Has EA gone too far with Medal of Honor?

August 16th, 2010 at 9:00 am · 36 Comments

We all love FOX News: they’re one of the best outlets out there to make a drinking game out of. Another biased reporter spewing nonsense? Drink! This time, however, it seems FOX News is defending the correct side of the spectrum in a discussion surrounding Electronic Arts’ upcoming title Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor is a first-person shooter based around the 2001 war in Afghanistan. The story will revolve around Tier 1 Operators, handpicked warriors who are considered above Spec Ops; and Army Rangers, working directly under the NCA to fight against the new enemy. This game is set to hit stores on October 12th.

Returning to the always-lovable FOX News, they recently conducted an interview with Karen Meredith, a representative from Golden Star Moms hoping to answer the question: “Has gaming gone too far?”

Meredith argues that this game is disrespectful. “We’ve just come off the worst month of casualties in the whole war and this game is going to be released in October. So families who are burying their children are going to be seeing this and playing this game. I just don’t see that a video game based on a current war makes any sense.”

When the reporter questions Meredith on games based on World War II, she goes on to say that because people are no longer dying from this war, it’s far removed from our history: “It’s not based off real people.” I’m not exactly sure what she was implying with this statement: either WWII wasn’t based on real people (which means she’s a great candidate for the next local Veteran’s Day ceremony) or that the characters in WWII shooters aren’t historically real people.

In that case, neither are the soldiers in Medal of Honor. There are interviews that show the MOH development team contacted Tier 1 operatives to help with the making of the game, but that the in-game characters are not based on the individuals themselves.

Pay no attention to the man behind the blocks

She goes on to say that she can’t imagine people sitting in their recliners playing this game, getting up to grab a beer, to then return to continue the onslaught. This again proves another point that the FOX reporter later makes: the average gamer is 35 to 39 years old (unless the 7-year-olds in her neighborhood are really partying it up). So why shouldn’t adults be allowed to make their own ruling on what they find entertaining?

We all know there are some children out there playing games like Call of Duty, as we’ve all encountered the annoying pre-pubescent douche that won’t shut up. That problem lies with the parents allowing their kids to play these types of games, not the companies producing them.

"There! Now stop asking for quality time!"

It seems her sole argument revolves around her son, who was killed in action in Iraq back in 2004. As disheartening as it is to lose a loved one, especially in military combat, I’m sorry to point out that he knew the risks when he signed up. Everyone does, as the military emphasizes the sacrifice you make once you put on that uniform.

Hell, even I learned of what I would be giving up if I completed my training. Hence why today I’m sitting in my living room and I’m playing the games of the scenario I knew I couldn’t mentally accomplish. I recognized my limits and chose to come back before everything got “realer.” Her son chose to continue doing something he loved/believed in and knew from the beginning he might die doing so (and may you rest in peace Lieutenant; thank you for your service to our country).

Plus I wouldn't be able to stand the heat...

However, to look at the situation through this mother’s eyes, it’s understandable to see why she is reacting this way to MOH (regardless of how futile it is). When you’re part of the losing side of the war, as in losing someone dear to you, anything revolving the war will become a touchy subject.

This explains why there are many people out there who are offended by war video games in general, but to me Medal of Honor is no different from the rest of them. Basing the gameplay off a current predicament doesn’t make it any more controversial; I don’t see myself part of the “Taliban team,” I’m just in a “team.”

Something that wasn’t brought up during the interview that I’d love to ask Ms. Meredith is what her thoughts are on the men and women in uniform who play these games? I personally know many soldiers that are into gaming, and a lot of them love ranking up in Modern Warfare 2. Does that make sense to you ma’am?

Furthermore, Meredith is just against players taking on the role of American-killing Taliban troops, which is an aspect of the game that will most likely only apply to multiplayer. But it’s perfectly okay when Americans are the ones doing the killing in other shooters, so I guess that’s where the sympathy runs out.

The option to play as the Taliban is not being added for altercation purposes. It’s simply for the authenticity of an ongoing war. The underlying fact is that there’s always an enemy in a game; the Taliban just fit that prospect for this game. Besides, what would be better, American soldiers going against themselves? Of course not, M. Night Shyamalan is not a part of the development team, so that’s not “Happening.”

