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The Military Censorship Games Your Rights Online

GameStop Pulls Medal of Honor From Military Bases 362

Posted by timothy
from the not-for-you dept.
donniebaseball23 writes "EA's Medal of Honor reboot doesn't ship until October 12, but it's already seen a fair amount of controversy thanks to the publisher's decision to allow people to play as Taliban in multiplayer. The controversy just got escalated another notch, reports IndustryGamers, as the world's biggest games retailer GameStop has decided it won't sell the title at its stores located on US military bases. The new Medal of Honor won't be advertised at these stores either. GameStop noted that they came to this decision 'out of respect for our past and present men and women in uniform.'"
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GameStop Pulls Medal of Honor From Military Bases

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  • by glassware (195317) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:07PM (#33457228) Homepage Journal

    I can still play as Germans in WW2 games, though? Phew. For a second there I was worried.

  • Trust? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rotide (1015173) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:10PM (#33457242)

    Do we not trust our servicemen and women to stay loyal to the US Government/Military when they play this game? Are we afraid they will decide the Taliban are a more noble cause? Are we afraid they are sitting on the fence and this game will push them to cross to the other side?

    Or is the pendulum of Political Correctness just swinging even farther into the ridiculous zone?

  • by imthesponge (621107) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:11PM (#33457254)

    If they really were doing this out of "respect", they'd pull the game altogether. Not that I think it should be pulled, but pulling it only from military locations makes no sense. This is just saying "If you're in the military, you can't have this game. Not yours."

  • Respect? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:11PM (#33457256) Journal

    Respect would be acknowledging that our men and women in uniform are adults and can decide for themselves how they want to spend their leisure time.

  • by penguinchris (1020961) <penguinchris@@@gmail...com> on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:13PM (#33457284) Homepage

    Aren't military games pretty popular among soldiers? I would wager that many are going to play this game anyway, and will just be annoyed that they can't get it on the base. I guess I am also a little surprised they even have video game stores on military bases...

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:14PM (#33457292)

    We trust those men and women with automatic rifles, artillery, tanks, fighter jets, and battleships. We trust them to shoot and kill people to (in theory anyway) protect our way of life. We trust them to literally take a bullet so that people back home don't have to (again in theory at least). I think that we should give them the respect they deserve and trust them to make their own decisions about what games to buy and play. Pulling the advertisements I can agree with, maybe even putting the game behind the counter out of sight, but how can you justify making the game completely unavailable to them? But that's just my opinion.

  • I can see (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KillaGouge (973562) <gougec17NO@SPAMmsn.com> on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:15PM (#33457298)
    I can see why they would do this. Being a prior Air Force member, not everybody who gets deployed, comes back the same. I do agree though, if it was truly respect they would pull the game all together. I know it is easy for non-military people to say that we should let the solders decided, but in all honestly, it could end up being very traumatic to some. PTSD doesn't show up right off the bat. I know you can play as German's in some of the WW2 games, and you can be "terrorists" in CS, but with the level of realism that games are coming to, it really could push some people over the edge.
  • by kharas (970753) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:16PM (#33457306)
    From the summary they mention the reason for their decision to be "out of respect for our past and present men and women in uniform."
    If they really want to respect them they should be giving them the choice to choose on their own. Not forcing their own decision upon them.
    Enough with the spoonfeeding mentality...
  • Re:Censorship? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:18PM (#33457348) Homepage
    Pulling the advertisements I can agree with, maybe even putting the game behind the counter out of sight, but how can you justify making the game completely unavailable to them?

    It's not a matter of "trust," it's a matter of respect. Maybe someone who just lost a friend to the Taliban might not really be in the mood for seeing a game where they can re-enact killing their friend.
  • Re:I can see (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jythie (914043) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:24PM (#33457424)
    That could go down a really scary slope since your argument basically says that companies should refuse to sell goods to all soldiers because some might have a reaction to the content.
  • Re:Censorship? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:24PM (#33457428)

    My point from my original post which you seem to have missed:

    I think that we should give them the respect they deserve and trust them to make their own decisions about what games to buy and play.

