The Game Boy: Why EA’s Taliban Censorship in Medal of Honor’s Multiplayer Misses the Point Entirely

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BlackBird71

EA has there right to change it but why they would IDK.

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Luthorcrow

Nathan, great job.  I completely agree. I think Justin on the Joystiq podcast put it best but I like your take on how self censorship is pointless.  The real issue is that they shoud have stucked to their creative guns.  Changing the name doesn't really do anything.

On other hand it does make me want to play this game with a Taliban username and cap me some U.S. soliders. After all kids, time for some grown up talk, that war is not going to end well. Sorry to piss in your Cherros but everyone since the Greeks have tried to pacify that region and failed.

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novatvstdios

if you dont like it dont buy it

if you dont like it go back to africa

if you dont like it dont watch it

this is what happens when you make sims instead of video games. why regardless of how good the fighting mechanics are in soul caliber 2 i will always hate it for including link and vader and spawn and why i hate movies that rely on a bunch of cameos, why despite hating the fuckin guts out of elves and goblins, material like lord of the rings will always spawn much more interesting emergent content than media which only exists to capitalize on whats hot right now. at least its not world war 2.

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schmitty6633

Calm down mister sassy pants. Just dont buy it.

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Hmmm

Yes yes yes the enemies are the Taliban, that's so terrible.

But instead try to imagine you are playing GTA 4. You're Eastern Europe/Russian immigrant Niko obviously, riding around a car you just stole from someone at gun point, scoring drugs, having sex with hookers and murdering them afterward for their money, maybe killing some cops that get in your way too.

Now imagine you're doing all that but playing Middle Eastern Muslim immigrant Akbar, instead.

Tell me when I went too far. =]

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johnnyathm1

It's just a game. If you don’t like it...don't buy it. It's that simple folks.

 

Prior Infantry, currently signal, forward deployed in Iraq.

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machew100

Sassy sally alert.

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bigsarge72

Actually, there was not a lot of back story there, just enough to give reference to my perspective.  (And I have read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights).  I guess to clarify my point, I should have added I believe this is just another case of the PC bs that is overtaking our society making it's way into our lives.  It has infected the government and has been slowly trickling down into all aspects society.  I believe we would be a lot better off as a country if we stopped trying to control how everyone thinks (by controlling what we say), and stopped worrying so much about what everyone else thinks about us.  There was a time in our not so distant past when we as a people had a little thicker skin.

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SeverianSilk

It's a game. It's put out by a company that wants to make money. By all means, listen to the public! This isn't a political war, people. If you wanna build a Mosque in NYC, go ahead, that's a constitutional right. And we should argue for that right. If you wanna burn the quran, well, you're an idiot. But, even though I see the author's point in this (and I think the complainers are nitpicky nose-pickers who probably don't even play the game, let alone own any sort of gaming system - and if they did, just don't buy the damn game???), still, it's a marketing thing. EA is probably happy to hear this feedback versus, as I commented on a second ago, simply not buying the game. This gives them a way to make more sales. Which means more money to EA. Which means more R&D. Which means better quality games.  So what?

Politically, they have the right. They can name Taliban all they want, and have you shoot whoever you want. But it's sales they're after, plain and simple. It has nothing to do with "compassion for whomever" or "acts of respect". It's money. Good ol' green. And I couldn't ask for more from a company wonderfully taking advantage of a beautiful free market. If they're money driven, they'll make more money. If they make more money, they'll make better product. Good enough for me!

Perhaps they should release two editions: the "I'm not afraid of the truth" edition, and the "I'd rather stick my head under a pillow and live in my fantasy land of rainbows and butterflies" edition. That'll be fun.

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2007mustang

As an ex military member I have to say i find this article on point. I mean come on it is just a game and before the change it was accurate to some degree. As a person that was in the gulf war it does not bother me that it was taliban fighter. Though i dont play these types of game on a regular basis I would have found it fun killing some taliban fighters (er apposing force).

