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Combat Vets On CoD: Black Ops, Medal of Honor Taliban

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the not-as-messy-as-the-real-deal dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 93

An anonymous reader writes "Thom 'SSGTRAN' Tran, seen in the Call of Duty: Black Ops live action trailer and in the game as the NVA multiplayer character, gets interviewed and talks about Medal of Honor's Taliban drama. '... to me, it's a non-issue. This is Hollywood. This is entertainment. There has to be a bad guy if there's going to be a good guy. It's that simple. Regardless of whether you call them — "Taliban" or "Op For" — you're looking at the same thing. They're the bad guys.'" Gamasutra published a related story about military simulation games from the perspective of black ops veteran and awesome-name-contest winner Wolfgang Hammersmith. "In his view, all gunfights are a series of ordered and logical decisions; when he explains it to me, I can sense him performing mental math, brain exercise, the kind that appeals to gamers and game designers. Precise skill, calculated reaction. Combat operations and pistolcraft are the man's life's work."

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Random thoughts on those two games (4, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316162)

I've played through the campaigns in both MoH and Black Ops. I'm not quite sure why I did; I was pretty sure in advance that I wouldn't like them. I'm not a great fan of the "gated corridor" school of level design that the Call of Duty series has promoted and I feel like I've seen pretty much every possible variation on their big "set piece" scenes by now. Indeed, having completed both of them, it's hard to manage more than a "meh".

MoH is a strange game, at least partially, I suspect, because of how the developers were trying to skirt around the "taste" issue. It seems to alternate between the kind of po-faced faux-seriousness that made me wonder whether I was supposed to be saluting my monitor, and "yay, quad bike level". The weird thing is that this ended up creeping me out rather more than a straightforward treatment of the same material would have.

The game clearly has aspirations to be the kind of semi-serious treatment of contemporary conflicts that we see in some movies, but it falls short because of the fact that... well... it's an action game pitched at a fairly low common denominator in terms of its player base. It's hard to square serious reflections on war with mowing down vast waves of infinitely respawning Taliban with a big machinegun. In fact, while I generally regard MoH as too silly to be offensive, the one area in which it does skirt close to crossing a line, I felt, was in portraying the Taliban as braindead grunts who charge in their hundreds into a hail of machinegun fire. That's seriously underestimating and trivialising the task that our actual armed forces have to do in Afghanistan.

Black Ops is a different kettle of fish entirely, in that it accepts its own ridiculousness from the outset. It's basically just a pastiche of cold war conspiracy theories and Boy's Own adventure stories which, despite some graphic content that's not for the squeamish, is unlikely to ever cross the line into actually offensive (well, apart from the whole Cuba issue, but I confess to having just found that funny). It put me in mind of the Roger Moore era James Bond movies; The Spy Who Loved Me and so on, mixed with some of the more famous scenes from Vietnam movies like The Deer Hunter and Full Metal Jacket.

I don't think it even aims for historical accuracy. Guns show up in the campaign that shouldn't have existed until years later. In the context of some of the howlers that Black Ops throws into the mix with gleeful abandon, I don't think that a few errors in the poster are really worth noting.

As a final note, I enjoyed Black Ops more than MoH (in so far as I enjoyed either, given how constrained the gameplay is). A cheerfully unrealistic game is always going to be more fun than a game which would like to be realistic but fails spectacularly. I think MoH presents a pretty good case that videogames aren't likely to be able to do serious treatments of current wars. But then, maybe it's just the genre? Would a suvival-horror based game, or a small-squad RTS (a la Dawn of War 2) have more luck?

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (4, Insightful)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316266)

I think MoH presents a pretty good case that videogames aren't likely to be able to do serious treatments of current wars. But then, maybe it's just the genre? Would a suvival-horror based game, or a small-squad RTS (a la Dawn of War 2) have more luck?

MoH can't be a serious treatment of a current war in the same way that Hollywood can no longer produce ground breaking cinema. They're both subject to a cookie cutter creation method that stifles any innovation that isn't purely technical. I can absolutely guarantee that there are games no one has ever heard of that do a spectacular job of talking about war. The problem is, no multi billion dollar corporation will ever produce them.

One of the many things capitalism has a vastly negative effect on is art, and if MoH is a good case for any argument, it's that one.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316316)

One of the many things capitalism has a vastly negative effect on is art,

Usually.

Art + Capitalism = a product or "brand".

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316500)

Art + Capitalism = a product or "brand".

The art corporations flog is not really art. It's production. Art captures something outside of the capitalist formula; something that is always edited out by corporations. Artists have a choice; sell your soul to the corporations, sell your soul to the devil, or paint flower pots (although it could be argued that painting flower pots is mark one for the devil). There hasn't been an artist to walk the Earth that chose to suffer in stride for his creation without personal sacrifice.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34319222)

Art + Capitalism = a product or "brand".