    Telling people who are risking their lives for us that they aren't emotionally stable enough to handle this game is insulting. Maybe some of them can't, but that should be their decision, not yours or mine.

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by odies (1869886) * on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:25PM (#33457440)

    What about some guy who lost his Afghan/Iraqi/Pakistan friend when US soldiers shot them? Maybe he even wasn't an soldier, but a civilian. There have been countless news about those shootings. What makes it more right to be an US soldier shooting them than being the "enemy" and shooting US soldiers? Hypocrisy at its best.

    You know, they are people just like you. They have families, childhood, friends, loved ones, dreams. Don't forget that on your high horse.

  • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:30PM (#33457480) Journal
    A few years have passed since WWII to let the raw emotions ease. I am very sure that if games like this existed at the time, there would be a near riot if a company tried to release one where you got to play the German side just after WWII (never mind while it is was ongoing as is the case now). My father was a veteran of that war (front of the front line combat from France to Germany) and he had strong feelings many years after the war. They eased somewhat later in life, but he still had issues about what he saw and did. Except for one he told my mother, he would only tell us stories where no one was hurt even though combat was going on (e.g. How many guys can you fit under a Bren Gun Carrier? Eight, as long as they are being mortared at the time. How far can a guy throw a dud 88 shell when it crashes through the stone wall of the house you are in? A long, long way... while shitting bricks at the same time.). He buried his rifle and side arm very shortly after armistice was signed (while still in the army in Europe) and refused to carry or use a weapon after that. They busted him from Staff Sargent all the way to Private after he refused to tell them where he buried them and refused to carry a weapon. It is easy to sit in a chair in front of a computer and pass judgment. The same as it is to compare society's feelings at the time events happened 65 to 71 years ago to how they feel about them today (and some folks still feel as strongly and think playing the German side is repugnant).
  • Re:Censorship? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:30PM (#33457486) Homepage
    Telling people who are risking their lives for us that they aren't emotionally stable enough to handle this game is insulting. Maybe some of them can't, but that should be their decision, not yours or mine.

    Well, technically it should be GameStop's decision, since it's their stores. And they're deciding. But like many of the posters here you're mistaking discretion/respect for "fear of an emotional collapse."

    Like, if I see you waiting on line for a movie, I am not going to just cut ahead of you. I won't do this not because I'm afraid you'll have an emotional breakdown then and there, but because it shows politeness.
  • by siriuskase (679431) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:32PM (#33457498) Homepage Journal
    I agree. Buy only pulling from the military market, they are turning the issue into an advertising gimmick. Not only will this tactic generate more controversy than an everybody or nobody approach, it will become a "forbidden fruit" for the population that has a difficult time obtaining the product. They aren't making it impossible to get, just hard to get. I see no respect at all in playing these kinds of games with our military. The company knows they want the game, they just think there is something to gain by waving it just out of arms reach. And they call it "respect", my ass. The couldn't be more disrespectful.
  • Hypocrisy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drumcat (1659893) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:32PM (#33457500)
    Pulling the ads is sensitive. Pulling the game at ONLY military outlets is wrong. If the game is "bad" enough to be pulled at military bases, where very mentally tough individuals reside, you sure as hell better not sell it to 14 year old suburban couch potatoes. They certainly will not be able to handle it. I do applaud them for pulling the advertising -- no need to waive it around inside bases.
  • Re:Censorship? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rotide (1015173) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:32PM (#33457504)
    To the victor go the spoils and to they also get to write the history books. Remember, the "good guys" are almost always the side who wins.
  • by pclminion (145572) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:34PM (#33457526)

    ... that they can't acquire the game some other way if they really wanted to.

    I didn't realize "making sure computer games are readily available to soldiers" was a priority of the US military, much less a priority for a private company who themselves have the freedom to do what they want.

    "We're fighting for your freedoms, just don't exercise them."

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:35PM (#33457536)

    Yes, and what I'm saying is that pulling the game from your stores does not show politeness. It's a highly anticipated game that doubtless many people in the military are interested in playing, Gamestop is just saying "nope" without even asking what they think about the matter. As I said before, I could understand not putting up giant displays advertising for the game, and I can even understand putting the game behind the counter and making available by request only, I cannot understand taking that decision away soldiers themselves.