That being said I most likely will not buy the game because of the change. Sounds rediculas now doesnt it... Same could be said about making the change in the first place.

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Seven7Thirty30

You all sound like a bunch of damn girls. EA made a change out of respect, and I respect them for it. Pretty cut and dry to me. How will it affect your ability to play or enjoy the game? It won't. There are plenty of other topics you could choose to satisfy your self-indulgent and childish desire to prove that you're a big, bad defender of the Constitution. Fight the system elsewhere pussies! The author of this article is a moron.

As for defending and seeking "reality in games"; what if they made a game where it was possible to rape or sodomize and all the victims of such horrific crimes opposed it? Sounds like most of you would be upset by the developers' decision to cut that too, right? -730

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Biceps

I find you article too full of opinions as well as meaningful and intelligent commentary.  In order for this country to continue its general downward drift in intelligence and just plain ridiculous hard-headedness, we are going to have to censor you.

As you can see from the comments below, you have rather touched a nerve here.  Well, in order to protect the feelings of the families of the people playing this game, and in order to protect our children from dangerous and ill-advised ideas, we believe that you should self-censor your article.  If you don't there is an excellent chance no one will ever read MaxPC again, because their feelings will be so hurt.

KthxBai

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Oedipus_Rex

It doesn't mean anything.  Play it or don't.  When you play the "Bad Guys", you and your buddies can call them whatever you want to.  This is not important in any way, shape or form.

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graill

While I enjoy reading some of your articles this one was pretty badly done. Reference the MOH piece. Since you appear to be a a savvy, straw drinking dude with years of world travel and wisdom under your hat I will get straight to the point. I do not know your religious preference and from reading, and re-reading your piece, I will assume it is Islam, so I will try to be careful how I address my concerns over your censorship piece. Nathan, you do not seem to know much about the history of Islam (your own religion) or its ultimate goal. The Taliban are a group that practice Islam like yourself with an exception, they are not humanitarians like i hope you are,  and they require headlines, big ones. They need and want to be seen in every media type possible. Having their names in virtual lights (MOH) would have been free advertising for them, and as I stated since you seem to follow Islam you know your Taliban friends are quite the angry bunch when it comes to Islam itself and how anyone practices it. The free advertising would be that much worse for the free thinking people of the world. I can see how you and your Islam brothers want to have your name kept in the headlines so you do not sink into obscurity, but that shouldn’t be a problem for your brothers, they probably will just blow up some something else and say, hey! we are still here!  I understand your thinking though Nathan, if the US military has their names in those virtual lights, has those headlines......good or bad, then why not your Taliban brethren and their name kept in the spotlight?! That’s the real reason for this censorship piece isn't it?  I will bet your Taliban friends are having a drink to your health right now. Hey Nathan, you and your god have a nice day. BTW i practice the religion of individualism if you were curious.

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Sodman

Buddy you are way out there, I think you have truly lost your mind and need to try to get a grip on reality.

If you don't like the game or the names used in the game, then you and all the others opposed to the game should just pass it by and let all of the rest of us people enjoy their game in peace.

I am not making you play it, don't try to stop me from playing it.

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_lethe_

Did you seriously turn a commentary on self-censorship into a (completely unfounded) attack in Islam and Nathan himself? The arrogance of telling someone else what their own religion supposedly says is just... ridiculous. Realistically, IF he were Muslim, I'm pretty sure he'd know about it better than someone who probably gets all their info on Islam from FOX News. And the fact that you'd assume that someone criticizing self-censorship involving the Taliban is automatically a Muslim pretty much confirms that you're an ignorant moron who can't be bothered to do any real research or show any respect for other viewpoints or religions.

...Seriously. That entire post was arrogant, ignorant, and unbelievably racist.

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graill

As for me this is my stand on anything if anyone is confused. Watch your own lane and i will watch mine. If you or your ideas or what you represent ruin my calm or affects my loved ones or friends then be prepared for some discussion.

