Marine dislikes MOH Afghanistan depiction

"It equates war with the leisure of games."

Games can never replicate an actual war and EA has created misconceptions by claiming Medal of Honor does, former US Marine Corps infantryman and Iraq veteran Benjamin Busch has argued.

"I honestly don't like that Medal of Honor depicts the war in Afghanistan right now, because - even as fiction - it equates the war with the leisure of games," he wrote on the NPR website.

"Playing and risking your life are different things. In the video war, there may be some manipulation of anxiety, some adrenaline to the heart, but absolutely nothing is at stake.

"Imagine how frustrating this game would be if, just as you began to play it, an invisible sniper shot you dead every time," he added. "The game would not be popular, because being killed that way isn't fair - just like war. Reality has a way of correcting misconceptions."

If only real soldiers could "stop the war and rest", he rued - then the constant dread of a bullet to the head could be relieved. "A videogame can produce no wounds and take no friends away," Busch reasoned.

Nevertheless, he accepts that a videogame can neither train players to be skilled special operations soldiers, "nor is it likely to lure anyone into Islamic fundamentalism". "What it does do is make modern war into participatory cinema," he said. "That is its business."

And while the games of Busch's youth were "more innocent" than those of today, so were "films, news and books". "There is a truth common to all, and that is that playing war in any medium is not combat, and for a gamer, it's not even political," he stated.

"It's just sedentary adventurism in need of a subject."

In reality, there are two ways out of Afghanistan according to Busch: "wounds or luck". Proficiency only plays a tiny part - and playing games won't "protect or endanger" either soldiers or governments.

"For those who truly want to play for a Medal of Honor, recruiters are standing by. Only eight have been awarded since we invaded Afghanistan," he closed. "All but one have been posthumous."

Medal of Honor will be released this Friday for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Eurogamer's review will be published at 12pm today.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer  |  Clert

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.


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