U.S. Army May Reverse Medal of Honor Ban

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U.S. Army May Reverse Medal of Honor Ban

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Now that the Taliban has been removed from Medal of Honor, the U.S. Army may be reconsidering its decision to ban the game from stores on military bases.

The Army announced in early September that EA's Medal of Honor reboot would not be offered for sale in GameStop stores located on U.S. military bases or through PX stores elsewhere in the world because of the inclusion of the Taliban as a playable online faction. The ban was imposed "out of respect to those we serve," said Army & Air Force Exchange Service Commander Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella, and GameStop, "out of respect for our past and present men and women in uniform," agreed to honor it.

But now that EA has removed the Taliban from the game, it appears that the Army might be reconsidering the situation. GameStop declined to comment on the change but an AAFES representative told Joystiq that the Army is "aware of reported changes to the latest Medal of Honor game" and that "the organization has been, and continues to be, engaged in a thorough review to fully understand the extent of the modifications." Furthermore, while EA Vice President of Communications Jeff Brown said the publisher hasn't come right out and asked the military to change its mind, he did send a letter last month "clarifying some facts about Medal of Honor."

We all know that the Taliban hasn't actually been removed from the game, it's just been renamed to the Half-Life-esque "Opposing Force." And there's no guarantee that the Army will do about about-face on selling the game in its stores. But the fact that merely changing a team name warrants even a discussion about lifting the ban is troubling. How exactly is it respectful to say that the only way it's appropriate to release a videogame about the ongoing exploits of the U.S. military is to pretend that it's not actually about the ongoing exploits of the U.S. military?

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

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Andy Chalk:

We all know that the Taliban hasn't actually been removed from the game, it's just been renamed to the Half-Life-esque "Opposing Force." And there's no guarantee that the Army will do about about-face on selling the game in its stores. But the fact that merely changing a team name warrants even a discussion about lifting the ban is troubling. How exactly is it respectful to say that the only way it's appropriate to release a videogame about the ongoing exploits of the U.S. military is to pretend that it's not actually about the ongoing exploits of the U.S. military?

That's EXACTLY my problem with this whole controversy.

As George Carlin once said, "Changing the name of a condition doesn't change the condition!" How does hiding from the truth help anyone?

So... They call the opposing force "Taliban" and the game gets shit.

They stop calling the opposing force "Taliban" and now its just an "opposing arabic faction" and the game is ok?

Hey guys! Voldemort! This is basically the same thing right?

"Half-Life-esque"? Isn't "Opposing Force" or OPFOR what the army actually calls the so-called "Bad Guys"?

Arachon:
"Half-Life-esque"? Isn't "Opposing Force" or OPFOR what the army actually calls the so-called "Bad Guys"?

Humanizing the enemy makes your peons question your orders

Arachon:
"Half-Life-esque"? Isn't "Opposing Force" or OPFOR what the army actually calls the so-called "Bad Guys"?

Google Half-Life: Opposing Force. This pisses me off even more. It's the same logic of bleeping words on TV. "Oh no, that word is kinda mean or has a bad history!"

Changing the name of the team makes a major difference. Many NES games were censored by merely changing in-game text. A video game is closer to a book than a movie and thus changing elements of the script is indeed highly valid as a form of censorship.

But they didn't remove the Taliban. All they did was change the name. I can't believe how stupid all this is.

Also this:

JeanLuc761:

Andy Chalk:

We all know that the Taliban hasn't actually been removed from the game, it's just been renamed to the Half-Life-esque "Opposing Force." And there's no guarantee that the Army will do about about-face on selling the game in its stores. But the fact that merely changing a team name warrants even a discussion about lifting the ban is troubling. How exactly is it respectful to say that the only way it's appropriate to release a videogame about the ongoing exploits of the U.S. military is to pretend that it's not actually about the ongoing exploits of the U.S. military?

That's EXACTLY my problem with this whole controversy.

As George Carlin once said, "Changing the name of a condition doesn't change the condition!" How does hiding from the truth help anyone?

I'm not the only one who thinks this is probably the most stupid 'thing' (cant really call it a fight or arguement) in the video game industry? right?