On to the rebuttal Lethe (grin)

Why wouldnt i assume someone that tries to protect an entity Like the Taliban wasnt the same religion? Did Nathan do his research on the Taliban? Found out what they have done, what they represent, why they were attacked in the first place? The term Taliban isnt just a name its a very bad idea. Your soapbox of ignorance in your reply to mine is that my reply is an attack? It is an informed observation, moreso than yours obviously. Nathan has since let me know he isnt islam, i said cool, now that thats out of the way whats your problem with common sense, censorship?  We replied to one anothers opinions and observations. We have differing views. When people cant support an argument they make, then their followers or like minded individuals call it a personal attack, its pretty standard procedure for the uninformed trying to make very big points and not taking in to account the big picture, just their own wants or needs for self righteousness.

As for your own uninformed observation that he would know it better than someone that HAS spent time over there and knows the difference between common sense and censorship, something a bunch of people, including yourself Lethe think is fine regardless of the consequences needs to be rethought. Its "people like you" Lethe that support these insane ideas that any censorship is bad.  The idea from people spewing things like "where will it end!" is a crock. But you are entitled to your opinion, i support that 100%.

What i will not support. I do not expect a very bad world entity like the Taliban to be given free advertising being they represent a way of life absolutely none of you would want to embrace except for other islamic extremists. If the taliban were a non issue like the Natzi party there wouldnt be the uproar and the support from military folks like myself to force EA to rethink its game. Unfortunately the Taliban want the free advertisement, they thrive on this stuff and giving the type of people the Taliban represents a voice is very bad for people like you and all involved, whether YOU think so or not, if you had a clue you would realize this. You need to think of the big picture, whats at stake, and not your own little part of the world and your own wants or ideals or need for a pitiful game to entertain yourself. 

If EA wanted to stop the controversy, not that they want to ruin all the big publicity they are getting they should have done what we told them from day one on many of their games. BLUEFOR and OPFOR. instead they went the other route, who is playing whom? EA knows exactly what they were/are doing and what to expect and they are loving it with the sales numbers.

Anyway i have stated my piece a few times now on this taliban subject and those that support them, time to move on, take the last word.

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Vahn16

Er, no. While I have no disrespect for people who practice it, my religion is definitely not Islam.

And my ultimate goal in this article wasn't to encourage the use of the Taliban's name in Medal of Honor. Rather, I was using it as an example of political correctness taken to an absurd extreme. After all, what has EA actually accomplished by changing the name of their terrorists? Moreover, why is the name such a big deal to these people when a bigger issue -- depiction of US troops getting killed by said terrorists -- is staring them in the face? Isn't that what the families of these troops were complaining to EA about in the first place: troops dying? Why should altering the name of the killers make troops' families stop protesting?

The bottom line: In attempting to be "inoffensive," people tend to lose sight of what actually matters. As a result, publishers like EA think they can placate everyone with a simple name change, which -- by all rights -- should only make those people angrier at them. We're destroying our own freedom of speech, and in doing so, we're allowing others -- like EA -- to take advantage of us. 

And that's what I'm trying to expose with this article: an attitude that pervades our society. It's a sickness, and the videogame industry's just the latest one to catch it.

--Nathan Grayson

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JusTalkin

I agree that the name change and nothing else doesn't do much to change the fact that terrorists are killing Americans in the game.  How is that different from CoD 4, after all?

Since I haven't seen the game, I can't say what else the experience might contain to glorify specifically the Taliban, though. 

Either way, I miss how this is censorship.  They voluntarily (and probably for PR reasons) changed the name of one of the parties in the game.  Big deal.  They didn't have to. They weren't forced to.  Was there a concerted effort onlilne to change their mind about having the name Taliban in the game?  I honestly don't know, but look at what all of the effort going into having Modern Warfare 2 changed to allow hosted servers had.  It was the biggest launch ever and again I believe that un-named terrorists are killing American Soldiers in the game.

At worst, it's a publicity stunt and fail to see in any way how it's censorship to voluntarily change something like this.  I think that you're being too sensitive or have something deeper in mind that you didn't share in the article.