The art corporations flog is not really art. It's production. Art captures something outside of the capitalist formula; something that is always edited out by corporations. Artists have a choice; sell your soul to the corporations, sell your soul to the devil, or paint flower pots (although it could be argued that painting flower pots is mark one for the devil). There hasn't been an artist to walk the Earth that chose to suffer in stride for his creation without personal sacrifice.

Oh please. You're talking in absolutes, in black and white, as if the world really operates that way. That's a false dilemma.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34321270)

You mean to say that it is bad to ever pay for/charge for art?

Fuck, I better get the sandpaper and pulse laser out...

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

Skuto (171945) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316574)

>I can absolutely guarantee that there are games no one has ever heard of that do a spectacular job of talking about war.

And if you don't post links, they will remain unknown.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316800)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Days_in_Fallujah [wikipedia.org]

Six days in Fallujah was interesting as a serious attempt to portray a current war:

Quote:
"In an interview with Atomic Games president, Peter Tamte, he stated that "One of the divisions in our company was developing training tools for the United States Marine Corps, and they assigned some Marines from Third Battalion First Marines to help us out."[2] However, a few months into development, Third Battalion, First Marines was deployed in Iraq and participated in the Battle of Fallujah.[2] Tamte later stated that "When they came back from Fallujah, they asked us to create a videogame about their experiences there, and it seemed like the right thing to do."[2] Tamte further stated that the goal of Six Days in Fallujah is to create the most realistic military shooter possible, and that "Ultimately, all of us are curious about what it would really be like to be in a war. I've been playing military shooters for ages, and at a certain point when I'm playing the game, I know it's fake. You can tell a bunch of guys sat in a room and designed it. That's always bothered me.".[4] Tamte further elaborated in an interview with Joystiq that, "The words I would use to describe the game—first of all, it's compelling. And another word I use—insight. There are things that you can do in video games that you cannot do in other forms of media. And a lot of that has to do with presenting players with the dilemmas that the Marines saw in Fallujah and then giving them the choice of how to handle that dilemma. And I think at that point, you know - when you watch a movie, you see the decisions that somebody else made. But when you make a decision yourself, then you get a much deeper level of understanding.""

Sounds like an honest attempt to advance the medium, but it got killed off as soon as Fox news heard of it.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

sdgoat (789416) | more than 3 years ago | (#34318538)

One of the many things capitalism has a vastly negative effect on is art

You mean like the Renaissance artists? They didn't exactly work for free, and they didn't always get to choose the theme; "I would like a fresco of the last supper" When you do work, or a service, for a fee, and you market that service to the general public, and you are in competition with other people in the same trade...you suddenly have...capitalism! I'm not sure how capitalism has any effect on art good or bad. The good ones will always shine through. And they will still be producing art when the pay goes away, hence the 'starving artist' term. If you are talking about mass produced garbage, you don't need capitalism for that. The Soviet Union certainly pushed their agenda through art that was mass produced, and do you think that the artist were given much flexibility with the 'design' so to speak? Not sure if these are legit: http://funnytogo.com/pictures/ussr/propaganda-posters.htm [funnytogo.com]

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34318772)

One of the many things capitalism has a vastly negative effect on is art, and if MoH is a good case for any argument, it's that one.

Yep all that art before 16th/17th was much better. Damn, Capitalism. Everything besides works of Socialist Realism shouldn't even be considered art.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34319070)

I think MoH presents a pretty good case that videogames aren't likely to be able to do serious treatments of current wars. But then, maybe it's just the genre? Would a suvival-horror based game, or a small-squad RTS (a la Dawn of War 2) have more luck?

MoH can't be a serious treatment of a current war in the same way that Hollywood can no longer produce ground breaking cinema. They're both subject to a cookie cutter creation method that stifles any innovation that isn't purely technical. I can absolutely guarantee that there are games no one has ever heard of that do a spectacular job of talking about war. The problem is, no multi billion dollar corporation will ever produce them.

One of the many things capitalism has a vastly negative effect on is art, and if MoH is a good case for any argument, it's that one.

1. Jarhead
2. Metal Gear Solid

The most popular/profitable movies/games may be the cookie-cutter crap you're complaining about, but groundbreaking cinema and video games do exist (and even ones about war!). Capitalism has nothing to do with good art or bad art. That's a cultural issue. Most war movies, just like war video games, are not art. Most people who are in the market to immerse themselves in fictional warfare aren't interested in reflecting on greater issues. But for artsy weirdos such as myself, there are movies and games that take these things seriously. Just because they're not the most popular doesn't mean they don't and can't exist.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34319492)

Just because they're not the most popular doesn't mean they don't and can't exist.

I'm, um, glad we agree?

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34320042)

MoH can't be a serious treatment of a current war in the same way that Hollywood can no longer produce ground breaking cinema. They're both subject to a cookie cutter creation method that stifles any innovation that isn't purely technical.

I'm not a film expert, but "Inception" seemed both ground breaking and Hollywood.

