Pakistan Bravely Fights Back Against Fictitious Plot In Video Game

from the just-a-game dept

It's becoming something of a trend for Pakistan to ban and/or boycott things it doesn't like. It should be noted, of course, that different cultures have different levels of sensitivity about different subjects, but that doesn't mean we can't point out where we think they've got things wrong. Banning YouTube, for instance, is a head in the sand approach that just won't work. Getting into the business of monitoring all of your citizen's communications with foreigners and banning encryption is even more chilling. And it isn't just the Pakistani government getting into the act, either. Recall that one of their citizens called for the death penalty on the founders of Facebook due to some contest a Facebook user ran. So, while I'm all for cultural sensitivity, it shouldn't be expected in arenas where that sensitivity is not reciprocated.

Which is why I feel comfortable laughing hysterically as some Pakistani shopkeepers are boycotting two video games because they don't like how the fictional plot line portrays Pakistan.
Both Medal of Honor: Warfighter and Call of Duty: Black Ops II are first-person shooter games, where players take on the persona of an American special forces agent and feature ultra realistic graphics. Terrorism and the role of local security forces are hugely sensitive subjects in Pakistan, which has barely recovered from the shock of discovering that Osama bin Laden was hiding in plain sight, barely 30 miles from the capital Islamabad.
I'll leave the politics aside here, but it takes a special kind of awesome to be in nearly un-recoverable shock that bin Laden was hiding in your country when most of the world's media was suggesting as much for something like a decade. That he hid so easily near the nation's capital in a complex that was just begging to be investigated at the very least opens up the door for creative interpretations for how that might have happened. And that's exactly what the two games in question offer up as a fictional plotline. For example:
The latest installment of the Medal of Honor series opens with American Navy Seals coming ashore in Karachi docks on a mission to destroy a black market arms shipment. But when their detonation sets off a second, bigger explosion they realise they have stumbled on a much bigger terrorist plot, sparking a global manhunt. A chaotic car chase through the city follows amid warnings that the ISI - Pakistan's intelligence agency - is on the way.

Mr Memon added there was a danger children would be brainwashed into thinking foreign agents were at war inside Karachi, possibly leading them into the arms of militants.
In other words, the game has a plot that involves Pakistani intelligence cooperating with terrorists. That's a possibility about as shocking as, oh, say bin Laden hiding a paper airplane's throw away from Pakistan's capital. But the point is that it's a fictional plot. Fighting against it is silly. You might as well outlaw the Narnia books, because wardrobe-makers are insulted that any of their products could transport folks to witch-infested worlds ruled by multi-syllabic lions. What possible explanation could Mr. Memon have for this call to boycott?
"These games show a misleading idea of what is happening in the city. You don't get the CIA all the way through Grand Theft Auto," he said.
Quite true. On the other hand, no American stores in New York, Vegas, or L.A. are calling for a boycott of the GTA games because their cities are shown to be infested with shotgun wielding caricatures of Western culture. Because it's fiction.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2013 @ 8:50am

    Someone needs to fill Greece in on this. They went beyond just boycotting to straight up imprisoning game developers as spies because they didn't want a wargame set in a ficticious Greek island.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jan 30th, 2013 @ 8:58am

    People have issues to separate what's fictional from reality. Ishihara and that moronic unicef branch in Japan are good examples. For them mangas about school girls lives is child porn.

    In any case, I'd say it's not only a matter of not distinguishing between fiction and reality. It's about intolerance. And if I might add, it's from both sides of the coin.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Jan 30th, 2013 @ 9:00am

    Same kind of News you'll get from the Islamic Countries.
    More Terrorism, Repression, Religious BS, and to end this Comment I will State:

    Backwards Mentality comparable in some ways to the Days of Church & State.
    And at the same time they got Modern Weapons to play out their Games.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2013 @ 9:08am

    ""These games show a misleading idea of what is happening in the city. You don't get the CIA all the way through Grand Theft Auto," he said."
    Uh, pretty sure the Feds make an appearance in various GTA games, doing various shady things.

    "People have issues to separate what's fictional from reality. Ishihara and that moronic unicef branch in Japan are good examples. For them mangas about school girls lives is child porn."
    He's not a good example for this; his attack on anime and manga is for the medium, not the content. Go take a look at some of his novels.

     

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      Starke (profile), Jan 30th, 2013 @ 11:37pm

      Re:

      Yeah, San Andreas has you working for either the CIA, or some covert ops spookworks at one point. GTA4 has some plotline with someone in the DoJ, though I never finished either game. I'm not sure about the rest of the series.

       

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    Joshua Bardwell (profile), Jan 30th, 2013 @ 9:08am

    In other news: different cultures find different things offensive, and respond to them in different ways. Like a bunch of morons signing a petition to have Piers Morgan deported. Or absolutely nobody in America carrying any games where the protagonist is a mujahideen.

     

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    Lord Binky, Jan 30th, 2013 @ 9:08am

    I find reality very misleading when I compare it to my imagination, which leads directly to the point reality needs to get it's ass in gear and start acting right.

     

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    Lord Binky, Jan 30th, 2013 @ 9:08am

    I find reality very misleading when I compare it to my imagination, which leads directly to the point reality needs to get it's ass in gear and start acting right.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    People of Pakistan have suffered enough humiliation from your American companies.

    People of Pakistan have suffered enough humiliation from American companies. We are enemies in your games. The prophet Muhammad(PBUH)ridiculed in your media and your internet. We do no have to tolerate your disrespect.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 30th, 2013 @ 9:44am

      Re: People of Pakistan have suffered enough humiliation from your American companies.