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Oh Darth Vader, you always know just what to say.

As a person that worked at AAFES, the 4th largest retailer in the US (especially for the military) I can honestly say, yes, this makes a (minimal) difference.

Gotta think, there's a lot of people in the military that want to play the game. AAFES has a lot of pull in what gets stocked and what is sold to the military. So it's safe to say the managers looked at the game and put pressure on EA to change it or else they won't stock it.

Not that we, the peons care too much about the name change. I believe everyone and their mother understands that the OPFOR is still going to be the Towelie that's Banned. We just have to look like we're a cohesive unit when the game comes to Germany or Japan and people get to play it that aren't US citizens.

People don't get that this name change is both ridiculously unimportant and also important beyond belief.

The name change changes nothing about the character models or whatever, you're still playing the Taliban just with a changed name. So in that respect, the name change doesn't mean shit.

The fact that something that doesn't mean shit is being forced to change does make it worth something though, because every other medium can include the name Taliban. Fuck me, I'm sure there are books somewhere about experiences with the Taliban, and films too.

I think this is pretty straightforward. There is nothing wrong with killing the Taliban in a video game, but playing as The Taliban killing US/Allied troops is a problem.

I do not think the military has an issue with them being present as antagonists in the single player, but rather with them being usable for people to kill US troops in the multi-player no matter what it's called.

If you don't think that people all over the world are going to login as Taliban and start engaging in some serious US bashing along with playing the game, I think your naive.

I'll also go so far as to say that the increasing usage of video games as a training tool (sort of) for military forces might play a role. I wouldn't be surprised if the usage of what is presumably authentic representations of weapons and tactics being used in actual conflict is also an issue because it might help insurgents better prepare (at least mentally) for facing the US military.

No need to argue with me, I have heard the other sides, and criticisms of those points (and many others I have not made). The bottom line here is that I pretty much agree that this is in bad taste and the military choosing not to support the product.

I would disagree with any direct legal ban (ie saying it's illegal to sell at all) but I do believe that the product is tasteless, and that the military has a right to choose not to sell it in their stores.

Also one point that I think a lot of the people argueing in favor of this game miss, is the pressure that was put on the game "Seven Days In Fallujah" when it was being planned. Oddly that influances my thought processes on this, more than it probably should.

The issue with SDIF was pretty much that it featured the US military engaged in a real battle, killing Muslims. When this situation is revered, and the central issue is Muslim insurgents killing US Troops, all of a sudden people don't have a problem and are defending it. I personally find this disturbing.

Like it or not this is mired in anti-US/anti-Middle East War politics. I think most people think about this kind of thing in the short term, because they like the message in regards to what it's saying right now. I think people are increasingly not looking at the big picture and the precedent something like this is setting, not to mention how ridiculous the attitude is in the big picture.

A lot of people against the war, will sit around and talk about how they support our troops, but not the war. I think ironically a lot of those people are the same ones who think it's just lovely to have a playable Taliban faction in multiplayer.

People forget, we are the evading force and the Taliban are just protecting there country.

AaronDemoncia:

Arachon:
"Half-Life-esque"? Isn't "Opposing Force" or OPFOR what the army actually calls the so-called "Bad Guys"?

Humanizing the enemy makes your peons question your orders

This exactly. I'm personally questioning how much of the issue is to honour the dead, and how much is to avoid letting any soldiers sympathise with the enemy. It's harder to kill someone when you consider them human.

Well, I suppose those on base will be happy...all over a name change, its embarrasing really...

but cod:mw is ok right? wtf? lol army & moron logic...

but tbh all this fuss for a meh game? generic, done before, brings nothing new to the medium etc

move on

Woodsey:
People don't get that this name change is both ridiculously unimportant and also important beyond belief.

The name change changes nothing about the character models or whatever, you're still playing the Taliban just with a changed name. So in that respect, the name change doesn't mean shit.

The fact that something that doesn't mean shit is being forced to change does make it worth something though, because every other medium can include the name Taliban. Fuck me, I'm sure there are books somewhere about experiences with the Taliban, and films too.