I'm not a videogame expert (and didn't play MoH), but I think there are a number of innovations those "cookie cutter" created games you're talking about came up with. When playing through modern warfare 1 and 2, and black ops, I was impressed with the storytelling going on there. I don't think people who make FPS games have come up with a really good way of telling the story, most are shooting interspersed with movies. I've heard that criticism leveled against modern warfare and black ops, but I think they're less guilty of that than almost every other FPS. There are relatively few parts where you have no input. It's not revolutionary, but how many FPSes have been revolutionary in terms of narratives? Half life 1 and 2, and portal are all I can think of. Even fallout 3 and new vegas are basically "run and shoot things, talk to people, run and shoot more things."

They are very linear, which some people object to, but again, for FPS they're not bad. Anyway, if you're buying some of those games, you're not buying them for the campaign mode.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34320116)

Halflife was made by Valve, a very different company than EA. It's indie versus Hollywood there, and you picked them out as prime examples yourself.

As for Fallout, try the first two, or Planescape Torment. Those are ground breaking storytelling. I haven't played Medal of Honor either, but there is absolutely no way it could possibly compare. None.

I haven't seen Inception, in fact I've seen no new movies in the theater since my son was born, so my negative talk against Hollywood may be a bit stale, it's possible. But not likely.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34321738)

Valve is hardly indie. If Valve is indie, then who does that leave? EA and Activision as the only two companies who don't count as indie?

The first two fallouts were not FPS.

I haven't seen Inception, in fact I've seen no new movies in the theater since my son was born, so my negative talk against Hollywood may be a bit stale, it's possible. But not likely.

That sounds a little illogical there, don't you think? You say Hollywood can't make fresh movies these days, I bring up a recent fresh movie, and you say you don't watch movies anymore but you're probably still right?

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323406)

I'm not a film expert, but "Inception" seemed both ground breaking and Hollywood.

In what way was Inception 'groundbreaking'? It was navel-gazing dreck with zero memorable characters. The dreamworlds weren't even that nice to look at; in fact, one of them may as well have been someone playing Call of Duty. In fact, I would have rather watched someone play Call of Duty than watch cardboard characters get shot and 'die' within a dream within a dream within a dream...or did they? Ooh man, that's like, soooo deep!

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34325346)

Okay, so you didn't like it, but that doesn't disqualify it from being "groundbreaking."

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34338158)

Hollywood can no longer produce ground breaking cinema

A lot of people will be saying very similar thing when comparing present Hollywood movies (or games) to what they will have in few decades.

There was always lots of crap. It's just not remembered because it was...crap. And there's quite a few good things made, enough for "old times were better".

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (-1, Offtopic)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316290)

"conspiracy theories and Boy's Own adventure stories which, despite some graphic content"
Was the airport shooting a nod to deep cover ie Omagh bombing/ proceed to protect the identity of a key informant?
Then you have the "good guy" torture aspect of Black ops. A message to the next generation ... conditioning for when they are at the front?

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34317224)

I see you're well into the conspiracy theory department yourself...

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316346)

In fact, while I generally regard MoH as too silly to be offensive, the one area in which it does skirt close to crossing a line, I felt, was in portraying the Taliban as braindead grunts who charge in their hundreds into a hail of machinegun fire. That's seriously underestimating and trivialising the task that our actual armed forces have to do in Afghanistan.

This is the result of the "taste" treatement. The original complain was that portraing the Taliban as human being would, in turn, picture the occupation forces as murderer. Which is exactly what war is about. This is fine, i am not going to debate againts war here. By spreading all that FUD, they wanted to control the message in the name of taste or respect; It is good to kill peoples if they are braindead grunts(see zombies), it is good to kill Taliban.

Good marketing too. Ride of the fake controversy(a dozen twits with moral complains could easely be ignored) and delivery the same old first person shoter again.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

Skuto (171945) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316558)

>I felt, was in portraying the Taliban as braindead grunts who charge in their hundreds into a hail of machinegun fire. That's seriously underestimating and
>trivialising the task that our actual armed forces have to do in Afghanistan.

Having played it, I wouldn't say that MoH is "trivialising the task". More like the contrary, the US gets its ass kicked.

And the American politicians get an even worse treatment in MoH, but then again, maybe that is the realism and the *real* reason they're outraged at the game :-)

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316614)

> the one area in which it does skirt close to crossing a line, I felt, was in portraying the Taliban as braindead grunts who charge in their hundreds into a hail of machinegun fire. That's seriously underestimating and trivialising the task that our actual armed forces have to do in Afghanistan.

I find it interesting how you take that as a possible insult on the US forces, instead of a severe underestimation and misrepresentation of an opponent that has kept the US forces busy for a decade now.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316640)

It's both. If the opponent is that dumb, then why has it taken a decade?