This is a very controversial topic, and one that will surround the game up to its release. I for one believe it’s a bit hypocritical to denounce this game solely on it being a current conflict, when there are still soldiers who died in the past wars with loved ones left behind. Although game developers should be cautious on what they cover in the game, the reality is that we’re at war; it’s happening just as I type this. If you don’t want to play the game, don’t buy it. If you want to learn more about what’s going on overseas read military news, watch documentaries, write letters to those fighting for you, show your support.

I’ll end it here with the words of Jonathan Swift: “War! That mad game the world so loves to play.”

Related Posts:
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  • Medal of Honor, post launch, is a big disappointment
  • Medal of Honor 360 Beta is Live? Well, get your codes right here!
  • 10 Medal of Honor Multiplayer tips for noobs.
  • Medal of Honor PS3 Beta Impressions
  • Tags: · · · ·
    Categories: News · PC · PlayStation 3 · Xbox 360

    36 responses so far ↓

    • karbaasi92 says:

      I read the whole article. I feel that I accomplished something :D

      Nicely written! :D

    • Lono says:

      this is perfect Esme. Nothing more to say.

    • Yamster says:

      Great piece Esme – I think that the MOH devs had a real chance to go “look, there’s a real chance here to understand what’s going on with war – regardless of who you’re fighting for you’re still just shooting one another”.

      Like recent war movies and books set in the Middle East, MOH deserves to have itself heard both as an entertainment product (hello, Generation Kill) and a serious piece of food for thought (again, hello).

    • peterocc says:

      Coño Esme… Well done!

    • LR says:

      I thought the article was severely diminished by your view of FOX. I know it’s the “cool” thing to do but really, do some research first. By far, FOX is a better and more reliable HARD news source over their competition.

      As far as opinion shows go, you’re going to go with the one that supports your view of the world. I’m not a socialist or liberal so I can’t really get into Maddow or Mathews. However, I’m not a Republican either; Hannity and Beck don’t do it for me (allthough Beck’s facts are spot on).

      • Esmeralda says:

        Ummm really… do some reading first. Although I don’t consider FOX news a hard hitting news source, I wasn’t going against FOX in this article… just the woman they interviewed whom THEY THEMSELVES looked like they were against based on their questions. The only time I said anything against them was the beginning statement, which in that same paragraph I gave them credit for doing a fairly good job. So I don’t see where you’re assuming I’m bias towards FOX here. I’m bias towards the woman because of my own gamer + military knowledge :)

      • Doc says:

        Oh wow. Seriously. you had me till HARD news.

        This is the same FOX NEWS that reports on every flower a republican plants and every democratic BM? The same Fox news that JUST (unsuccessfully) tried to railroad a black USDA worker by using an incredibly edited clip, nearly ruining her life and career?

        C’mon. You’re either brainwashed or totally kidding.

        • Notthevictim says:

          WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW!!! You’re the one who has been brainwashed Doc! Do NOT blame Fox News for the firing of that woman. They didn’t even mention the story until AFTER she was fired, and even after she was fired, they defended her! It doesn’t look like you have been doing your research

      • Hillaire says:

        This guys a wide up merchant surely. Admittedly the only time I hear about fox is from the daily show or some funny link about how crazy the americans are while watching the BBC, but everyone knows they are more biased than goebbels surely.

    • Farko says:

      Brilliant article Esme, Thats all there is to it really, just plain right. I like a lot of your more serious articles based on real life events, please keep up the great work.

      Personally, I think this game has a real chance of showing some harsh realities as well as entertaining. I myself am a huge advocator of blunt honesty when it comes to subjects like this, because some people who may be unaware of the horrors of war can really need wake up call, they may appreciate it. I feel the media, games and movies in particular, are in a real position to do so. Like you said though, that woman in the video has suffered a huge loss she’ll never forget, this game is a little too close to home for her but she needs to be able to ignore it. Because this isn’t likely the last time she’ll have to face this subject.

      In relation to what she said, I don’t feel that just because it was a long time ago, that WWII should be treated less seriously. Sure, time heals all wounds they say, but the horrors of that war should never be treated any less respectfully than any other just because they are more recent and personally affecting us. A life lost is a life lost, no matter what country, belief or time period.