And it's not really role-playing a Taliban soldier, it's merely a skin to get got shot at by 12 year olds....

Then again, it does seem abit stupid that they're lifting the ban because of an edit to a line of text.

Wow, Army dudes...just, wow.

I don't really agree with the ban, but if it truly offends the military, and those who've died in service, then I say they have every right to refuse to sell it in their stores.

LawlessSquirrel:

AaronDemoncia:

Arachon:
"Half-Life-esque"? Isn't "Opposing Force" or OPFOR what the army actually calls the so-called "Bad Guys"?

Humanizing the enemy makes your peons question your orders

This exactly. I'm personally questioning how much of the issue is to honour the dead, and how much is to avoid letting any soldiers sympathise with the enemy. It's harder to kill someone when you consider them human.

Yet it's easier to kill someone when they are trying to kill you. In this circumstance humanizing the enemy would not have an adverse effect on most of the troops. They can only return fire, which means they can only fight when their life is in danger. I don't know about you, but if something is trying to kill me regardless of if it is human or not, I'm going to protect myself even if it means killing the threat. These are trained soldiers who have killed before and will kill again. It doesn't make it right, don't get me wrong. I'd prefer peace over war everyday of the week. But, I'd be pretty suprised if it adversely affected the soldiers. Sure they may be brainwashed to a degree, but they are human and they are doing what they believe to be correct, give the troops a little more credit about their own humanity than you are.

SlainPwner666:
I don't really agree with the ban, but if it truly offends the military, and those who've died in service, then I say they have every right to refuse to sell it in their stores.

But the point is, where does the offense come from? The depiction of an enemy actively trying to kill American soldiers, or merely what we call that enemy?

Huh. You yanks really love your military huh?

And yes, this whole thing is really bloody stupid. The game has Taliban in it. So call them Taliban.

Andy Chalk:
We all know that the Taliban hasn't actually been removed from the game, it's just been renamed to the Half-Life-esque "Opposing Force." And there's no guarantee that the Army will do about about-face on selling the game in its stores. But the fact that merely changing a team name warrants even a discussion about lifting the ban is troubling. How exactly is it respectful to say that the only way it's appropriate to release a videogame about the ongoing exploits of the U.S. military is to pretend that it's not actually about the ongoing exploits of the U.S. military?

That's basically what I was going to say. Thanks for saying it for me so I can go watch LRR instead.

well Germany banned it for other reasons, a bit more archaic but I mean after seeing the news flip back and forth with this issue I feel like maybe it's just best to respect the wishes of others, cuz it's really not THAT absurd either way either side

I mean, I realize that I don't have a family member involved or lost to the Taliban, or a painful Nazi back history that I'm trying to forget

It's not like we didn't know who the enemy was in COD4 and MW2 anyway, right?

I can understand why they banned it, but it still seems double standards compared to the many WW2 games with Nazi's and the like.

So wait, a game like Modern Warfare 2, which deliberately and without apology badmouths the Russians (i.e. one of the United States' 'allies') is completely fine, but if you name the Taliban in your game that's wrong. Is it really better to have the Taliban as 'Opposing Force' (i.e. unnamed MUSLIM force) then to actually have the political and historical analysis behind it?

Apparently it's completely rational for the Army to sell a game about Muslims shooting Americans, as long as they don't mention they're Taliban. Perhaps they should change the name of the Americans in the game to 'foreign invading force that has screwed over the majority of Middle Eastern countries in their attempts to protect Israel, export culture and import oil.'

DSK-:
It's not like we didn't know who the enemy was in COD4 and MW2 anyway, right?

I can understand why they banned it, but it still seems double standards compared to the many WW2 games with Nazi's and the like.

It kind of reminds me of what China does with games with Nazis in it, ban them until the content is removed. Company of Heroes Online previewed in China with the Allies fighting the 'Federation', the Third Reich in all but name.

I'm guessing the military likes having army fps games around because of it encourages people to join the military, I have two friends who are 16 and have already signed up for the army early and play a lot of COD and ARMA, they are military material though so it's okay, they go to the gym every day.