    As someone below this post put it much more elegantly:

    "You can't have that."
    "But-"
    "Because I RESPECT you!.

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rotide (1015173) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:35PM (#33457542)
    We don't have gamers in the military. Apparently we only have fragile minds that can be shattered by video games. Ignore the fact that they carry weapons and are charged with not losing a god damned war. Nope all that is fine, games that some politician/suit find "immoral" are the real threat.
  • Re:Censorship? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by imthesponge (621107) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:39PM (#33457596)

    "Sorry, you can't buy this game here. We're showing respect for you and refusing to sell it to you."

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:44PM (#33457660)

    It's not a matter of "trust," it's a matter of respect. Maybe someone who just lost a friend to the Taliban might not really be in the mood for seeing a game where they can re-enact killing their friend.

    Someone modded this as "Troll". Really?!?

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:49PM (#33457712)
    Totally!
    They should also remove the Grand Theft Auto series from all their stores in case someone was recently robbed or car jacked, recently got clean from drugs or drug dealing, recently left the life of a prostitute or gangster, or was recently shot.
    I mean, damn! Show some respect!
  • Re:Censorship? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Duradin (1261418) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @06:00PM (#33457828)

    Since there are still WWII vets around, games with Nazis should be no-go. Anything after WWI really. Of course, some people may have lost relatives in previous wars, so war games should basically be banned, out of respect.

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Loonacy (459630) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @06:02PM (#33457858)

    OMG I just heard about this game called "Counterstrike" where they let you play as TERRORISTS!!! And they take hostages and shoot at anti-terrorist forces! OMG OMG OMG!!!

    Seriously, when did it become an issue to have people play as bad guys in video games? Why are we even talking about this?

  • Re:Too Soon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @06:05PM (#33457914)

    Do they let the American soldiers in the game shoot civilians, rape young Afghanis and bomb weddings with UAVs?

    Try to remember this is only a game.

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paeanblack (191171) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @06:11PM (#33458004)

    It's not a matter of "trust," it's a matter of respect. Maybe someone who just lost a friend to the Taliban might not really be in the mood for seeing a game where they can re-enact killing their friend.

    But reenacting killing someone else is somehow more respectful?

    I think you are a little confused as to what "respect" means. These soldiers are fighting and dying in the name of protecting and promoting liberty and free speech. Your concept of "respecting" that means sheltering them from a video game they may not like.

    Frankly, I think veterans have earned, at the very least, the liberty to buy and play whatever goddamn video game they feel like. Instead, some corporation gets afraid of bad PR from nanny-state idiots like you, so they stop offering the game for sale to our troops. How the fuck are you able to twist that into "respecting" them?

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cj_nologic (1649427) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @06:16PM (#33458072)
    I'm playing a game at the minute, about a guy who relives his ancestor's life as an assassin in the middle ages. It triggered a latent ancestral memory in me and I realised this guy actually assassinated my mother's mother's father's mother's father's uncle's mother's mother's father. How could they to market this game to me? The disgrace.
  • Re:Too Soon (Score:3, Insightful)

    by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @06:18PM (#33458108) Journal
    Gee, and just think, if it wasn't for those damned Americans we could all be wearing German jack boots [wikipedia.org] now. They ruined it for all of us. I guess the South Koreans and people in Taiwan are pretty pissed off at America too. Eastern Europe must be really angry with America since America was the biggest roadblock to Soviet Russia making all of Europe just like them. Hell if it wasn't for American forces helping in NATO at least the Berlin wall could have stayed up. Yep, damn those American bastards for outlasting the Soviets. [/sarcasm] By the way, name democracies that were toppled by America. Real democracies, not those that were democracies in name only, like [insert list of dictatorships that you seem to support]. I agree with anyone who slams America for getting into Vietnam and Iraq. But other than that you're talking out your ass. As for Iraq, I suspect the people who were gassed or otherwise abused by Saddam Hussein might beg to differ with your or my feelings on the subject. Personally I think Iraq forced a loss of focus on the real issue, the rogue state of Afghanistan. I was not sad to see Hussein go, but sure didn't like the timing or piss poor management of the whole thing.
  • Re:Censorship? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pomslo (1865906) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @06:21PM (#33458160)

    Pulling the advertisements I can agree with, maybe even putting the game behind the counter out of sight, but how can you justify making the game completely unavailable to them?