    • The Law (Phill) says:

      I agree with Yamster, MOH deserves to have itself heard. This is one of the topics that gets my blood boiling. Generation Kill, The Hurt Locker, any number of books, all based on the conflict, are praised for telling the story and documenting history without a second thought. In my opinion the main reason that MOH is coming under fire is because it is a video game and so carries the stigma. MOH isn’t the first game to opt for this modern conflict. I seem to recall a game being cancelled recently due to pressure from the public calling it a disgrace and insensitive etc. It was based on one of the biggest and hardest fought battles of the war, but it wasn’t meant to be like COD where you shoot anything that moves, it was meant to be more like Operation Flashpoint or Arma, a realistic combat sim, that was heavy on story. It might have been called 3 days in Faluja but I can’t remember. (I also apologise for any poor spelling in the name of the game)

      I’m probably making no sense at the moment but my point is: Movies, Books, TV, Magazines, all of these types of media are allowed to tell the stories, record history etc. and are accepted, normally without hesitation. Why can’t games do the same? Especially if they are handled in the proper way.

      Right, rant over, sorry if i made no sense. Great article Esme.

      I’m just going to be quiet for a bit

    • Harlequin says:

      Fantastic article Esme

    • Aaron says:

      I’d just like to say that I was in the Army for 9 years and did one overseas tour. I lost a friend and also received a minor wound during my time while enlisted. I ALSO have pre-ordered MoH and look forward to playing it, both for entertainment and for the story it will tell.

      The comment about WWII games are okay for some magical reason really rubbed me the wrong way however. I had a neighbor who was in Navy during WWII and I asked him what he thought of the original Call of Duty when it came out. While he thought it may glamorize war a bit, he was mostly happy that the game was exposing people to that period in history. I feel the same about MoH. While it may be too close to home for some, people need to be reminded of what’s going on in the world. Esmeralda is right, we are at war right now, and frankly I’m glad that this game is getting people to talk about that.

      • Esmeralda says:

        Thank you both for commenting and for your service to our country! :) I love hearing from people that this really hits home to, so I’m very glad you liked my article! I feel honored that you have! War is something we can’t ignore, especially in these times. If video games can make us start talking about this, then I think that’s a great first step.

    • 8bitBass says:

      Great job Esme! I love the “Davism” that you snuck in there.

      I look forward to getting this game, large in part because of the subject matter of the story.

      Now if only our next MoH of CoD 2011 can cover an epic war with our neighbors above- The Evil Canadian Empire

    • Druza says:

      IMO, I think this game honors (see what I did there?) our soldiers, if anything. Good article.
      Also, to be fair, ALL media is biased.

    • ChiefGokuC says:

      Great job Esmeralda. Really great article. I really don’t know why people pitch such a fit when something is released that they dont agree with. The whole RE5 racism claim comes to mind. I think that if you don’t like or agree with a product you should simply not purchase or use it. Every year books, movies, and games come out that detail the war in the Middle East in some way, so what makes this game better or worse than those?

    • colby says:

      I just have one question, are there going to be people getting hit harder emotionally by Halo: Reach? this is my opinion, but there will be characters in reach that you will get emotionally attached to. seeing them pass away in game will hurt me inside if I like them enough. I’m not saying that won’t happen in MOH, but are there really going to be characters in MOH that will be made to get emotionally attached to? please respond in a respectful manner and don’t have a hissy fit because of my views on this.

      • Esmeralda says:

        I understand where you’re stemming this question from, but it’s not really the same thing… Medal of Honor is controversial because of the act of killing characters that look like American soldiers and Taliban troops (thus bearing a resemblance to real people that are, sadly, dying themselves). If Halo: Reach makes you emotional when a character passes away, that’s from how the story was told throughout the game. But players know Halo: Reach is fictional from the beginning. With Medal of Honor it’s hard for some people to tell the difference since it’s based off current events (mostly for non-gamers).

    • Ad says:

      Nothing else needs to be said on this topic – you’ve nailed it.