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Cache

Ad hominem attacks aside, you lack a real historical reference outside of "USA is good" and "Everybody else is bad."  Let me preface by stating that I do believe the Taliban to be just further evidence that any religion--properly marketed--can be used to justify anything.  It's a power game--they want it, we don't want them to have it.  That said...

The US has for years meddled in Middle Eastern affairs to further our own interests when convenient, and we have had de facto tyrants, monarchs, and other rulers who could be cruel to their own people but who followed US policies that acted sometimes against the interest of their own people.  Saddam Hussein started the Iran/Iraq war using US military equipment, after all.  Much of the current situation we find ourselves in is based on decades of stupid and short-sighted decisions to coerce the gulf states to do what we want, often ignoring their own problems. 

Don't misunderstand me, here.  At this time there is not a single representative government in the middle east that in any way is 'better' than the leaders they had under more US influence.  It is a very corrupt area with cultural reinforcement of that corruption.  People are very marginalized in many of the societies there, the notion of freedom of speach against your own government is unheard of.  Their leaders know this, and in classic human tradition, they blame someone else--mostly us, but the 'West' in general.  It gives the common man focus, so that when they are angry at their social standing, it was the fault of the US.  When you have no wives while another, richer and more important man has four, it's the fault of the US.  This is reinforced from a young age through the overtly religious indoctrinations in the region.   When there is an issue, it is not one of state and leaders, but offense to the religion of over one billion people--even if, from a dispassionate point of view, their religion had nothing to do with it.  Everything in the Middle East revolves around religion, and all religions must have enemies to fight.  The issue is much deeper and complicated than 'they are bad, we are good'. 

I, for one, say call them what they are.  Videogames are actually starting to touch on the subject of political relevance.  Don't let the censorship needed to appease a very narrow, dogmatic view override the reality that no matter what the cause of wars and conflict... people are wounded, their lives forever and devestatingly changed, or they are snuffed out completely.  Make people uneasy.  Make them squirm a little.  Sometimes the person in the mirror isn't entirely likeable.  Trying to erase an enemy by not mentioning them, or showing what a current enemy does is completely pointless.  Much of the Taliban and similar groups make the US to be their enemy in word, game, and politics.  Gamers have the same thing, only until now we've used 'safe' enemies.  Historical battles, aliens, monsters--we have our own enemies that we have painted to fight; safe ones that have no real name or meaning. 

Give the Taliban a name inside the videogame sphere, killing US troops.  We have never been a nation to give in to fear.  Face the horrors in the world because those people are not going away, and even if you can somehow kill all of them, another one is there to pick up arms.  Pretending this enemy is not killing our citizens--both soldier and civilian--is the height of cowardice and it is why I will never support censorship.  If a videogame is a work of art, then let that art stand. 

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Cache

Tomorrow I look up the word 'brevity'.

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essjay22

You had me at " free advertising for them" a point no one has made until now and it is the only reasonable counterpoint I have read thus far. Unfortunately you then cloaked your  prose in snarky rhetoric and insinuation thereby rendering everything you had written, moot. IMO . Too bad

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Kodess

The medal of honor team should remove the name Allies.

Its free advertisement for murderers, my grandpa got killed by the Allies in WOII,

and this is just advertising for them.

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Walnut

If the Taliban like the press so much, they must totally love how much they've gotten out of this game! Just for the sake of argument, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to say that their removal from MoH is a sort of victory. The Americans are so distraught that they dare not mention the Taliban in their sources of entertainment! This is SO easy to spin. Ultimately, the debacle that has arisen from something largely harmless (put it into perspective-- this is a GAME depicting our soldiers, particularly why they are honorable people) has probably benefited the Taliban FAR more than the game itself would have, at least by your line of reasoning. Also, it's relatively easy to present a well-reasoned argument without being condescending. It's harder to present a poorly-reasoned argument in such a manner. Your tone has made it clear under which grouping your post falls.