Andy Chalk:
But the point is, where does the offense come from? The depiction of an enemy actively trying to kill American soldiers, or merely what we call that enemy?

I don't get it either. During WWII, American artists drew Nazis in comic books, and American actors portrayed them in movies. Those portrayals weren't considered "offensive to the troops". Why is this different?

So they're changing it because it doesn't explicitly say the names of the brownies you're shooting?

*facepalm*

Falseprophet:

Andy Chalk:
But the point is, where does the offense come from? The depiction of an enemy actively trying to kill American soldiers, or merely what we call that enemy?

I don't get it either. During WWII, American artists drew Nazis in comic books, and American actors portrayed them in movies. Those portrayals weren't considered "offensive to the troops". Why is this different?

to be fair all of this was more or less done after the war was over and we had won. in comics of the era, it was always a one sided fight. USA beats Nazi Germany. (Any that didn't were controversial.) In terms of MoH, we're still fighting that war, and complete victory is no where insight. When you allow ppl to play as the enemy and give them a fighting chance at winning a battle, it becomes a psychological cluster fuck to soldiers who play it.

When something is done in hindsight its a lot less offensive when the outcome is already known. Had movies like Platoon/Apocalypse Now come out during instead of after the Vietnam war, it would be a huge detriment to the soldiers fighting the war. Nothing to say to lower morale among the fighting men/women.

While i totally think EA copped out and this whole issue is moot, I can see y this can be considered offensive.

Baconmonster723:

LawlessSquirrel:

AaronDemoncia:

Arachon:
"Half-Life-esque"? Isn't "Opposing Force" or OPFOR what the army actually calls the so-called "Bad Guys"?

Humanizing the enemy makes your peons question your orders

This exactly. I'm personally questioning how much of the issue is to honour the dead, and how much is to avoid letting any soldiers sympathise with the enemy. It's harder to kill someone when you consider them human.

Yet it's easier to kill someone when they are trying to kill you. In this circumstance humanizing the enemy would not have an adverse effect on most of the troops. They can only return fire, which means they can only fight when their life is in danger. I don't know about you, but if something is trying to kill me regardless of if it is human or not, I'm going to protect myself even if it means killing the threat. These are trained soldiers who have killed before and will kill again. It doesn't make it right, don't get me wrong. I'd prefer peace over war everyday of the week. But, I'd be pretty suprised if it adversely affected the soldiers. Sure they may be brainwashed to a degree, but they are human and they are doing what they believe to be correct, give the troops a little more credit about their own humanity than you are.

I apologise if I came across as offensive, I don't mean to belittle the people that would fight for what they believe is a just cause. All I'm saying is that to pursue a cause knowing it'll likely lead to you killing people requires a degree of personal conditioning and dissociation that can be challenged by identifying in some way with the enemy. It's only human. But of cause, PTSD is a nasty side effect.

War itself is terrible, and I'd love to rant about it, but my point is that it takes a lot to be able to do what soldiers do, and it wouldn't surprise me if the people in charge were handling this issue more as a way to keep out anything that could weaken the conditioning than as a tribute to the people who sacrificed themselves.

Again, if I'm sounding offensive, I don't mean to.

LawlessSquirrel:

Baconmonster723:

LawlessSquirrel:

AaronDemoncia:

Arachon:
"Half-Life-esque"? Isn't "Opposing Force" or OPFOR what the army actually calls the so-called "Bad Guys"?

Humanizing the enemy makes your peons question your orders

This exactly. I'm personally questioning how much of the issue is to honour the dead, and how much is to avoid letting any soldiers sympathise with the enemy. It's harder to kill someone when you consider them human.

Yet it's easier to kill someone when they are trying to kill you. In this circumstance humanizing the enemy would not have an adverse effect on most of the troops. They can only return fire, which means they can only fight when their life is in danger. I don't know about you, but if something is trying to kill me regardless of if it is human or not, I'm going to protect myself even if it means killing the threat. These are trained soldiers who have killed before and will kill again. It doesn't make it right, don't get me wrong. I'd prefer peace over war everyday of the week. But, I'd be pretty suprised if it adversely affected the soldiers. Sure they may be brainwashed to a degree, but they are human and they are doing what they believe to be correct, give the troops a little more credit about their own humanity than you are.

