Base Stores

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GameStop won't be carrying Medal of Honor in any of its store located on U.S. military bases, the company said, "out of respect for our past and present men and women in uniform."

The inclusion of the Taliban as a playable faction in the multiplayer component of the new Medal of Honor has stirred up no small amount of controversy. Electronic Arts is sticking to its guns in the matter, albeit with a rather weak "it's only a game" justification, and most consumers will be able to pick up the game, Taliban and all, without any trouble when it comes out next month. But for gamers who also happen to be active members of the military, it'll be a trickier proposition.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Services has said that the game will not be sold in any of the 49 GameStop stores located on military bases in the U.S., or in PX operations anywhere else in the world. Military personnel in the U.S. will still be able to pop down to the local mall and pick up a copy of the game but those deployed to places like Afghanistan and Iraq will simply have to do without.

"Out of respect to those we serve, we will not be stocking this game," Army & Air Force Exchange Service Commander Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella told Kotaku. "We regret any inconvenience this may cause authorized shoppers, but are optimistic that they will understand the sensitivity to the life and death scenarios this product presents as entertainment. As a military command with a retail mission, we serve a very unique customer base that has, or possibly will, witness combat in real life.

"GameStop has agreed out of respect for our past and present men and women in uniform [that] we will not carry Medal of Honor in any of our AAFES-based stores," the company said in an email. "As such, GameStop agreed to have all marketing material pulled by noon today and to stop taking reservations. Customers who enter our AAFES stores and wish to reserve Medal of Honor can and should be directed to the nearest GameStop location off base. GameStop fully supports AAFES in this endeavor and is sensitive to the fact that in multiplayer mode one side will assume the role of Taliban fighter."

Kotaku has printed two interesting responses from members of the military, one supporting the decision and one opposed. A former combat medic who spent six years in the Army, including a deployment to Iraq, said the ban was a "shame" and that he found it offensive that the AAFES apparently believes that soldiers can't protect themselves from products that may be harmful; a member of the Air Force, on the other hand, wrote that PX/BX customers are "people who will be affected by a death in Afghanistan" and that keeping the game off-base is simply a matter of "trying to be sensitive to the pain of their patrons."

Medal of Honor comes out on October 12 for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Thanks to SmugFrog for the tip.

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They let them play MW2 don't they? And this has been developed with the help of soldiers.

It's a character skin, you're not "role-playing" like you are in the main campaign. Soldiers have even said before that they have a sort of respect for the Taliban fighters.

Let the soldiers choose what they want to play; and from the sounds of it they've already had people pre-order it ("stopped taking reservations").

Again, these are GROWN ADULTS who should be able to buy whatever content they think they can handle. Bans seem pointless.

Are you telling me that there are Gamestop stores on Military bases? The fuck?

I actually got a chance to touch base with a military buddy on this issue. I told him I'd beta tested the game on PC, and that throughout the entirety of it, all I could think was man, there are real people both military and civilian, who are likely dying....right now, and it just felt...wrong somehow.

He said it seemed kind of awkward that the game wouldn't actually be based upon real events (yes, they use setting, but it's multi-player so you can't exactly follow a script there...well, not in traditional multi-player), and he also took serious exception to the fact that the Taliban won't 'push too hard'. He thought that was simply glazing over the truth.

Meanwhile at EA's marketing department, people lean back, pick their belly buttons and let media do their job...

I kinda understand this one, but still...

As Graham puts it, 'Is Americans killing other Americans better somehow?'

Absolutly ridiculous that they are not allowing soldiers to make their own decision when it comes to purchasing a product. Yeah, you just have to go off base to get it, but come on now.

Littaly:
Meanwhile at EA's marketing department, people lean back, pick their belly buttons and let media do their job...

Yep, sitting their thinking: "Mission accomplished." And "Muwhhahahahaa."

I bet the Taliban pull the same stunt in Gamestop stores in their military bases,or caves, or whatever.

Wtf? Really? Its total fiction! Shit as it have been said before why dont anyone react when you play as Nazis? This is just stupid.