    It's not a matter of "trust," it's a matter of respect. Maybe someone who just lost a friend to the Taliban might not really be in the mood for seeing a game where they can re-enact killing their friend.

    No one has the right not to be offended.Period.

    if you dont like what you see ,look the fuck away, its not everyone else's problem nor their resposibility.

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by T Murphy (1054674) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @06:27PM (#33458250) Journal
    I'm sure Gamestop made this decision with the general population in mind (for PR), not so much with the soldiers in mind. Also, they aren't depriving the soldiers of the game- the soldiers just have to order the game online, go off-base or receive the game as a gift. I don't see a problem here.
  • Re:Censorship? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @06:32PM (#33458304) Homepage

    However, no one has the obligation to be offensive, either, yet some people here think that GameStop does.

  • Re:Respect? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Thursday September 02, 2010 @06:53PM (#33458596) Homepage Journal

    Are you asserting that everyone who signs up is presented with a copy of the UCMJ before they sign? Because that would be a necessary step for your assertion to be true, and I don't believe they are.

    I hear what you're saying, but most of us civilians don't walk around with copies of the Constitution and statute books, either. In the military the people who tell you what to do have a tremendous amount of power over you, but they are also subject to intense scrutiny from their higher ups. The UCMJ applies all the way through the food chain, and believe me, when a servicemember writes his Congresscritter, things happen.

    As Pharmboy points out, it's far from perfect. But having served in the Army and having obtained a JD later, I find military justice more transparent, less subject to bias, and fairer overall.

  • Re:Too Soon (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tchdab1 (164848) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @07:00PM (#33458670) Homepage

    >> By the way, name democracies that were toppled by America

    This is actually a wonderful question. Start with:

    Chile, Nicaragua, South Vietnam.

    Plus Hawaii, Cuba, Philippines, Honduras, Iran, Guatemala, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Haiti.

    Others?

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @07:11PM (#33458810) Journal

    But like many of the posters here you're mistaking discretion/respect for "fear of an emotional collapse."

    Like many of the posters here you're mistaking self censorship for "discretion/respect".
    You can argue that they're self censoring out of respect, but don't argue that it isn't censorship.

    Like, if I see you waiting on line for a movie, I am not going to just cut ahead of you. I won't do this not because I'm afraid you'll have an emotional breakdown then and there, but because it shows politeness.

    Phrases like "disturbing the peace" and "disorderly conduct" generally apply to situations like this.
    Unlike the situation with GameStop and Medal of Honor, there are laws designed to reign in people who violate social norms (like standing in line) when social pressure isn't enough.

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by syousef (465911) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @08:10PM (#33459528) Journal

    It's not a matter of "trust," it's a matter of respect. Maybe someone who just lost a friend to the Taliban might not really be in the mood for seeing a game where they can re-enact killing their friend.

    Well then maybe they shouldn't buy the game. Meanwhile others should be allowed to do so. Just what freedoms did his hypothetical friend die for? There's a huge difference between not advertising it out of respect and BANNING it.

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @08:17PM (#33459616)

    Chess glorifies political and religious oppression and war, representing a system wherein common people and even low-ranking nobility are expected to give their lives for the life of a king who is basically useless. Maybe we should ban chess out of people who live in oppressive theocratic monarchies.

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Homr Zodyssey (905161) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @08:25PM (#33459692) Journal

    From what I know of the way GameStop operates, I highly doubt this is "a matter of respect". It's more likely that
      1) They weren't selling many copies of the game at military bases
      2) They were catching a lot of flak and losing customers because of the advertisements at the military bases.

    If they were truly doing it "out of respect for the soldiers", then they wouldn't want to profit off the game and would remove it from their shelves in ALL their stores.

