Have you ever wondered what goes through he minds of our men and women who are fighting overseas protecting and providing the blanket of freedom we are used to in America and than to see a video game hit the shelves that allows you to play as a Taliban fighter? Well Joseph Jackmovich and Steven Kelley contacted some members of the US Armed Forces and asked some them what they thought of playing as a Taliban fighter in the upcoming Medal of Honor. Here is the interview in it’s entirety or you can read a quote from it below.
Question 1: In the upcoming Medal of Honor you can play as the Taliban in the multiplayer modes. As a soldier and veteran of a recent conflict, what are your thoughts on this?
(Polaski, Army) People freaking out about the inclusion of the Taliban as playable characters in the multiplayer mode of the new game is ridiculous. In every FPS-type game, there is a bad guy. Considering the intense popularity of the current conflicts (which is interestingly ironic; many claim to hate the conflicts, yet purchase games like MW2, watch shows like The Unit and movies like Marine and Hurt Locker, etc. and pay money to the people profiting off of these conflicts) it’s only natural that game designers would focus on something that the younger generation could relate to; everyone knows someone who has been involved in these conflicts. It gives the players a sense of relation to the conflicts by playing these games; fighting brown-skinned people in a desert, using an M4A1 rifle and calling down fire from an AC-130 gunship all give a sense of relative experience to the player. More importantly, the creation of games like these is war profiteering; the same profiteering that Blackwater, civilian contractors, and companies that produce ACU backpacks for school children participate in. War profiteering of any form is unjust and constitutes a true insult to those who have served overseas.
(Roberts, Army) It does not bother me. I think it is even a good idea, because impressionable children play these games despite the often M rating. These children need to see that war is not a game, and putting a name to the enemies and places that are otherwise generic in other FPS titles presents the real brutality of war, not just the mindless simulated killing in MW. I believe that children may eventually think that war and video games are one in the same, and indeed that would be tragic.
(Rice, Army) I don’t think playing the Taliban is any different than playing any other “bad guys” in any other game.
(Thompson, Army) It may seem a little harsh, but I think that’s mostly because it’s so fresh right now.
(James —, Army) Having read the article, I have to say that it does kind of throw one for a loop. Granted they do not seem to display the poorer judgment of Konami (whom I am otherwise an avid fan) basing the whole campaign on the Taliban, it still pushes the issue of ‘too soon’. WWI, WWII, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam all took place ages ago. I am willing to say that none of the readers were even a thought, much less conceived during the time of those conflicts. At the same time, video games were not even conceived as well, but Milton Bradley wasn’t releasing the home version of ‘Your Own Nazi Concentration Camp – Special Edition’ with real, fogging bath house. Heck, Nazi Barbie didn’t even appear until the 1960’s (in the U.S.; the actual European release is undetermined).
(Jason —, Navy) Anyone remember the fuss that Mortal Kombat made when it first came out? If your kids played it, they were going to grow up to be devil-worshiping psycho-killers.
I can honestly state as a gamer and a military man that games have less of an impact that people might think. When I’m playing a game, I don’t sit there and consciously tell myself: “OH YEAH! I’ma Gonna kill me some ‘Merican Citizens for Allah!”
I just push the buttons and kinda giggle at the rag-doll physics engine.
(Stier, Army) Honestly, I don’t really see what the whole fuss is about. It’s a game, and just like in Call of Duty, you don’t really care about what side you’re taking, just as long as you win. I don’t think anyone cares if you’re part of the Rangers or Spetznaz, as long as you win.
(Clark, Navy) I thoroughly enjoy these games but in respect to my fallen brothers I find it very hard and disturbing to play as the actual group whom I have seen kill so many of my friends and brothers in arms.
(Brown, Army) I’m split on this. I enjoy playing games, and for those who can’t distinguish between reality and a game, then they shouldn’t play. However, this is still a current situation affecting a lot of people, and especially for soldiers who have experienced a hard time overseas this probably feels like getting a giant middle finger.
Here is the link to the original article where you can read the rest of the interview and we thank those that took the time to answer the question some of us may have had.