The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) are the storekeepers to our troops. And they’ve banned the forthcoming Electronic Arts videogame Medal of Honor from their shelves. The retailer made the move after discovering that the game allows players to hunt, shoot and kill American forces. “Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella, AAFES commander, said the move was out of respect to troops and their families,” Star & Stripes‘ improbably named Warren Peace reports. “He expects that AAFES shoppers will understand the decision not to carry the game.” What’s the term for the discrepancy between expectation and reality? Irony . . .
The move baffles avid gamer Cpl. Aaron Hostutler.
“In ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,’ you can play as several different countries’ forces and often you’re playing against and killing Marines or our allies,” said Hostutler, a Marine stationed on Okinawa. “I don’t understand how ‘Medal of Honor’ is any different.”
In the “Modern Warfare 2” multiplayer mode, players can become virtual Islamic militants who kill American troops in a desert country.
Players also are given the choice to participate in a terrorist attack in an airport. Armed with a machine gun, players either watch — or join — a Russian militant group as it kills innocent travelers by the hundreds as they run and hide.
While I’m sure soldiers and airmen can distinguish between fantasy and reality, having been raised on violent videogames, I can also understand the Powers that Be’s decision not to sell games with an anti-American scenarios. It’s not enough to be doing good, you have to be seen not to be doing bad.
As for foolish the inconsistency of selling games that do and games that don’t foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.