The Potential Perils of Basing War Games on Modern Conflicts

One member of the gaming press recently attended an Electronic Arts media briefing for the next entry in the Medal of Honor series and came away with a lot of questions.

NoAddedSugar’s Mark Cullinane attended the event in London last week, which included a question and answer session with the game’s Executive Producer Greg Goodrich. As Cullinane sat watching the admittedly impressive visuals of the game, he found himself feeling uncomfortable due to, “the simple fact that one nation’s moment of misery was being turned into an entertainment experience. And there were we, eating our danishes and supping our cranberry juice, discussing the finer points of dismembering Afghanis.”

While previous MOH titles did feature “bombastic” and “morally righteous” posturing, which the author is okay with, since World War II did feature clear enemies and a cause that was “universally considered” just, “The story of the Afghanistan conflict, which began in earnest after 9/11, is still being written, and history has not yet had time to pass judgement on the ethics of the war.”

Goodrich’s mention of EA’s deep involvement with the U.S. military and a comment that the game was based in Afghanistan because that’s where the “bad guys are” added to Cullinane’s indignation.

Cullinane wrote, “Whether EA know it or not, this is a political exercise, with the possible aim of rehabilitating the US military.”

He summed up:

EA may just be sleepwalking into a massive public relations disaster here- and if our worst fears about the game’s tone and content are realised, it will be utterly deserved. When it comes to grave questions like war and peace, the one crime worse than historical revisionism is attempting to tell a story that has yet to be fully written. This game may be guilty of both.

Much more on the subject at NoAddedSugar.

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