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34320650)

Excellent at hide & seek

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34338186)

Good thing we don't use stealth and camouflage.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (2, Insightful)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316818)

I played the campaign because I like to sit in my couch and shoot stuff. That's why we buy video games, nothing more, nothing less.

Not all games are about shooting stuff ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34316898)

There are other video games, not every game is about shooting. There is usually some killing involved, but if I recall correctly I have not played anything that had a gun in it for ages. I prefer a good old fashioned side scrolling jump'n'run or an adventure, RPG, puzzle or maybe even strategy game (although strategy does not really do anything for me besides eating up my time) over a first person shooter any day.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (2, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34317160)

"It's hard to square serious reflections on war with mowing down vast waves of infinitely respawning Taliban with a big machinegun."

This is true, but on the same note, one of the things that ruined Black Ops for me was the fact that even in as a comical portrayal of the cold war the AI was just so bad it wasn't even fun- not only did it have the infinitely respawning hoardes mechanic, but your AI and their AI would just run right past each other literally bumping into each other without so much as flinching because the AI was possessed into pursuing the mission, and the enemy AI was possessed into pursuing you even though it hadn't yet seen you. That's before you factor in situations where the AI is firing at you a split second before you're even visible, such that on Veteran it's insta-death if you so much as turn the corner. This kind of AI as seen in Black Ops is the kind I'd expect to see from a high school AI project, not from what's now seen as the largest AAA release of the year by a major studio.

For me MoH was the better game, it wasn't a serious portrayal of course, but it had the more mature, consistent storyline, it had far superior graphics throughout, the AI was at least passable. Black Ops was just a joke, bar the jungle levels the levels looked rather dated- especially Cuba, the storyline was terrible, the AI was horrendous, and Veteran difficulty, whilst I completed it as I have with every CoD, was just mind numbing rather than a fun challenge.

For me CoD peaked with CoD4: Modern Warfare, since then it's got progressively worse, CoD5: WaW was pretty good but not quite MW, and MW2 was pretty poor (nuclear weapons in multiplayer, really? what 5 year old did they bring in to think that one up?), Black Ops is really the bottom of the pit for the series so far, compared to MW2 even the multiplayer looks to be severely lacking.

MoH was at least a refreshing change in that the game modes in multiplayer, particularly Combat Mission was a nice addition over CoD's tired old skilless spray and prey fest, which is fun sometimes, but gets dull. The singleplayer graphics, playability, and storyline, was at least on par with CoD5: WaW but was certainly no MW that's true.

If anything my complaint with MoH is simply that there wasn't enough of it, there just wasn't enough content- the campaign was done in 5 hours, and the Combat Mission multiplayer mode had a miserable 3 maps only. At least with Black Ops you get a fuck ton of content I suppose, but it's the first time a CoD game has come out and rather than being hooked on the multiplayer constantly post-campaign I'm now busy playing games like Assassins Creed: Brotherhood and fucking around with EA's Create. MoH at least had me hooked to multiplayer for a few weeks, Black Ops I gave it a couple of evening's worth and just haven't wasted my time with it's monotony since. It's a shame, I think Activision's CoD studios know it's a guaranteed money spinner either way now, and just don't even bother to try hard anymore like they clearly did with MW and WaW.

Here's hoping EA doesn't give up on the new style MoH franchise after one try and continues to build it up, if they improve it and CoD continues to decline they may well be producing their own MW quality game and giving Activision a reason to care about game quality again rather than rush shit out for the sake of getting their yearly release out there.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34317232)

I don't get it... people actually purchase MoH thinking it's not just another iteration of Quake? Any reviews or videos should have made that abundantly clear. It seems that a lot of people fell for the advertising hype surrounding the game.

It feels like another repeat of 2003. At that time, Operation Flashpoint was little known in America, but it kicked the pants off crap games like Battlefield. ARMA2 is significantly ahead of the current generation shooters, and it will probably stay that way for the next 2 years.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (0, Offtopic)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34317304)

What's funny is a lot of Cubans don't care for Castro either, they're just not allowed to say anything about it in a communist country. So they sneak into the Florida Keys every other night so they can talk smack on him.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34317578)

which guns might those be? admittedly, some (like the enfield) were still in their prototype/trialing stages during the games plot, but other than that.... I was actually kind of impressed that in the vietnam scenes the m16s were actually full auto.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329322)

I have been reading Slashdot for many years now and this is the most insightful and on-topic first post I have ever seen. It's well-balanced and expresses your opinion thoughtfully and clearly.

Quite obviously it is the end of days, for this is surely one of the signs of the apocalypse.

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

shnull (1359843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34333968)

i'm getting more and more convinced slashdot is THE place where people with too much brains for their job gather to alleviate the boring dull of everyday. all the more power to you :) but ur probably right, medal of honour and cod waw is pretty linear stuff, i'm holding out for battlefield vietnam, bad company 2 had a lot of lol in it

Re:Random thoughts on those two games (1)

Samfer (1944748) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349076)

lol no kidding. This guy should really check out Operation Reality [operationreality.org] if he wants to review a proper military simulator and not some ridiculous arcade shooter with way too many cut scenes and hollywood special effects!