So our military have no problem preparing and letting soldiers get shipped out to places like Iraq and Afghanistan to fight in real war, but as soon as a SIMULATED version comes out that can very easily be boycotted by the ones who don't like it and the military feels it needs to treat our troops like children who can't handle a video-game. sounds more like babying our troops then respecting them in my opinion. I call BS on the higher ups making this ban.

Seriously, why is the Taliban in a game so bad? You don't seem to be very interested in defending the people you sent to die in Vietnam, or World War 1& 2. Or even the fucking cold war, for that matter. Sure, no one died in it, but it should still be a little questionable making games where you murder Russians.

Get the fuck over it guys, it is just a fucking game. Damn hypocrites.

Oh no we can't play as brown people that would just be horrible to kill a few Americans(Models textured to look American), sure we have invaded numerous countries killing thousands upon thousands of people just trying to live their lives and now we can play as the people who opposed that? That's just horrible!

Woodsey:
They let them play MW2 don't they?

That was my first thought, too. MW2 also had levels based in Afghanistan, fighting pseudo-Taliban forces. And in the end of the game you also killed American soldiers, although you were a Brit instead of an Afghani and those Americans were on the wrong side.

So it's okay for soldiers to play a game presenting "life and death scenarios" based loosely on current events as long as they aren't able to play as the enemy forces?

Maybe the governments don't want people seeing the war through the enemies' eyes, because you know that might make them seem human and less like malevolent tan people.

Edit: Due to my own personal retardation, I did not realize that you only played the Taliban in multiplayer. Now my mind flashes back to Nazis, terrorists, and Russians.

Nimbus:
Are you telling me that there are Gamestop stores on Military bases? The fuck?

Yarr, I heard the US Army were also part of the Ubisoft DRM bashing that was part of Assassin's Creed II.

OT: Well, I can see why the would, but I can't see the fact that these soldiers, used to combat, Taliban, death and various other things, aren't allowed to make informed desicions on what games to play because of a name that comes up during multiplayer.

Its funny, some people who oppose video games say that players won't be able to tell reality from fantasy, yet the only people who seem to be equating playing as the Taliban with actually attacking real life coalition troops are the people who condemn the games.

Have fun defending free speech just to be opressed

Outlaw Torn:
I bet the Taliban pull the same stunt in Gamestop stores in their military bases,or caves, or whatever.

This put a smile on my face.

And to everyone up in arms, settle down, the US military is only restricting the sale of the game on their bases. Like the article said those stationed in the US can simply drive to the mall. And for those in the Middle East they can receive it in a care package if they need it so desperately. They're not banned from playing the game.

What the hell is with people these days? This is a MILITARY base, they can choose to ban a game which has the actually enemy they are fighting rather than a cheap knockoff. AAFES has allowed me to get may great, tax-free games in the past, but I think it would be better if I ordered this one off the internet

You put these men and women in these shit hole countries to fight for a country that hardly cares for you or this terribad war and you cant give them some god damn entertainment?

NICE TO KNOW THAT FREEDOM OF SPEECH DOESNT WORK ON AN ARMY BASE

Also, how terrible they are only stuck with Gamestop...thats worse then any war...

The Procrastinated End:
Maybe the governments don't want people seeing the war through the enemies' eyes, because you know that might make them seem human and less like malevolent tan people.

But, you don't see it through their eyes. It's multiplayer, it's literally the same thing, but with AK-47s instead of M16s. I don't think that would make anyone more sympathetic.

The Procrastinated End:
Maybe the governments don't want people seeing the war through the enemies' eyes, because you know that might make them seem human and less like malevolent tan people.

Only that's the point: it's just a character skin. You don't do anything Taliban-y.

Vault Citizen:
Its funny, some people who oppose video games say that players won't be able to tell reality from fantasy, yet the only people who seem to be equating playing as the Taliban with actually attacking real life coalition troops are the people who condemn the games.