      "People of Pakistan have suffered enough humiliation from American companies. We are enemies in your games. The prophet Muhammad(PBUH)ridiculed in your media and your internet. We do no have to tolerate your disrespect."

      A couple of questions:

      1. How is one small sect of a nation's federal police force being portrayed as an enemy in a fictional game qualify as "humiliation"? I would suggest that it in fact does not.

      2. You are not enemies in all, or even most of our games. Your hyperbole will win you no converts.

      3. "The prophet Muhammad(PBUH)ridiculed in your media and your internet." Now this is just silly. America has bent over backwards to be as inoffensive as possible to your religion in particular, despite what that says about us as a free speaking nation. Your religion's intolerance for free speech in non-Muslim world's however, has some rather unfortunate trouble spots in its history. For example, see Salmon Rushdie. That said, it would be inappropriate to paint the entire religion with that extremist bunch, so I suggest you not do likewise with us if you want there to be tolerance between us.

      4. "We do no have to tolerate your disrespect." Of course you don't. But I don't have to tolerate your intolerance, either. That's how this whole free speech thing works. If your ideas had merit, they wouldn't need boycotts and censorship to find a foothold. Sadly....

       

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        Michael, Jan 30th, 2013 @ 11:32am

        Re: Re: People of Pakistan have suffered enough humiliation from your American companies.

        1. How is one small sect of a nation's federal police force being portrayed as an enemy in a fictional game qualify as "humiliation"? I would suggest that it in fact does not.

        Well, I suppose if it is true it may be a bit humiliating.

         

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2013 @ 9:44am

      Re: People of Pakistan have suffered enough humiliation from your American companies.

      "People of Pakistan have suffered enough humiliation from American companies. We are enemies in your games. The prophet Muhammad(PBUH)ridiculed in your media and your internet. We do no have to tolerate your disrespect."

      A couple of questions:

      1. How is one small sect of a nation's federal police force being portrayed as an enemy in a fictional game qualify as "humiliation"? I would suggest that it in fact does not.

      2. You are not enemies in all, or even most of our games. Your hyperbole will win you no converts.

      3. "The prophet Muhammad(PBUH)ridiculed in your media and your internet." Now this is just silly. America has bent over backwards to be as inoffensive as possible to your religion in particular, despite what that says about us as a free speaking nation. Your religion's intolerance for free speech in non-Muslim world's however, has some rather unfortunate trouble spots in its history. For example, see Salmon Rushdie. That said, it would be inappropriate to paint the entire religion with that extremist bunch, so I suggest you not do likewise with us if you want there to be tolerance between us.

      4. "We do no have to tolerate your disrespect." Of course you don't. But I don't have to tolerate your intolerance, either. That's how this whole free speech thing works. If your ideas had merit, they wouldn't need boycotts and censorship to find a foothold. Sadly....

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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      Ninja (profile), Jan 30th, 2013 @ 10:20am

      Re: People of Pakistan have suffered enough humiliation from your American companies.

      While I do agree the US has gone overboard in a few ways concerning DIPLOMATIC relations (read: Govt) this is just a fiction, fruit of a company that wants to sell. Brazil is often pictured as a giant slum in their games and yet I'm not offended. Because, well, it's fiction. What offends me is the fact that their Govt seems to think they own the world.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2013 @ 10:55am

      Re: People of Pakistan have suffered enough humiliation from your American companies.

      It is not the people of Pakistan that is the subject of this. It is the actions of the government that are being portrayed. And in case you haven't noticed, we are not to happy with the actions of our own government and criticize and ridicule them for their actions regularly.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Jan 31st, 2013 @ 1:29am

      Re: People of Pakistan have suffered enough humiliation from your American companies.

      "People of Pakistan have suffered enough humiliation from American companies."

      "We are enemies in your games."

      So are Japanese, Germans, Chinese, British, Africans and even Americans depending on the game. Why should you be treated specially?

      "The prophet Muhammad(PBUH)ridiculed in your media and your internet."

      Jesus, Yahweh and Xenu are also mocked and ridiculed. Probably the only god that gets regular praise online is Cthulhu, and I doubt most people are doing so seriously. The deity you've chosen to worship doesn't get any more or less consideration than the fictions of other religions.

      "your internet"

      The internet's American now? Why are you here?

      "We do no have to tolerate your disrespect."

      Well... bye...

       

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    Michael, Jan 30th, 2013 @ 9:37am

    Wait until the Pakistani officials watch Spies Like Us. We will be in serious trouble then.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2013 @ 2:53pm

    Ever seen the game "25 To Life" in a store? I never have.

     

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      Anonymous, Jan 30th, 2013 @ 3:07pm

      Re:

      If someone came out with a game in which you played a character whose mission is to assassinate government officials and overthrow the US government, how many American stores do you think would carry it? How many American stores do you think would carry a game in which you play a Columbine- or Sandy Hook-style school shooter?

       

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        Starke (profile), Jan 30th, 2013 @ 11:43pm

        Re: Re:

        Hitman: Blood Money certainly made it to stores... though the point there wasn't to overthrow the government, just assassinate the president.

        And, that probably was going to be the plot of Condemned 3, if the second game's sales hadn't doomed the franchise.

        More vaguely, Splinter Cell: Conviction is about going after the government, if not specifically assassinating government figures.

         

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2013 @ 3:21pm

      Re:

      And back in the days of the Atari 2600, I don't recall seeing titles like Custer's Revenge or Texas Chainsaw Massacre in stores either.

       

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