Need more article links to balance this out. (3, Informative)

naz404 (1282810) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316248)

Summary doesn't mention that 3rd TFA says that Hammersmith just wrote a book about his experiences and is looking at gamers as a target audience and that the other article link is about a young gamer middle east veteran who was involved in the COD: Black Ops game production.

What a one-sided post. :-/

ugh...this crap again? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316286)

Say it with me now:

It's. A. Video. Game.

The moment the line blurs for someone between reality and video game is when we need to start worrying. I wonder...why is it that people who don't play them can't seem to tell the difference? /strawman

Re:ugh...this crap again? (1)

IronSight (1925612) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316362)

I wonder if these people ever pitched a fit when you got to play nazi's in return to castle wolfenstein in multiplayer, or Playing is Viet Cong in Battlefield Vietnam, or terrorists planting bombs and taking hostages in counter-strike? Well, actually, now thinking about it, wolfenstein was banned in germany (tell me if I'm wrong). If I was the MoH guys, I wouldn't have changed a damn thing. The people complaining aren't the ones even buying the game anyway and freedom of speech/expression might actually apply here. Some people just need a reason to complain.

Re:ugh...this crap again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34316426)

Wolfenstein wasn't specifically banned for the reasons you mentioned. IIRC, the game was edited to take all the swastikas out and then released

Re:ugh...this crap again? (1)

klingens (147173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316456)

Return to Castle Wolfenstein was not banned. Wolfenstein 3D was banned for showing swastikas. Playing as Nazi is fine, mowing down people is fine (as long as they have green blood), swastikas and other national-socialist signs and symbols are not.

Re:ugh...this crap again? (2, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316462)

It was banned because of the Nazi symbols, which are prohibited in German law, which was instituted by the Allied occupant [www.ena.lu] forces right after WWII.

In Wolfenstein:ET you could play German soldiers but it wasn't banned, because they use a different flag (although there were mods to put the Nazi flag instead).

Re:ugh...this crap again? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#34320566)

Which is ridiculous that some people [still] get their panties in a knot over a _virtual_ image.

Why are textbooks allowed to factually have historical accurate flags, yet a different medium is somehow "offensive" ??

Political Censorship ^H^H^H Correctnes is for pansies.

Re:ugh...this crap again? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34321568)

The point was to prevent revivalist groups. Nazi ideology is not dead in Europe, not by a long shot.
It probably revived some cruel memories too in survivors of the holocaust.

You may not agree with the ban, but claiming it's just "political correctness" is ignorant and insensitive. This wasn't a ban because it conflicted with an outdated and misogynist moral code, it's a symbol of an extremely recent event which killed over 60 million people.

Re:ugh...this crap again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34317208)

It's just a bunch of butthurt from 9/11.

Get over it already.

Re:ugh...this crap again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34316488)

They don't care about how it actually is; they are trying to shape the public understanding by claiming otherwise. It encourages uninterested people to listen to the promoter, and disregard the views of players, while discouraging them from experience games themselves as some sort of unreality contagion. Perception is reality when it comes to political economy. Any group can become a convenient scapegoat for social problem X.

I'm still waiting for the CSI episode (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316382)

Wherein the coroner announces "C.O.D.: B.O."

Bad guys and good guys (4, Interesting)

Nichotin (794369) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316424)

This is Hollywood. This is entertainment. There has to be a bad guy if there's going to be a good guy. It's that simple.

Is it? I just saw the Chan-wook Park movie Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. It is a South Korean thriller movie. The main person are a deaf guy and his sister, who abducts a child who later dies in their custody. A lot of the movie is about the father, who seeks a very gruesome revenge. The main characters are certainly not good guys, and the way the father seeks revenge does not make him one either. This was very different from the good guy-bad guy-movies that I have seen from Hollywood, and is one of the few movies that have managed to stir up some strong feelings inside me while watching. All in all a very different movie (seen from a western perspective, I come from Norway). This is a movie, not a videogame, but I think the same could apply to a video game. The whole good guy-bad guy-thing should not be written in stone, and perhaps many game developers should think of new dynamics instead of having a very clearly defined good guy (often played by you) and clearly defined bad guys.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34316674)

A) That movie pretty much sucked.
B) You're fucking retarded.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (1)

Tranzistors (1180307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316742)

In your example, you talk about all being bad guys, but the rule is "There has to be a bad guy if there's going to be a good guy." Know any example of everybody being good guys?
I guess it is bit difficult to find such example, because then it would just be a film about normal people.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (1)

Skuto (171945) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316846)

>In your example, you talk about all being bad guys, but the rule is "There has to be a bad guy if there's going to be a good guy." Know any example of
>everybody being good guys?
>I guess it is bit difficult to find such example, because then it would just be a film about normal people.