      • Esmeralda says:

        Thanks! I would hope I covered everything, but there seems to be 10+ articles on N4G discussing the same thing now… even with the same title I used. Way to be creative authors :(

    • DoomHammer says:

      Fantastic article Esmeralda you made some excellent points and I agree with your perspective. I enjoy your writing style and look forward to seeing more of your future aricles.

    • ShuaReborn says:

      I came to read this cause Harley mentioned it on the podcast. I’m glad I did. As others here, I look forward to more of your posts.

    • “That problem lies with the parents allowing their kids to play these types of games, not the companies producing them.”

      Nuff said.

      Brilliantly written btw. WINAR WRITER.

    • The Jack Of Hearts SG says:

      I loved the article Esme and thought it was very thought provoking and well thought out.

      Personally I don’t see anything wrong with a game like Medal of Honor taking place in the middle east. If books, movies, etc can bring to life the happenings of war then why not video games?

    • Timewarp says:

      That was great. I know she didn’t do it but when a lot of people like Jack Thompson use the deaths of others as a way of attacking video games some people can’t see that people like Karen are just grieving over the loss of a loved one.

      Although I don’t see anything wrong with the game though I still think EA Games could have reacted better to this. They came off a bit rude to me.

    • stingo says:

      I think what Ms. Meredith was trying to say was that our personal connection to events like WWII grows fainter the further back we go into history. For those with loved ones in the field, that’s obviously a strong connection so they are most likely going to think that yes EA’s gone too far. By that same token I don’t think you’d see them wanting to see a film, book or other representation of it either. I can also see soldiers endorsing the game as it in some way tells their story, providing at least an idea of what it’s like being in combat. All that said, EA should still put the game out and leave it up to the individual to decide for themselves. (Though I have to wonder if the Taliban could sue EA for using their name/likeness without their permission.)

      P.S. Am I mistaken in thinking that EA made up Tier 1 Operatives?

      • Esmeralda says:

        Very nicely said! :) I found this answer to your Tier 1 question, but there still seems to be a bit of confusion on the matter: “The Tier 1 they are talking about in Medal of Honor is just a blanket term for special operations forces in general. In the military, “Tier 1″ does NOT refer to a particular group or anything, it is just a generic term for any special forces unit.”

    • Owen says:

      Yeah let adults do whatever they find entertaining like child porn. Im sorry but i have to go against you on this one i like the way you write the article and all and it made me think the woman in the interviews a moron about the world war thing but it is in the past theres not many people out there who can get saw about that and even if they do your (for the majority) not shooting the Allies. Thats the big nack i have with this is the fact you ARE shooting freindlys in a war thats all ready a touchy subject no matter who you are. I know this goes against everything i just said but leave it a few years after the war let the dust settle first otherwise you are going to get people who bitch and im going to have to be one of them.

      • Owegod says:

        Sorry just signed in this was me

      • Esmeralda says:

        First, way to go completely out there with the child porn example. You’re placing both subject’s moralities on the same scale with that reference, although they are completely different scenarios altogether.

        Anyway… You are right in one thing, you contradicted yourself. What difference does it make if you shoot these American soldier pixels now or in the future (in the game)? You’re still (virtually) shooting them at some point. I understand it may carry the same effect as the issue of making movies on 9/11 too early, but the game itself has fictional characters in a “historical” setting. Also, if you have something against the shooting of graphics that represent American soldiers because you have an emotional attachment to that representation (although you don’t seem to have anything against shooting the Talibans and you probably don’t mind shooting what look like US soldiers in Call of Duty games), just don’t play Medal of Honor. Frankly, I’ve spoken to many people on this matter (believe me) and they mostly agree: You’re not shooting Americans to appease the Taliban cause, it’s just a side you have to take in multiplayer every once and a while.

        If you still have a problem with the game, that’s fine, that’s your opinion. But if American soldiers themselves don’t see it offensive to the armed forces, I think you’re fighting a useless battle. Frankly, their opinion is the one that matters, not yours or mine.

    • Hoarr says:

      Nice write-up. I had to check it out after randomly being suggested your podcast and hearing you talk about it.

    • Fireboy says:

      I have to say this is probably the most well thought out article I’ve ever read on a gaming site and a welcome one at that. Nice to see that gamers are still capable of intellectual discussion. Thanks Esmeralda and keep up the good work!!!

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