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bigsarge72

I have been serving our country for the last 16 years (13 years Army, 3 as a contractor; either deployed or training our troops), and the thing that amazes me is that people do not really understand what "Freedom of Speech" means.  It means people are free to say what they want in this country (short of causing a dangerous situation, i.e. shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater); even things other people do not like.  It means if someone wants to call their bad guys "Taliban" in a game, they have the right to do it, whether that hurts someone ones feelings or not.  Someone else has the right to say they are "idiots" for choosing to do so, but again, that is their Constitutional right.

There is always a "bad guy" in these games, and someone always chooses to play on that side....because if they did not, there would be no game.  The bad guys were "Taliban" because they are some of the current "bad guys" in the real world, and the game was set in modern times.  The company has the right to change the name of the bad guys if they want, but they should not have had to.  The people who have lost friends and loved ones need to remember those friends and loved ones died to protect our Constitutional rights, to include Freedom of Speech, and that includes freedom of speech even when we do not like it.

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Chuckles

how about actually reading the bill of rights.

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 

Nowhere was Congress involved.  If ANYTHING, people petitioned EA (not the government).  

Hate it when "freedom of speech" becomes "freedom FROM consequences" of what some may consider poorly chosen speech.

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US_Ranger

Hey BigSarge. How exactly is this CHOICE from EA infringing on anyone's freedom of speech? No one is forcing them to change the name of anything. Less drama and backstory on your life and more reading.

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jth

Also, "realism" isn't really my favorite style of video game to begin with, but one thing I care for even less is "too-scared-to-be-almost-realistic".

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Skrýmir

It's totally cool to play as Nazi's in previous Medal of Honor games, but not the Taliban in new ones? I fail to see how Opposing Force changes the "HEY GUYS I'M OBVIOUSLY SUPPOSED TO BE AN ARABIC INSURGENT!' Models for the games. This is a sad day for even EA, it means they've finally decided to stop making Creative works, and have finally embraced the conform to the media mentality that they were destined to. The people that got offended by this were totally cool with US Soldiers killing people in a videogame, and the glorification of an armed conflict fueled by self-interest. They don't seem to have a problem with the fact that the US is pulling it's troops out of two countries they've left in complete anarchy without any real government, but it's NOT OKAY TO HAVE A US SOLDIER DIE BY THE HANDS OF THE TALIBAN IN A VIDEOGAME! Only by the hands of their Roadside bombs overseas. This has absolutely nothing to do with Soldiers, it has to do with a bunch of people that don't think before they act or speak. Maybe it was too soon to portray the conflict in a videogame, I think it was, that was the mistake made here. 

And let's not forget everybody is cool with Infinity Ward and Activision's bullshit that they pulled in Modern Warfare 2. I think Modern Warfare 2 was far more offensive than this shit will ever be.

The weakest measure of a man is when he himself compromises his vision for the acceptance of a others.

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graill

@skrymir

First pull your head out of your a$$, second, once you spend time in the real world instead of your basement or coffee shop then you can comment. Be thankfull your kind has the freedom to post your drivel, comments made by people like you that havent thought about anything but their wants and their needs, your comment makes you look selfish. You compare the Taliban to the Nazi's, your ignorance in this action tells me your a child with little education, no wisdom and even less morals. the entitys in question are different as night and day. If you knew anything about either of them you would not have type that comparison.

 I will bet you thought your little quote was pretty snazzy, here is a quote just for you and your cowardly type.

quote]

War is an ugly thing, But not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, Is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made so and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

John Stuart Mill (1806)

endquote]

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PawBear

You guys have it all figured out.  Let's ask the military dead, you know, the ones who suffered particularly nasty deaths with lots of pain and suffering.  How many is that in this latest conflict, ten's of thousands, hundreds?  I don't doubt for a minute that their primary concern now is for all us gamers and how much we would suffer if, say, EA decided to drop the game all together or change a name in it.  Why would they care about their loved ones left behind, mothers, fathers, wifes, husbands, children, grandparents, people so insensitive to our feelings?