They (=woman) call it a "romantic movie".

This being /. it's not surprising the concept is unheard of.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (1)

Tranzistors (1180307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34317238)

They (=woman) call it a "romantic movie".

Point almost taken. But still, these movies have non-nice persons. For example in Bridget Jones's Diary one of the main characters is clearly an ass. In Pretty Woman, the good guy has its moments of being an ass.

I am not saying it is not possible, it is just much more simple. To be "good" there have to be something to be "good" against. One can be good compared with other characters (good guy, bad guy). Or good against circumstances. But those are rare things.

.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (3, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34317316)

In your example, you talk about all being bad guys, but the rule is "There has to be a bad guy if there's going to be a good guy." Know any example of everybody being good guys?

Most porn movies. Many medical dramas. Survival drama : shipwreck (eg Cast Away, Perfect Storm), space wreck (Apollo 13). Rom-com (Sleepless in Seattle -- continuing the Tom Hanks theme). Biopics of explorers, artists, musicians, teachers, nuns ... I could go on.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (2, Insightful)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34318810)

There are always antagonists. These aren't always people, but there is always something that the protagonists are set against. That's what makes a compelling narrative. i.e. Tom Hanks vs. abandonment, isolation, and loneliness (respectively).

A narrative can exist without a "bad guy" embodied by a person. But stories need an antagonist. Otherwise there is action and thus no story to tell. Biopics and adult films fill separate niches that happen to use the same medium.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34320142)

A narrative can exist without a "bad guy" embodied by a person. But stories need an antagonist.

Your point is exactly the same as mine, only I gave examples, you generalities. All we need now is a car analogy to wrap it up.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323838)

Who or what is the antagonist in The Big Lebowski? The dude does not hate anyone, takes life for what it is, goes with the flow. And since he is a likable character and many viewers are able to relate to him (cough, cough), he is definitely a "good guy". So where is the "bad guy"? There are many stories like that, some quite old; many of them are of episodic, comical, or satirical character. Parables (Jewish, Christian, Taoist, Buddhist, you name it) are extremely compelling narratives, but they often choose to mess with your head when describing human actions, the whole point being to teach you good and bad. Or take some of the funniest shit ever written: Gargantua and Pantagruel and The Good Soldier Svejk, or A Confederacy of Dunces if you want something recent and American. In each book, chances are good that you will either love or hate every character, instead of attaching yourself to a single one as you watch him struggle against an antagonist. Instead of Star Wars- or Tolkien-like contrast many stories feature a cast of multifaceted characters and let the reader decide who is good, who is bad, and who they don't care about.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34324594)

Castaway, perfect storm and Apollo 13 all had 'bad guys', that just weren't made out that bad.

Castaway just had 'bad people' at the end. Apollo 13 had gross negligence shown in several places on the ground, but these are both arguable and probably just based on my particular viewpoint. Both of them shared mechanical failure as 'the bad guy'

Perfect Storm on the other hand had a very clear bad guy, the boat owner who drove them to go back out and fish more. Of course, you could always say 'the storm' was the bad guy, which it clearly was as well.

Most porn movies have bad GUYs, you know, the guy who treats the girl like shit by gagging her and blowing his load all over her face, then pounding her in the ass until she bleeds? I realize that you don't actually have sex outside of jerking off to porn, but most chicks really aren't getting off by having a face full of sperm or a bleeding ass.

Without conflict most things are rather pointless, especially movies and games, its just variations on who/what the bad guy is, even if you don't recognize it.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34326314)

Castaway, perfect storm and Apollo 13 all had 'bad guys', that just weren't made out that bad.

They weren't "bad" , so they weren't "bad guys".

You're saying if someone made a mistake, that makes them a "bad guy"??? I guess if you are determined to force every movie into your mold, then you have to make silly definitions like that.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (2, Informative)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34318588)

Know any example of everybody being good guys?

The movie '1968 Tunnel Rats' was pretty good in that aspect, portraying both sides of the war, without having either one as the bad guys. Just normal people killing each other.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34316886)

This is Hollywood. This is entertainment. There has to be a bad guy if there's going to be a good guy. It's that simple.

Is it? I just saw the Chan-wook Park movie Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. It is a South Korean thriller movie.

South Korean is not Hollywood.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (1)

Ross D Anderson (1020653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34317486)

This.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 3 years ago | (#34318558)

It's okay. Most americans seem to think it's just a suburb in LA.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34317596)

He said, and you even quoted, "There has to be a bad guy if there's going to be a good guy." That doesn't mean there is always a good guy and a bad guy.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (1)

bm_luethke (253362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34317878)

Different mediums *and* different settings. In a movie or book you are an observer, in a game you are a participant and those each have a different set of rules as to what makes them fun or enjoyable.

