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The Military Censorship Games Your Rights Online

GameStop Pulls Medal of Honor From Military Bases 362

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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  • It looks like someone forgot to close an <i> tag. Good thing it was near the end of TFS, or it would have been less readable than usual.

  • What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:07PM (#33457224)

    "Gimmie that!" *yoink*
    "Because I respect you!"

    • My thoughts exactly. Great way to show your respect for the many gamers that are in our military today.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rotide ( 1015173 )
        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.
  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      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
    • The difference is that WWII vets aren't even close to the target audience age-group for such games.

      For the new Medal of Honor, on the other hand, game's target age group and age of the actual veterans aren't all that different.
  • Another bending over (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fey000 ( 1374173 )
    Out of respect or out of fear of vociferous soccer moms? They have certainly never found issues with war games in the past, even when the opposing sides were concurrent.
  • 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."

    • 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.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by linzeal ( 197905 )
        Already happening, sending 3 copies to a friend stationed in Iraq. He plans to sell them for 100 bucks a pop.
    • They can't drive half an hour to another store? Or buy it online? Or have it special-ordered to the store on the base? Really?
      I don't agree with the premise this is being done with, but I can understand it. Remember, military bases have people other than just military on them, such as children whose friends or family have died. And those who will be inconvenienced will find a solution to this tiny problem.

  • 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 jythie ( 914043 )
      *nod* my guess is, all this will get them is some pissed off soldiers who were looking forward to the game....
    • 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.

      I wonder how much of the controversy stemmed from military bases to begin with. Playing as the bad guys has a long tradition. (Any military posters here to comment?)

      Our media and demagogues thrive on manufactured controversy.

    • Re:Respect? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by countSudoku() ( 1047544 ) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:22PM (#33457402) Homepage

      Actually, they signed away most rights when they joined. If the Col. sez "no one gets to do X" and X is something like a controversial game or the dangerous and useless facebook, then they might have to give that up. No lawyers will be assisting with that, I can assure you. I gave up mine too, but I got mines back, son!

      What's next though; playing PacMan as the Ghosts?! Surely not! Blasphemers! Game Stop, STOP them from gaming!

      • I get tired of hearing how the military "signs away most of their rights" when that is patently false. You do have limits on some right, and you really DO sign away a few while you are serving, but the vast majority of rights are the same for civilian and military. What you lose and what you gain is made perfectly clear before you sign on the dotted line. I don't think the system is perfect and sometimes is abused (an usually corrected) by higher ups, but is not quite as draconian as claimed by people "w

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          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.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Infonaut ( 96956 )

            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 a

  • by penguinchris ( 1020961 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [sirhcniugnep]> 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...

    • Yeah, I have a brother-in-law in the Airforce. He and his friends are very big on first person shooters. Judging by all of the men and women in uniform that I've met (and yes, many of them have been deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq) this is just going to make them raise their eyebrow and ask "WTF?" Though, it will probably come with at least one or two more expletives...
  • I can see (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KillaGouge ( 973562 ) <gougec17 AT msn DOT 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.
    • Is it the "getting shot at" part or the "playing video games" part that pushes people over the edge?

    • 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.
    • by rotide ( 1015173 )
      So, screw choice, lets just censor anything that could possibly make dealing with [insert some trauma here] more difficult? To hell with deciding for yourself, we need people/boards/committees/government/the UN deciding what is and isn't "damaging" to those who might be "damaged" by it.
    • Being also a "PAFM", I note that G.I.s game heavily. From bored pilots gaming in the Alert shack to enlisted gaming in the dorms, it's wired force.

      If _knowing_ a game exists where one side can _choose_ to play ragheads is going to wig someone out, they need help immediately before they go to NTC or into an exercise and flip out when facing the OPFOR in training.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I'm a USMC OIF combat vet that has suffered from PTSD. I can barely survive the fourth of July, but games like ARMA II are surprisingly cathartic for me, and have helped de-stress me when symptoms raise their ugly heads. This move is insulting to the principle for which military people stand for. I swore an oath to one thing, and one thing only, that being the constitution. By disrespecting the constitution and the freedoms that come with it, moves like this are counter-productive to the forward movement of

  • GameStop has decided it won't sell the title at its stores located on US military bases

    I'm more confused by the fact that there is commercial stores inside USA military bases in the first place.

