Medal of Honor: Killing people is fun, mostly

Published: October 13, 2010
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Medal of Honor is a multi-player game available in stores now

Violent video games, I admit, are the most fun to play. Killing ‘bad guys,’ slicing off heads using a sword, shooting someone in the gut with a bazooka and putting someone on fire are just some of the ways to kill in video games. God of War, Mortal Combat, Counter strike, Grand Theft Auto, Resident Evil, Crime Life are just a few I can think of off the top of my head. I myself am a huge fan of Grand Theft Auto. It’s been one of my favourite video games of all times.

However, one of latest video games to hit the market “Medal of Honor” has stirred up a bit of a controversy. This is not the first violent video game but it sure is the most controversial one as it is based on real life events. It’s set in Afghanistan to begin with. How do you play? You lead a battalion of ‘buddies’ through a historically inspired war, slaughtering the countless foes that obstruct America’s freedom blazing path. Need I say more?

With the sudden uproar created because of the game, it was banned for a while because it offended military families but later on, video game lovers continued to play it without the label of the Taliban. But does removing the label really make a difference? Who are they kidding ? The nature of the game still remains the same.  You can’t just make a mockery out of someone’s sensitivities. Are the creators of video games that short of creativity that now they have begun to target people’s emotions?

Video games are supposed to be about fun and invigoration, not about targeting other people’s weaknesses. Is it fair to have fun at the expense of others sentiments? Making a movie on events inspired from real life events is a different case but a video game? That’s pushing it.

narmeen.tariq

Narmeen Tariq

A SZABIST graduate who studied Media Sciences. The author is working as a sub-editor for T2 Extra, the Sunday pages of The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Amina

    Yeah, and I suppose video games based on WWII where you kill Nazis (Nazis or not, they’re Germans, right? And Germany is an existing country, right?) are so far removed from the truth, you can’t even tell you’re killing humans! Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/13/syed-ali/ S. Ali Raza

    “Making a mockery of sentiments” – Isn’t that a normal practice everywhere? Good post! Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/93/khurram-zahid/ Khurram Zahid

    I used to play video games a lot. my favorite games were of car racing especially need 4 speed. I also used to like GTA all part and played all of them a lot. It seems that people love violent games but violence in games never attract me.Recommend

  • Farhan

    Nice Article……!Recommend

  • gamest

    Nice one narmeen..
    n ur the first girl i get to know whom likes gta franchise :)Recommend

  • http://www.ianwalthew.com Ian Walthew

    There is a very interesting book written my an American military pyschologist – Lt. Col. David Grossman – called ‘On Killing’. In it he explains the historical problem the U.S. military had with actually getting soldiers to even aim their weapons, let alone fire them (during WWII). Since then, the traditional bulls-eye target was dropped, and US soldiers now train firing at highly graphic and visceral targets.

    The bottom line is that men have to be taught to kill, and this is done through extensive conditioning that enables soldiers to ‘release the safety catch’ in their mind and do something very unnatural to 98% of soldiers – kill.

    Grossman’s wider concern for society (as I don’t think he’s too worried about training US soldiers to kill) is that computer games like Medal of Honor are having a tremendous influence on young people, in conditioning them to be able to ‘release the safety catch.

    The result is that when they are exposed to or have access to real firearms (many Americans) they are much more likely to use them – to kill, not simply to scare or wound.

    (Incidentally, he cites research that show that 98% of soldiers who kill feel either regret or remorse, but 2% – and they are not necessarily deranged killers, although some are sociopaths – unaccountably don’t. Perhaps the the 2% figure will rise as the US Army recruits more young men who’ve spent much of their childhood’s playing games like Medal of Honor.)

    It’s also worth noting that there are many players of Medal of Honor in Islamic countries, and indeed games where the opponent is the US army. They are extremely popular amongst bored, unemployed, middle and upper class kids from Karachi to the Gulf. How nice it would be if there were NGO worker games that could be played by Americans and Pakistanis.)

    http://www.ianwalthew.comRecommend

  • http://grsalam.wordpress.com Ghausia

    Its Mortal Kombat dude, one of the coolest games ever. What does shooting up the Taliban have to do with offending people’s sensibilities? Whose feelings are you worried about hurting, the families of 9/11 victims who’d love the chance to rip apart the criminals responsible, or the people terrorized by the Taliban for years, or the Pakistanis who live in constant fear of bomb attacks by Taliban?Recommend

  • Lubinka

    Playing violent video games just proves one fact: everyone has a violent streak- they just express it differently. Whatever makes an individual feel stronger and more powerful than the other. Some do it in the form of games, while others do it literally. At the end of the day, its all a struggle for power and victory.