I suspect that a video game where you can play either the Serbs or Croats in the Bosnian conflict wouldn't be very fun or comfortable to play - there is no "bad guy" so why would I want to go shoot the other side? It may very well (and if done well certainly would) make an interesting passive form of entertainment, but in an active medium not so much. You can even have one side not really be good (say, for instance, the Protoss in the first StartCraft) but not really be evil as long as you have "Bad Guys" driving the story line.

Further being a war based game if the game gives some type of motivation (the mroe or less random shooting games where you are simply tryin to blow everything up do not really count) then it needs that "bad guy" element even more. Heck you can even play the bad guys just fine - they just have to have someone they consider the enemy and really be different. You *can* make a fun game from the Taliban's point of view if one wished it. It may be in poor taste to do so, but in the end most westerners would probably come out of the experience disliking them even more.

For an active entertainment medium you *have* to have some motivation for your character to achieve its goals. Ambiguous to an external observer (you being the external observer) just leaves mot people running around not really doing anything - after all why do you care about achieving an ambiguous plot? Its not just a matter of "rethinking it" as the medium itself doesn't lend itself well to that type of story. The closest you will get is something along the line of the first Deus Ex where your initial missions make you do some uncomfortable things and you later find out you were the "bad guy" - you still have the "bad guy" driving the plot at each stage but you do get some of the ambiguity of the participants in there (you certainly feel sorry for all those "terrorists" you went out of your way to kill earlier).

Re:Bad guys and good guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34317994)

I think you missed the part where he said "This is Hollywood." I wasn't aware the Hollywood is located in South Korea.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (1)

McDozer (1460341) | more than 3 years ago | (#34318222)

Excellent film! That film is actually part of a trilogy and they are all great films.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (1)

rakuen (1230808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34318464)

It's actually a problem of audience expectations. We actually have media with this dynamic a lot, they use anti-heroes. You know, protagonists who are morally questionable. The problem is we want to see the hero, regardless of his actions, and so we rationalize it in our heads that what he's doing is okay. Oftentimes, the anti-hero's actions can be brutal, occasionally moreso than the antagonist.

For two really good examples of this, take a look at the anime Death Note and Code Geass. Both place the camera behind "protagonists" who are downright insane at times. Shoot, Kira loses his damn mind in the first episode. They kill and manipulate with reckless abandon. Nothing is as important as their self-righteous goal. And yet, a lot of people still want them to win because they're the protagonist. It's alright as long as they're the main character.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#34320496)

A great movie that is very similar to this is called "Payback" which stars Mel Gibson. I HIGHLY recommend it. Not a good person in the entire movie.

Re:Bad guys and good guys (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34320836)

Go back and re-read the sentence you quoted. "There has to be a bad guy if there's going to be a good guy." I agree with that, and you haven't disproven it. You disproved "There has to be a good guy if there's going to be a bad guy," which is NOT what he said.

Wait... So let me get this straight (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34316484)

Creating a series of games where you star as a member of an invading army in a war of dubious legality mowing down hordes of brown people is not offensive to anyone.

Having a level in said game that allows you to play as aforementioned brown person is however completely indefensible.

That's the story according to our "free and unbiased" media. This level of adherance to state/miliary propaganda doctrine is normally only achievable through extreme violence. Seriously, the media coverage on this "controversy" is stuff that pravda would have been proud of.

Re:Wait... So let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34317824)

Seriously. What the fuck happened to this country? Was it WWII, or did the jingoism and personality aggression start even before then? I've noticed my grandfather, who survived through the war, hasn't been immune from its effects, though to a lesser extent than most other people - and he's a goddamn pacifist.

Re:Wait... So let me get this straight (1)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34318014)

Started before. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Wait... So let me get this straight (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337942)

Manifest Destiny and overall earlier treatment of Native Americans or imported Africans don't count?

Completely artificial controversy (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316656)

I am deeply surprised that EA caved in to the hollering that their game contained Taliban fighters. So fucking what? In a multiplayer match game, some people have to play the enemy. That's the case regardless of the game being set in WWII, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq or wherever. They should have stuck to their guns and left things the way they were. Or mocked the whole thing by including unlockable enemy skins - marshmallow men, hippies, Nazis etc. to highlight how ridiculous the "controversy" was.

Re:Completely artificial controversy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34316954)

I think you may have missed the point.

While the controversy is exaderated (EA has every right to make a game about the war). The legitimate concern is that choosing an enemy from recent memory (heck I'm 24 and at the start of the war i was just a couple years to young to enlist). There are a lot of people out there in the presumed target market (18-30 year old males) for that game for whom the Taliban isn't some generic bad guy but rather the group who they or someone they loved actually had to go over seas fight, and kill or be killed by.

As such it my simply be bad buisness (and an ovesight on the part of the designers) for EA to produce a game while ignoring the portion of their target market for whom the war they chose to represent may be too close to home. Their responce was likely something of a "Oh crap, we're not pissing of peopel who wouldn't have bought the game anyway this time, we're also pissing off our customers. Quickely how can we appease them without scrapping all the expencive work we put into the game so far?"

Re:Completely artificial controversy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34317418)

My Grandfather was killed by the Germans.

Re:Completely artificial controversy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34317732)

Not in the war. They just didn't like him.

Re:Completely artificial controversy (1)

zeroshade (1801584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34320946)

Considering the solution was to simply change the name, not the look or the skins or any of the graphics, just the name and this appeased everyone who was complaining. It seems that the idea of "hitting too close to home" is just bull shit. If you were offended or traumatized and it hit too close to home for people who are not you, not related to you, and who you don't know to play as the Taliban then how would simply changing the name be any different if it's still a brown guy in a turban (for example) who you are playing as? Answer: It's not.

Re:Completely artificial controversy (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#34317722)

The problem is that the controversy was getting so bad that some retailers were considering taking it off the shelves. If the game can't be sold, it's time to cave to controversy.

Re:Completely artificial controversy (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34318978)

Unfortunately you are right. And I find it somewhat disappointing that this is so true for video games but less true for other mediums.

Controversial books see sales boosted because of their controversy. Same with films to some extent. Games lack that level of protection that we offer to mediums we consider "art", and are forced to buckle to criticism like this. Maybe it's because the industry is driven by the retailers, I don't really know. I expect that we will not see games progress as a storytelling medium unless/until retailers, publishers, and developers are willing to take stand by their controversial material.

Re:Completely artificial controversy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34320592)

My question is if the game is that "controversial," who isn't going to buy it? All the MoH, CoD FPS shooters I know could care less... They'd buy it anyways.

Re:Completely artificial controversy (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34318694)

That's the case regardless of the game being set in WWII, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq or wherever.

You can have both sides play the good guys, but each of them seeing the other side as the bad guys. Americans Army did that or so I heard, I haven't played it myself.

They should have stuck to their guns and left things the way they were.

That whole thing looked like a publicity stunt from the start. Controversy and their "resolution" puts you in the news, thats plenty of good payoff for changing a handful of letters in your game.

Re:Completely artificial controversy (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328848)

You can have both sides play the good guys, but each of them seeing the other side as the bad guys. Americans Army did that or so I heard, I haven't played it myself.

That might be possible if both sides were identically equipped on symmetric style maps. It doesn't make much sense if you want to deck out one side with different weaponry than the other. E.g. Battlefield Vietnam has different weapons and vehicles depending on the side you're on.

Really, if they don't want to risk offending anyone they should stick with imaginary wars between alien races or something. The minute they try creating history, the least they can do is get the protagonists right and tell the critics to go to hell.

404 (1)

defaria (741527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34316670)

I click on the link and all I get is 404. Ever think about caching this shit! Geeze.

The real Taliban smell a lot worse (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34317110)

Any simulator that wants to account for what real military life needs to include hour after hour of punishing boredom and tedium at some shithole base, living in 100 degree weather with no showers and nothing to do--broken up occasionally by several minutes of intense fear, where your life is at stake--then followed by several more days of mind-numbing boredom in a hellish environment.

Re:The real Taliban smell a lot worse (1)

inerlogic (695302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34317322)

amen

Re:The real Taliban smell a lot worse (1)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34317382)

... to include hour after hour of punishing boredom and tedium at some shithole base, .

You seem to have mistakenly posted in the combat sim story. The wow/simms online story is over there...

Re:The real Taliban smell a lot worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34317558)

Military simulation games try to simulate the combat environment, just like how flight simulators focus on aerodynamics and flight mechanics. With that said, the only consumer-available game I've used that remotely qualifies as a simulator is VBS. OFP, ARMA(2), RO, and AA are nice but they aren't fully there yet. Calling CoD or MoH a simulator is a fucking shame and the submitter should feel embarrassed.

Re:The real Taliban smell a lot worse (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34321010)

Don't forget the never ending rumble of generators.. like being surrounded by lawnmowers running 24/7.

How's about a real Rainbow 6 game? (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34319284)

Would be nice to get a real Rainbow 6 game again, none of this Vegas crap. Good old fashioned Rogue Spear type game. The map is prepopulated with enemies, you can approach your objective any way you want, and your team can get themselves killed and taken out of future missions at any time. Too bad devs cater to the ADD-riddled Xbox generation these days

"Good guys" and "bad guys"? wtf?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323538)

It's a war, there are no good guys and bad guys. There's 2 sides. Side A invades and wants to kill side B. Side B wants to kill side A back. The people from side A are convinced that their side is the "good guys", and the people from side B are just as convinced that side A are the bad guys. None of you can see this, but this is how it works, and that is why this whole discussion is stupid and makes no sense. Where is the opinion of the widows of taliban soldiers on this game? or the taliban vets?

pfff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348904)

I would love to hear this guys review on Operation Reality [operationreality.org] . He should take part in some of their "role playing" milsim missions! Would make for a funny review of a REAL milsim and not some run and gun "cinematic shooter"! :P

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