I apologise if I came across as offensive, I don't mean to belittle the people that would fight for what they believe is a just cause. All I'm saying is that to pursue a cause knowing it'll likely lead to you killing people requires a degree of personal conditioning and dissociation that can be challenged by identifying in some way with the enemy. It's only human. But of cause, PTSD is a nasty side effect.

War itself is terrible, and I'd love to rant about it, but my point is that it takes a lot to be able to do what soldiers do, and it wouldn't surprise me if the people in charge were handling this issue more as a way to keep out anything that could weaken the conditioning than as a tribute to the people who sacrificed themselves.

Again, if I'm sounding offensive, I don't mean to.

Lol, no worries. I came back as overly aggressive. You were fine. You are absolutely right as well. PTSD is VERY serious and I would argue is because they are killing people. No matter what the military says, and eventually that will get to you. All we can hope for a swift and minimal blood end to conflict.

DTWolfwood:

Falseprophet:

Andy Chalk:
But the point is, where does the offense come from? The depiction of an enemy actively trying to kill American soldiers, or merely what we call that enemy?

I don't get it either. During WWII, American artists drew Nazis in comic books, and American actors portrayed them in movies. Those portrayals weren't considered "offensive to the troops". Why is this different?

to be fair all of this was more or less done after the war was over and we had won.

Nope, this Captain America cover came out months before America was even in the war, and the film Casablanca was put into production weeks after Pearl Harbor. There's plenty more, often featuring German and Austrian exiles who had fled Hitler, portraying Nazis on screen. No one considered those portrayals disrespectful to the troops.

DTWolfwood:
In terms of MoH, we're still fighting that war, and complete victory is no where insight. When you allow ppl to play as the enemy and give them a fighting chance at winning a battle, it becomes a psychological cluster fuck to soldiers who play it.

Except that the military does this themselves on a regular basis.

DTWolfwood:
When something is done in hindsight its a lot less offensive when the outcome is already known. Had movies like Platoon/Apocalypse Now come out during instead of after the Vietnam war, it would be a huge detriment to the soldiers fighting the war. Nothing to say to lower morale among the fighting men/women.

How many movies and TV series have been made about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars? The former only "ended" just over a month ago; the latter is still ongoing. Sure, most of these films were box office bombs, but almost all of them were critical of the wars in some fashion. And sure there was criticism of the films, but no one seriously attempted to ban or censure them. Heck, even Iron Man and Transformers used the wars as a backdrop.

I don't buy this line of reasoning. I still think MOH is being singled out because it's a video game, not because of its content.

I'm astonished that they ever banned it. Soldiers need these games more than anybody. Not only is there a lot of downtime in a war, it boosts morale. You could either sit around all day feeling shitty about being away from home, watching friends die, and having to kill people, or you could be playing a fun game where there are no consequences that passes the hours. Do they think our soldiers don't know they're fighting the Taliban? That they're not aware? They won't correlate "opposing force" to the Taliban?

Falseprophet:

1) Lemme quote myself "in comics of the era, it was always a one sided fight. USA beats Nazi Germany."

2) Military Simulations in most cases refer to the bad guys as the OPFOR. As in what EA is doing now. A none distinct enemy with no name. Its not the same when you are the Taliban, and your Taliban team have just won against the US Rangers.

3) Movies are protected under the First Amendment Right. Videogames are not, yet. Documentaries and TV Shows all attempt to show a reality of the war, not glorify them. And this entire incident is mere "criticism," to use your word, and attempts by defunct politicians who want to divert our attentions away from what really matters.

As i've said before, this entire issue is a MOOT POINT. The military has ever right the ban the sales on its bases if they deem it to be a bad influence to the troops. Just like any private organization. It doesn't mean they are banning the game, just where they can be bought on site. Not like the Troops won't be able to get a care package from home if they wanted to play the damn game that badly.

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