    Good read though :)Recommend

  • Salman Ali

    Nice article..Something besides Politics…I still play video games and I am planning to buy this game despite criticism and bad reviews http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ny59j7s_tM

    Besides I have played Allied Assault and Spearhead at Neomatrix(a gaming arena).This will be my first MOH game,the reason is simple I want to play it online at home

    Besides this Devil May Cry,Metal Gear Solid,God Of War and GTA are my most favourite gameRecommend

  • Salman Ali

    This for the First Time that I heard a girl playing games like GTA,God Of War,Mortal Kombat(Combat),Resident Evil,Call Of Duty etc

    BTW you should Devil May Cry…If you really like to play games based on politics than play Metal Gear Solid,where the game criticises presents of Nuclear weapons and Illuminati..Yes Illuminatis and/or Freemasons or whatever you call them,in the game they call it The Patroit’s Wisemen ComitteeRecommend

  • http://grsalam.wordpress.com Ghausia

    @Salman I am so amused by your comment, you’ll be surprised at how many girls like playing games and screaming “DIE DIE DIE” at the screen. Its good for rage control issues in my opinion. I love MGS, I’m currently attempting to finish off Rex the second time around, I always die after Grey Fox shows up. :(Recommend

  • Muhammad Ziad

    Have you even played Medal of honor reboot ? It is a Soldiers story in the on going conflict. I’ve been a gamer all my life and let me tell you this , Games are not just for fun. They are one of the best medium to express views,ideas and share cultural values despite some wrong or deliberate depiction.

    No , she is not the first female gamer to raise some voice on ‘games’ in Pakistan. There are more hardcore females fans of Warcraft in Pakistan than to ones imagination (@salman) .

    Medal of honor do nothing wrong in portraying soldiers in Afghanistan in an on going conflict where they have to face fear and choices just like a normal soldier would and then put you into that boot to witness the story. There have been criticisms and in the end it’s a military shooter. One have no problems into playing games killing Nazis, Muslim Chechen terrorists, Playboy mansion bunnies or rape black women in custers revenge, Muslim massacre, ALLAH HU AKBAR Song in zak and wiki , again genocide in resident evil 5 , than this game should not have any restriction either.

    You need awareness before blogging. Now i’m off to be the ‘opposing force’ and kill some amreecan soldiers in Moh Reboot , heehaw! Recommend

  • G

    It seems the writer is at best a casual gamer overtaken by the fad. The reservations with this episode of MOH was in particular about allowing the player to take over the role of “Taliban” and fight the opposite side. This – in fact is not only culturally insensitive to Americans / Canadians who have lost soldiers in a long war, but also for Pakistanis who have lost at least 2000 soldiers fighting them. Not to mention the numerous bomb blasts and other issues created by the Taliban.

    But bear in mind, the video game is the name of providing the flexibility that a movie does not. It allows you to be immersed in the story. To play it your way. And the best part is that sometimes you get to choose the side you want to play, and that might not always be the good guys.

    There are a host of other games where you can play as the enemy. No real angst towards any of those games.

    The point of conflict is totally sidestepped in this piece. From where i stand, with over a decade of gaming – the author just about kills all the fun in gaming – particularly so the games she herself mentions in the beginning.Recommend

  • Komal

    You know what, since American soldiers haven’t been too successful in real life, might as well let them enjoy killing ’em in video games.
    Interesting article, though. I enjoyed reading it. Recommend

  • Wasio Ali Khan Abbasi

    I know a few girls playing Counter Strike but frankly, the author is the first I have seen publicly announcing the games she enjoys playing. I have seen Medal Of Honor but for some reason never liked playing it. I enjoyed Counter Strike a lot, however, and even led my university team in various competitions. Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat are simply legends of their respective genre, have some fond memories playing them in my teenage. With time my taste changed to Role Playing games like Dungeon Siege 2, Oblivion, Gothic 3 and Dragon Age Origins.

    What I understand about the controversy is that there are many people who, even if dislike or hate Taliban, who be appalled by the game’s insensitive nature of actually branding certain people for killing. Since it is set in Afghanistan, it has practically labelled Afghanis as Taliban and kids (I really mean young kids who either haven’t reached their teenage or in the initial years) would not feel any difference between an Ordinary Afghani and a Taliban Terrorist. For them both are one and the same thing, it’s just the game that tells them who to shoot and who to not.

    As for the Nazi point raised above, it was a mistake on American side that they didn’t took it into proper consideration and later paid the price. If you look at ‘school shooting’ incidents in US public and private schools, many would have shooters who are die-hard followers of Nazi philosophy. Many of them of German nationality even.
    In any case good article from a casual gamer. Good work and keep it up. Something different is better than this constant political ‘Star Plus’ serial going on in the country.Recommend

  • Ahsen Gilani

    Loved killing the taliban. headshot baby. Proud pakistani, would not hesitate to kill em all.Recommend

  • http://www.miniclipgame.org/ Miniclips

    nice tutorial…looking forward to posts more. thanks a lot!..Recommend