    Now, as for the people who complain about it not being available to the soldiers -- I'm sure they can still order it online, or get it at a shop that's off-base.

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 02, 2010 @08:28PM (#33459722)

    No, you wouldn't do this because I'd kick your ass for it.

    Comments like that always make me wonder about the mental well-being of the person making them. Would you really kick somebody's ass because they tried to get in front of you? Without giving them the benefit of a doubt that it was an accident? God forbid somebody called you an asshole for making such a remark, who knows what mayhem might ensue.

    Seriously, if you think kicking someone's ass over something so minor is worth it you probably need anger management. Or at least think a little harder before posting stupid shit on the Internet.

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigstrat2003 (1058574) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @09:55PM (#33460420)
    Exactly what I was thinking. This has fuck-all to do with "respect" for our soldiers, this is 100% a move to try to raise good feelings amongst the general populace.
  • Re:Censorship? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ooshna (1654125) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:38PM (#33460766)

    It's not minor at all. It's the equivalent of someone pissing on you. It shows a total lack of respect. It's like saying "you are nothing". In Eastern Europe I once pushed an old lady to the ground for cutting right in front of me. I have gotten in several fights over the years (in various countries) with people who stepped right in front of me while I was waiting in a long line. It almost never happens in the US or Canada though. If it did happen here and some guy engaged him (hopefully by slugging him hard in the face), I wouldn't be aghast. I would be cheering for the guy. Queue jumpers are no better than vermin and should be treated as such in any civilized society.

    Your a real mans man aren't you?

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gox (1595435) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:59PM (#33460928)

    Oh really? And how are the Nazis depicted in these books? Ah, right, as they really are. Evil and stuff...

    "To the victor go the spoils and to they also get to write the history books."

    I think you take the above quote literally: that the victors themselves come and write the history books, print them with their labels and distribute them. Well, sorry, but it is not what is meant at all.

  • Re:I call PC BS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nedlohs (1335013) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @11:54PM (#33461254)

    Welcome to the free market. A business made a decision not to sell a product in some of its stores, which is not "banning it all over the place" or banning it at all.

    You are ignoring that the Army and Air Force Exchange Services asked them to do so. That happens to be an agency of the Department of Defence and hence a part of the Government.

    They also are the landlords for the stores, and hence could stop allowing gamespot to have stores at all.

    So the Government asks someone to not sell something with at least an implicit implication that not obeying would have negative consequences. In what world is that not censorship?

    It's not the first time they've pulled such blatant censorship either.

  • Re:Censorship? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mad_minstrel (943049) on Friday September 03, 2010 @07:52AM (#33463110)
    I'd say it's almost as polite as not selling hamburgers to fat people. If you were fat, would you really consider that polite? If you were a soldier, would you really consider it immensely polite on the part of GameStop if they made a product unavailable to you strictly based on your occupation? Would you consider that any better that racism?
  • Re:Trust? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rotide (1015173) on Friday September 03, 2010 @08:42AM (#33463388)

    First, I want to thank you for your service to our country. Sincerely. I simply don't have what it takes to do what you guys do and I appreciate the sacrifices all of you make. Thank you!

    With that said, and I apologize, as a fellow citizen I'm going to have to say this.

    It's your mentality that is one of the many reasons this country is really starting to suck. I understand you went through a lot and playing a video game brought back some awful memories, etc. But that is _no_ reason to support the removal of a video game that thousands of other people might want.

    This exact, "I don't like it so I want it removed so _no one_ can have it" mentality is one of the most absurd notions of our time.

    If you don't like it. I respect that. If you don't want to buy it, I understand. If you want to personally boycott the company, I support you. But if you take offense to something and then want it removed from shelves, there by making the decision for everyone else for them? No, simply, no.

    Sorry buddy. You have free will and choice just like everyone else. You are free to choose to not like it and not play it just like the next guy is allowed to choose to like it and play it. It's not for "you" to decide what is moral and not moral in situations like this. It's art, art can be polarizing, move on.

    TL;DR: just because you don't like something, doesn't mean the rest of the world needs to take up your opinion. If you don't like it, turn it off and move on.

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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