Poor us.

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Rogue74

I say if even one military family was upset by it then it's fine to change it. Anyone who says otherwise must not have any family or friends involved in the current war or you'd feel differently. I'm all for things being as uncensored as possible, but in this case I don't think it's a big deal to change it. This isn't a case of some moron wanting to be politically correct, it's about the men and women out there protecting your right to freedom of speech.

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Sodman

Hmmmm strange how they are fighting for our freedom of speech yet the very families and friends of these heroes that fight for our freedom of speech are actually the ones that are trying to take it away from us,hmmmm how ironic, must make you feel so warm inside  to go against the very thing that your family member/friend gave his/her life so selflessly for.

Step back and think for a minute people about what you are trying to impose on other people who have the right and freedom to pick and choose what they want.

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Emeraldflame

You said those involved in the current 'war'. We are not in a 'war' nor have we been in one since WWII. We are currently engaged in a conflcit, not a war. There are large differences between the two, mainly dealing with how our operations run, that go to far to explain here but I am tired of this being mis-represented and mis-understood.

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Mark17

All of the controversy around the game is stupid. I don't see what the big deal is. Next thing you know they'll end up changing it to Red Team vs. Blue Team, then all of the people that wear blue shirts will be offended.

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BuLLg0d

and your too young to understand. So you were sucking your moms tit on 911 so "you were there". Fuck you

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ryantmer

It would be "you're", nor "your".

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BuLLg0d

You spelled not wrong.   welcome to the idiots club dumbass

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ryantmer

There is a difference between a typo and not knowing elementary school English.

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Mark17

I never thought of it that way before. I really appreciate your insight and would like to thank you for your excellent contribution. I really like how you go in depth to explain that I'm "too young to understand" and that I'm "an idiot". Your logic and reasoning are flawless. I'm glad you took the time to explain why you disagree with me in a sensible manner. It's not every day you encounter an individual on the internet who provides a different prospective on an issue, and does so in mild-mannered and respectful way.

Thank you.

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p47riot

well played

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US_Ranger

How is this censorship?

Some families were concerned. The media gave a negative reaction to it. Certain stores on military bases pulled it from the shelf. EA decided to listen to the families, avoid negative media and make extra sales on military bases. This seems more like a smart business move than censorship. If some authoritarian force stepped in and said they could NOT use "Taliban" in the game then that would be censorship. This was merely a small name change to make some people happy.

Quit using words like "censorship" because you're unhappy with their choice.

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riopato

It was a very good business decision to self censor themselves not only to appease the ignorant but to be able to sell more copies of this game.

My question is how long is this game's popularity going to last? I give it 1 year if not 6 months when black ops takes it's place and this whole controversey will die. And real soldier will still be killed by real taliban much longer than the popularity of this game.

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Mighty BOB!

It's self-censorship.  It's definitely not as bad as an authoritarian force intervening and saying they couldn't use the name, but it is still censorship nonetheless.  That's basically what political correctness is.

 

The article is dead-on.

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BuLLg0d

It's part of the free market and it's why there are only 6 brands of mayonaise and not 200. People can select what they like and don't like. If you can't produce a product people want, you dissappear.  The Big Brother and censorship these people are looking for is me, and it sounds like many other like me. I am a voice, if someone agrees we are two voices, if a third party joins, it gets louder, and so on. 

 

Excellent point and thank you for pointing it out. 

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Oedipus_Rex

Does it affect game play?  No?  Then so what?

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Zachary K.

i don't see anyone complaining about playing as Nazi's killing Americans.

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BuLLg0d

Have you ever heard the phrase "too soon"?

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Walnut

Have you ever heard the phrase "it's just a game?"

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riopato

usually in reference to a joke made too soon after an event not funny. Censorship is not a joke.

Another form of censorship is propaganda and historically this form of censorship always become acceptable during war. Question is eraseing the Taliban from the game is considered propaganda for what reason?

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