Following the release of Medal of Honor in America today, an Iraq War vet has said EA’s decision to take the word “Taliban” out of multiplayer amounts to “nationalism on entertainment.”
Infantry officer Benjamin Busch, who served two tours Iraq, told NPR that, despite being fiction, “it equates the war with the leisure of games.”
“We know children are immersed in digital interactivity now, and the soldier of today has grown up on video games. It is becoming a new literacy of sorts. Playing and risking your life are different things. In the video war, there may be some manipulation of anxiety, some adrenaline to the heart, but absolutely nothing is at stake,” Busch said.
“I honestly don’t like that Medal of Honor depicts the war in Afghanistan right now, because — even as fiction — it equates the war with the leisure of games. Changing the name of the enemy doesn’t change who it is.”
Busch added that EA’s decision to change the name from the Taliban to OPFOR in the game imposes “nationalism on entertainment.”
“What nation or military has the right to govern fiction? Banning the representation of an enemy is imposing nationalism on entertainment,” he said.
“The game cannot train its players to be actual skilled special operations soldiers, nor is it likely to lure anyone into Islamic fundamentalism. It can grant neither heroism nor martyrdom. What it does do is make modern war into participatory cinema. That is its business.”
Developer Danger Close has defended its decisions with the game, saying gamers should play it first before judging the studio.
Medal of Honor launches in the US today for PS3, 360 and PC, with a UK release on Friday.