By Gene Davis, DENVER DAILY NEWS
Former Republican Congressman and former gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis stepped back into the spotlight yesterday with a co-authored letter blasting a new video game that lets people play as the Taliban and kill U.S. troops.
In the letter, McInnis and Bentley Rayburn, a retired U.S. Air Force General, ask the Colorado Retailers Association to urge all member retail outlets to not carry the latest “Medal of Honor” video game. McInnis and Rayburn believe the game, which is being put out by Electronic Arts (EA), is “an offensive and vulgar product” that shouldn’t be sold because it allows gamers to play as the Taliban for the multiplayer part of the game.
“This is a complete disgrace, and out of respect to our troops no retailer in Colorado should sell it,” says the letter.
Meanwhile, Colorado Retail Council (CRC) President Christopher Howes said that the nonprofit could potentially violate federal antitrust laws if it called for its members to boycott a particular product.
“We respect the First Amendment rights of video game publishers and other entertainment companies, as well as the rights of each retailer to make a determination, based on its own analysis, whether to carry a particular product on its shelves,” Howes said in an e-mail.
Regardless of the opposition, the newest “Medal of Honor” is poised to be a big success. EA recently announced that “Medal of Honor” hit a new franchise record with the number of pre-sell copies people have bought. The milestone positions “Medal of Honor” alongside EA’s top pre-selling games, and there is still plenty of time remaining until the game hits retail shelves on Oct. 12, according the game company.
“Medal of Honor” is a reboot of the first-person shooter franchise and introduces players to the Tier 1 Operator, an elite warrior in the U.S. military who takes on missions “no one else can handle.” The game has been riding a wave of hype, with GameSpy awarding the title “Best Multiplayer of E3 2010.”
Adam Harpold, manager of GameStop, 757 E. 20th Ave., thinks it’s “relatively stupid” that people are taking issue with “Medal of Honor” because it’s just a video game. He said that games such as the wartime simulator strive for realism, and that anyone who doesn’t want their kid or themselves to play the mature-rated game shouldn’t buy it.
“For me, it’s meant to be a wartime simulation. If you dumb it down at all you’re just taking away from the overall effect,” he said. “That’s not something you want to do.”
But Denver-area Vietnam veteran Donald McNeely believes a line needs to be drawn somewhere and that it’s “unthinkable” to release a game allowing people to play as the Taliban. McInnis and Rayburn added in the letter that the Afghanistan-centered game being released as the Afghanistan war is still going on is “particularly offensive.”
“Officials of Electronic Arts Corporation should also rethink selling this video game,” they say in the letter. “In their quest for profit, can these officials look into the eyes of those who have lost loved ones serving our country in Afghanistan with a clear conscious? Where is the respect for our soldiers?”
For their part, U.S. military installations throughout the world have banned the game’s sale in their post and base exchanges.