I've always thought the same thing to. Ignoring the fact that there are so many gamers that it's a matter of probability that a least a few are going to be psychopaths, the only people that can't seem to tell the difference are the people that denounce them.

Even in small children, they know the difference. If you gave a 5-year-old GTA or CoD (not that I'm condoning this), they'll still know it's a game.

I'm obviously not going to support any kind of ban against any kind of game, but I support this move. Soldiers who want the game can still get it; soldiers who don't want to put up with that kind of shit while they're doing their shopping during downtime in Afghanistan shouldn't have to.

And bear in mind, kids, that this is the military we're talking about. They're not like us. Military life doesn't play by our rules.

As far as the game's potential to "humanize" the Taliban, I'm not sure I'm interested in according that level of respect to any group that believes the proper way to deal with women who want a rudimentary education is to throw acid in their faces or cut off their noses and ears.

Nimbus:
Are you telling me that there are Gamestop stores on Military bases? The fuck?

If there are, I haven't seen them. I've seen exchanges, a Blockbuster, commissaries, a Target, and a few other stores, but not a Gamestop (Note: I've only been to 4 bases that I can remember though).

Man, I bet Activision were wishing they had gotten this much free press for MW2.

Nimbus:
Are you telling me that there are Gamestop stores on Military bases? The fuck?

A lot of Military Bases are small towns. I live in Oceanside, not three miles from Pendleton. It's a developing community with ever-changing stores and shit.

OT: Are people REALLY getting upset over this? It'd be one thing if the Military was trying to ban the game throughout the country, but this is just for its own sake. There probably are plenty of soldiers who do take high offense at the idea of this game offering you to play as and against an active non-fictional enemy. This is more-so a statement that the Military cares about its boys enough to not let someone traumatize them even further. Besides, it's not like you can't take a few extra minutes to hit an off-base GameStop and just get a copy there.

Nimbus:
Are you telling me that there are Gamestop stores on Military bases? The fuck?

Possibly, my mate says that Camp Bastion in Afghan has a sort of mobile Pizza Hut and a Blockbuster.

Deofuta:
Absolutly ridiculous that they are not allowing soldiers to make their own decision when it comes to purchasing a product.

Well, they are technically in the army so they technically don't have the same rights as you and me. If the army says that something is bad for them, then the army says its bad for them.

ryuke2009:
So our military have no problem preparing and letting soldiers get shipped out to places like Iraq and Afghanistan to fight in real war, but as soon as a SIMULATED version comes out that can very easily be boycotted by the ones who don't like it and the military feels it needs to treat our troops like children who can't handle a video-game. sounds more like babying our troops then respecting them in my opinion. I call BS on the higher ups making this ban.

It's not really a simulation though, they're made-up encounters set in a current war-zone where soldiers, insurgents and civilians are dying daily. The Taliban are also, for all intents and purposes, 'nerfed' in MoH:T1. Which is pretty BS also.

This is a controversy that should never have existed in the first place. Last time I checked, plenty of american soldiers died every time I booted up Modern Warfare for a multiplayer match and they are quite often shot by arab looking guys in places that bears an eerie resemblance to Iraq. But hey, since they are just "OpFor" I guess most people are to stupid to realize that these could be *gasp* iraqi insurgents! (That last part was sarcasm)

If any serviceman or woman in the ISAF or the American contigent in Afghanistan has a problem with the games portrayal of the war in Afghanistan, I respect that. However, these people who have not been deployed to Afghanistan (from whichever nation they may be) are really making a hen out of a feather. Especially since it is the multiplayer part they are up in arms against.

They do this to honour the soldiers who died defending freedom and the freedom of speech.

Oh, the irony.

This isn't that big of a deal. They are just keeping it from being sold on their bases. It sounds reasonable to me.

They could be a more strict about this and completely prevent soldiers and airmen from playing this game in their barracks. Or, a more shortsighted base commander could perhaps ban video games on bases altogether. And I rather it not come to that, but they are completely entitled to make such dictations. Ever worked for a company that banned music in the workplace just because the boss didn't like what you were playing?

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