No backing down as Fox takes on 'un-British' video game

Fox: 'I am disgusted and angry'
Fox: 'I am disgusted and angry'

By politics.co.uk staff

Liam Fox has refused to back down in his fight against an upcoming war-themed video game which allows players to control a Taliban fighter.

The defence secretary launched into an angry tirade against the new Medal of Honour video game over the weekend, branding it "un-British" and "disgusting".

The new game, which allows the player to take the role of either a coalition forces or Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, has already prompted anger in the United States and is set to prompt further controversy when it is released here in October.


By Comment: Liam Fox needs to play more video games

"It is shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban," Dr Fox told the Sunday Times over the weekend.

"I am disgusted and angry. It's hard to believe that 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."

His spokesperson insisted he stood by the comments today, saying: "The point remains that part of this game allows you to play the part of the Taliban attacking ISAF troops in the area of central Helmand where British troops are operating."

But Amanda Taggart, a spokeswoman for Electronic Arts (EA), said the Taleban role was an innate part of the game's multiplayer format.

"The format of the new Medal of Honour game merely reflects the fact that every conflict has two sides," she said.

"We give gamers the opportunity to play both sides. Most of us have been doing this since we were seven: someone plays cop, someone must be robber.

"In Medal of Honour multiplayer, someone's got to be the Taliban. Nobody who plays video games is going to be shocked or surprised by this."

An EA spokesperson insisted you could not kill British troops in the game, and that none even featured in it.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport distanced itself from the row today, saying Dr Fox was expressing a personal view.

"Dr Fox was expressing a personal view and we understand why some people might find the subject matter of the game offensive," a spokesperson told the BBC.

"There is a ratings system in place which exists to categorise games appropriately. In this case, the game in question is rated 18 so should only be sold to, and played by, adults.

"There is a clear choice for consumers which they can exercise when making decisions about purchasing video games."

The controversy follows the release of Call of Duty-Modern warfare 2 last year, in which the player had the option of shooting crowds of civilians at an airport in order to retain their cover with a terrorist group.

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