    • There's Taco Bell and Pizza Hut and Popeyes, and seamstresses/tailors, too. A lot of these are, I'm pretty sure, actually staffed by AAFES employees. I'm not sure why you'd need a Gamestop franchise. It isn't like Gamestop has any unique products.
  • by kharas ( 970753 )
    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...
  • They are just trying to repeat the success Activision enjoyed with it's shockingly scandalous "in bad taste" scene where you had to kill the civilians at an airport in order to proceed. Despite all the "bad press", Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 went on to generate more than 310 million dollars in sales on the first day and broke sales records by a huge margin.

    Of course since this is an EA game, they will probably drop the ball and bungle the release completely. But that's just my opinion, since I believe t

    • But that's just my opinion, since I believe there is a special circle of Hell reserved for Electronic Arts.

      No no. Electronic Arts is a special circle of hell. At least according to some who have worked there.

  • Censorship... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Pla123 ( 855814 )

    So even if they wanted to buy it they won't be allowed?
    They are allowed to die in battle but not to chose what to play?

    Imagine the game was very realistic - It would give them big advantage to see their own weakness through the eyes of the enemy.

    How is that any different than any WW2 game?

  • 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.
    • by rotide ( 1015173 )
      Don't worry, it's going to be rated M for Mature. The 17+ crowd are able to make the right decisions. Those in the military. Not as capable.
  • allowing soldiers to play games about the same war they are fighting. Hhmmm I wonder what an army psychologist think about this... You don't need to be Einstein to figure it out.
    • It probably wouldn't help to be Einstein, since he was a physicist, not a psychologist.

      C'mon, it's not rocket science, either, von Braun.

  • "Some of you feel that this does some kind of injustice to your brothers in arms, so we're going to allow you to pretend it doesn't exist while still selling it to everyone else. We're doing this because we respect the fact (which we pulled out of our ass) that you can't handle things that make you upset as much as people who don't travel to foreign countries to get shot at for something they don't believe in."
  • This is a suitably ridiculous response to a ridiculous situation. I'm surprised GameStop had the nads to go there.

  • All Mario games are now off-limits to people allergic to mushrooms. They might get upset. And don't even get me started on the trauma of Burger Time.

  • by imthesponge ( 621107 ) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:52PM (#33457746)

    TFA doesn't make this clear. Here's a better one: Video Game Pulled Globally From Military Stores Over Taliban Inclusion []

    The Army and Air Force Exchange Services has confirmed to Kotaku that they requested the game pulled from the 49 GameStop's located on bases in the continent U.S. The ban, an AAFES representative told Kotaku, also extends to all military PXs worldwide.

    "Out of respect to those we serve, we will not be stocking this game," the Army & Air Force Exchange Service's Commander Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella, told Kotaku. (emphasis added)

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by imthesponge ( 621107 )

      Though technically the request was made and GameStop decided to honor it, but of course not doing so would mean bad press.

  • It's all about Gamestop thinking that closed minded politicians or a nit witted public think it's unpatriotic and end up boycotting Gamestop--such that sales go off a cliff.

    If they were really smart, soliders should use the game and play as the bad guy--cause for them to think in the ememy's shoes equates to a better solider from getting hurt. Heck, if you knew your opponents chess moves, guess who wins? Granted, the game probably has crappy agent logic for foes.

    If one can think about your enemy a
  • Modern Warfare had players as "taliban" or Iraqi soldiers (though it wouldn't call them that - As Yahtzee put it, they're all from Unspecifiedistan), and they wouldn't pull that from store shelves. So because the enemy is identified in this case, that suddenly makes it less appropriate? In a multiplayer setting, you can't both be the US forces unless you pull an America's Army and just have the enemy show up as OpFor all the time while you appear to be American all the time.

    I mean, I have a hard time imagin

  • a company making an individual decision to sell/not sell a game doesn't classify as censorship. If the chinese gov't said it would not be allowed in the country under penalty of death, that's censorship. I say kudos to gamestop for placing empathy over money. Too bad more companies didn't prioritize that way.
  • They'll just buy it from the BX/PX game section instead of the gamestop on base.
  • by kevinNCSU ( 1531307 ) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @09:29PM (#33460228)
    Everyone is way off base with the motives here. This isn't about protecting the soldiers or respecting them. The real story is a bunch of top level gamestop employees got their asses handed to them last night in a game of CTF by a bunch of people with "USMC" as their clan tag so now their trying to take precautions to prevent that from happening again.
  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:54AM (#33463976)

    Sun Tzu put it best why American soldiers should play as the Taliban:

    So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
    If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire