Defence secretary in the UK Liam Fox got in a tizz in the Sunday Times published, er, Sunday about EA’s upcoming shoot-them-in-the-face-fest Medal of Honor [sic] claiming it is “un-British” because players will be able to pick up guns and play on the side of the Taliban, shooting at British soldiers.
He said in the paper that it is “shocking” someone would want to recreate shooting at British soldiers and have that game played and sold on British soil – calling for stockists to boycott Medal of Honor. Presumably out of context and not having played the scene – much like all the press hype surrounding Call of Duty’s “No Russian” stage in which players could shoot at unarmed civilians in an airport *if they wanted to* – Fox goes on to say: “I am disgusted and angry. It’s hard to believe a citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game.”
“At the hands of the Taliban, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands,” the kind of dreadful fate, of course, that the tame and friendly allied forces would never bestow on even the biggest enemies. Remember, it’s alright to simulate shooting guys in the face, as long as they’re not British.
EA has now responded to Fox, telling Eurogamer:
“Multiplayer combat is a long-standing, common and popular feature of videogames. In multiplayer, teams assume the identities of combatants on both sides of the conflict.
“Many popular videogames allow players to assume the identity of enemies including Nazis and terrorists. In the multiplayer levels of Medal of Honor, teams will assume the identity of both US forces and the Taliban.
“The Sunday Times story on Medal of Honor contains inaccuracies. For one, Medal of Honor does not allow players to kill British soldiers. British troops do not feature in the game.”
So as usual with pre-release videogame hysteria, it’s a mountain out of a mole hill. To keep Liam Fox happy, we’re suggesting some thoroughly British videogames:
Shenmue: Okay it’s set in China. But you can play through this game very Britishly – rather than venture outside of your house, just walk around it for hours and hours, looking at the calendar, your watch, opening draws, tidying up. Later on you can drive a forklift. You can even check out Soho, kind of:
Tekken: Not an obvious candidate, but it’s easy to recreate the thoroughly British excitement of watching Jedward perform at last year’s X Factor. Jedward are Irish, but the Britishest of the British will argue that Ireland is Britain too, along with North America, India, Australia… Simply start a two player game with a friend and make sure you both select Paul Phoenix. Instead of fighting, jump up and down for hours on end until your head hurts.
Championship Manager (any version): It says something about Britain when legions and legions of people would rather look at stats and menus on a screen and pretend they’re in charge of Blackburn FC instead of actually, er, playing anything. Very British! Except for the footballers who are all foreign.
Second Life: Relive your favourite Jeremy Kyle reruns by staging a virtual affair with a couple who takes it all very, very seriously and watch their e-marriage fall apart.
Lumines: It’s the Hacienda and it’s the late eighties! There are colours and bizarre shapes flying at your face and you’re confused about what to do next. A spot of modern British nostalgia for anyone on the Madchester scene.
Grand Theft Auto series: GTA may seem like a series heavily steeped in Americana, but for an authentic un-unBritish playing experience all you need is a little creativity. Dress your guy in an ill fitting grey or pinstripe suit and walk your character very quickly to the nearest train station making sure to push over anyone slowly meandering in your way. When you arrive at the train station, board it. Go get your iPod and listen to some music, mute the telly and sit on the train for between half an hour and an hour and a half. Alternatively beat up strangers and pretend you’re in Croydon.
Batman: Arkham Asylum: It’s dark, grey and it is rainy.