Playing the Right Murderous Role in Online Role Playing Games

Posted on October 2, 2010

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More from our continuing front of self-righteous delusion:

The LA Times reports today that the US military has banned the Afghan war themed Medal of Honor role playing game from its PX’s. What is this you say? A moment of clarity from the management team of our paid mercenary force? An acknowledgment of our twisted society, making video games about our real-time slaughter of countless Afghan civilians?

Well, no. The military’s complaint:

… it would allow players to shoot U.S. troops as Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, where the war game is set. Critics said the ability to take on the role of the Taliban and kill U.S. and British troops was insensitive to the family of soldiers who had died in Afghanistan.

Of course. This is the discourse we’ve enabled with our constant mantra of “support the troops” over the past decade. A video game, made with no other intent but for pleasure, which depicts the brutal murder of Afghans, in a bloody and unjust invasion that has already taken the lives of up to tens of thousands of Afghans: that’s totally fine. But don’t show those awful people fighting back; that’s an affront to the people trying to kill them.

There’s an obvious commentary on the nature of our society here, where we make games which celebrate murder and destruction of foreign peoples, even as we claim to be a society under siege. But more than that, these games are little more than advertisements for the military. These ads have been popping up all over my low-income neighborhood:

So nice, they placed it twice

Here it is again, about a mile away.

These ads are little more than the celebration of violence and murder. Electronic Arts’ claim that their intention is to “honor the soldier”, is undercut by the pornographic focus on firepower and accoutrement fetish. The military spends around a billion dollars annually to make service look appealing to young people, they certainly don’t need any help from a video game company.