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On Sunday, Britain’s Defence Secretary Liam Fox called for the upcoming Medal of Honor game to be banned by retailers (BBC). Apparently he finds it “hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game”, which shows quite a remarkable lack of understanding of the people he is supposed to represent. And since when has there been an expectation that American games should be “British” anyway?
Apparently it is “shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban against British soldiers”. Well, in real life, maybe. But this is a game, and an 18-rated one at that, so it is played by adults that are fully capable of distinguishing between fiction and reality.
And yes, you can play as the Taliban. It’s called multiplayer. Would Mr Fox prefer that the multiplayer was Americans shooting Americans? Because that’s just as morally dubious, and also kind of dumb. No, one team plays the good guys, one team plays the bad guys. That’s the way these things work. I don’t recall politicians losing their shit about Counterstrike because zomg half the players are being terrorists! How many games have there been where you can play as a Nazi soldier in multiplayer?
I wonder if the Defence Secretary ever got the chance to play Cops and Robbers as a kid, because, you know it’s no different. One team plays the good guys, one team plays the bad guys, that’s how it works. Cops and Robbers doesn’t glorify violent crime, just as Medal of Honor doesn’t glorify the Afghan insurgency.
So Mr Fox, it would be appreciated if you could please go back to getting our real soldiers some MRAPs and some more helicopters and guns that work, and leave the rest of us to enjoy our videogames. Thank you!