Just a quick PSA: if you're still playing Modern Warfare 2, you might be surprised to discover that the Favela map has disappeared. Activision has temporarily retired the level from playlist rotation due to players discovering holy Islamic text displayed on a couple of paintings, which is potentially offensive for Muslim gamers.Click here to read more...
Is Keith Vaz really a politician? I'm not sure. While I don't doubt he has an impressive academic track record, his walls lined with degrees and diplomas, he seems to waste a lot of this ostensible intelligence crusading against fictional violence represented on a screen by a collection of multicolored pixels. Vaz is back at it again today, urging MPs to hold a Parliamentary debate to discuss the "harmful effects" of videogames on our children. In time for Christmas, of course. Seriously.Click here to read more...
Game Buzz is a weekly opinion column designed to take an irreverent look at one of the biggest news stories to break in the past week. Every Friday we’ll be bringing you another slice of reaction to topical gaming news, and inviting you to agree, disagree, shout assent, vent rage, scream and complain to you heart’s delight. This week, we look at Liam Fox's outburst over Medal of Honor and discuss why he is, in fact, the Doctor of Douchebaggery.
Games will turn your children into drug-addled, murderous drones. You'll learn how to score crack from an ice cream van, pick up a hooker and then brutally execute her. Games encourage interspecies erotica and alien porn. They decrease your penis size and cause you to go blind. Excessive gaming will lead to intense psychological damage and anti-social behaviour and all games developers and publishers are really soul-harvesting reapers hoping to power a gigantic Doom Cannon with the stolen Innocence of generations of otherwise wholesome kids.
The latest scaremongering headline, which Defence Secretary Liam Fox probably thought would be an easy shot to make for maximum reward, is that games are also unpatriotic. Last weekend, Fox spoke out against EA's upcoming Medal of Honor (you can check out our impressions of the mutiplayer here), apparently upset at the game's multiplayer mode which, admittedly, allows players to engage in combat on the side of the terrorists.
With much of the publicity surrounding the game focused on the Tier 1 operatives, the gritty sense of realism that EA are hoping to bring to the game, and the harsh reality of the war in Afghanistan, Fox took offence at the possibility of players fighting as the Taliban:
'It's shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban. At the hands of the Taliban, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands. I am disgusted and angry. It's hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game. I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product.'
EA's response, predictably, was unruffled and straight to the point:
'The format of the new Medal of Honor game merely reflects the fact that every conflict has two sides. We give gamers the opportunity to play both sides. Most of us have been doing this since we were seven: someone plays the cop, someone must be robber. In Medal of Honor multiplayer, someone's got to be the Taliban. '
Game Buzz is a new weekly opinion column designed to take an irreverent look at one of the biggest news stories to break in the past week. Every Friday evening we'll be bringing you another slice of reaction to topical gaming news, and inviting you to agree, disagree, shout assent, vent rage, scream and complain to you heart's delight. This week we take a look at Michael Atkinson's recent comments about 'threatening' gamers and the nature of 'interactive media'.
The perpetual struggle of Australian gamers continued to roll slowly onwards this week with chief antagonist - South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson - labelling gamers as dangerous, violent and accusing them of loitering with intent.
"I feel that my family and I are more at risk from gamers than we are from the outlaw motorcycle gangs who also hate me and are running a candidate against me," Mr. Atkinson said on ABC TV's Good Game. "The outlaw motorcycle gangs haven't been hanging around my doorstop at 2am. A gamer has."
The attorney general has also alluded in interview to threatening letters posted through his letterbox, abuse in the streets, and bile-laden emails that brand him a paedophile for standing in the way of an R18 adult classification for video gaming in Australia. Although that last is undeniably a childish knee-jerk reaction, it's hard to imagine the biker gangs he whom he refers simply passing over a floridly written, expletive-heavy note in the early hours of the morning. If you had any of them on your doorstep, you'd probably be facing glass projectiles, chains and a fire or two.
It should be noted that this isolated incident is practically a year old, and that with election week coming up Down Under it's no real surprise that this has been trotted out and wildly embellished. Of course, Atkinson's stance on the whole issue revolves around a series of seemingly-altruistic contradictions, that it's all to do with protecting children and 'vulnerable adults', that the MA15+ rating encourages developers to be responsible and modify their content appropriately, and it all sounds like he (and, allegedly, a few other unnamed classification ministers that either don't exist or are too nervous to come forward) is the last bastion of cultural sanity standing against a ravening horde of debauched gluttons for a bit of sensationalism.