Any game of cops and robbers needs someone to play the robber. It's probably the simplest statement one can make about any "good guys" versus "bad guys" game scenario. But when a PR manager for a leading video-game publisher feels the need to explain it, you know the company has found itself involved in something that's anything but simple.

In this case, Amanda Taggart of Electronic Arts (ERTS) was explaining why the latest game in the company's Medal of Honor series, which hit stores on Oct. 12, allows players to take the role of the Taliban, a fact that has caused U.K. Defence Secretary Liam Fox to ask British stores not to sell the game and is the reason U.S. military personnel won't find it in stores on bases.

This new Medal of Honor is set in Afghanistan at the beginning of the current war. As with many first-person-shooters, the game offers two modes: a single-player story in which the player takes the role of a U.S. solider fighting the Taliban, and an online, multiplayer mode, in which players are put into one of two teams that fight against each other. In the multiplayer mode, the two teams are represented by the characters designed for the single-player story, but there's no narrative to follow, and neither team expresses an ideology.

Unfortunately for EA, that means some players take on the roles of the Taliban, killing U.S. soldiers. Because of this, Major General Bruce Casella, the officer in charge of the stores on military bases, kept the game of his shelves.

Name Change Didn't Change Minds


In response to that decision, and to what he described as the "feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers," Greg Goodrich, the executive producer of Medal of Honor, and his team decided to rename the Taliban in the multiplayer mode to "Opposing Force."

In an interview published the same day he announced the name change, Goodrich said, "Medal of Honor has always been rooted in authenticity and respect for the soldier." The first Medal of Honor, set during World War II, was produced by Dreamworks Interactive, a division of Dreamworks SKG (DWA), and seemed heavily influenced not just by the setting but also by the reverence to veterans shown in the Dreamworks movie Saving Private Ryan.

Despite the name change, Casella says he'll still keep the game out of military base stores, "out of respect to those touched by the ongoing, real-life events presented as a game."

Not surprisingly, Casella's decision isn't welcomed by all serving in the military or its veterans. Robert Dorr, a retired U.S. diplomat and Air Force veteran who makes clear that's he's no fan of video games, wrote in an op-ed for Air Force Times: "Airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines should be able to play this silly game if they want to. It might be in bad taste, but it's still legal."


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Vani480

Wow. This really ridiculous. It's just a video game. You bash this game, but what about some of the CoD games? Like, Modern Warfare 2. When you go into matchmaking, you can either be a soldier or a Terrorist. Or that one level when you have to slaughter countless of people at the airport. I'm not bashing CoD or MW2, I love those games, I really do, and even so that level. No, it doesnt make me a sick or twisted person, it's just a game. I know right from wrong, I can tell reality from not. As I said before, JUST A GAME. Get over it.

October 13 2010 at 11:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
chinesecartmanzz

this is so ******* stupid. the constitution says we can say whatever we want and this is just a video game! call of duty waw let you play as the nazi's and nobody gave a **** about that!

October 13 2010 at 6:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chinesecartmanzz's comment
chinesecartmanzz

besides the US is the furthest thing from innocent considering how we gave syphilis to thousands of people for Ecuador and we kill innocent people in Afghanistan

October 13 2010 at 6:16 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
BUTCHIE

i think it is ok. As a matter of fact I am looking forward to buy this game I have already played it and its really a great game with awesome detail. Video games are just that video games and just like other games out there you get to choose which side you what like in stars wars so if you cant accept the changing of the times and etc... then go back into your caves. I bet you still believe in fairy tales and fictious people. If so tell the easter bunny to stop crapping on my lawn.

October 13 2010 at 6:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hephaestus3515jd

As we all know,Taliban are wimpy homosexuals,and so is the video game.

October 13 2010 at 6:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
hephaestus3515jd

As we all know,Taliban are wimpy homosexuals,and so is the video game.

October 13 2010 at 6:03 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
hephaestus3515jd

As we all know,Taliban are wimpy homosexuals,and so is the video game.

October 13 2010 at 6:03 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Sancheezer

All I know is that the game itself has an 18 and over rating on it, which means that in order for someone to aquire the game they have to be 18 years or older to buy it. So if parent choose to buy this game for their children that their right, no one can tell someone how to raise their children but themselves. I understand that people have a lot to say about this issue, myself included but at the end of the day all that matters is that it's a game. It being an 18 and over game that means you're legally an adult to buy it. and I would hope that you know the difference betwen a game and reality.

October 13 2010 at 5:59 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Sancheezer's comment
Sancheezer

sorry for the typos

October 13 2010 at 6:02 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
alfredschrader

I built real weapons for two decades. This game is a toy. Next week, at the gun range, I'm going to practice fire a 7.62 mm armor piercing rifle I've been working with (I'm talking a serious gun). If any of you game sissies wanna shoot it, let me know. Eye, and ear protection are required....Alfred-

October 13 2010 at 5:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Becca

Hey, how bout next time we just make it Americans shooting at Americans! That would be SO much better. FFS - somebody has to be the bad guy!!

October 13 2010 at 5:15 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Becca's comment
xromeo246

how about a civil war game! blow up your dad or brother thats on the other side!

October 14 2010 at 11:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
laking22

Is just a game,but if is offenssive to the mother's and father's of our trops we owe to them our respect's for the ultimate sacrifise, that their sons and daughters are doing.

October 13 2010 at 5:04 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply