The HotSpot’s Anti-Military Comments

February 1, 2009 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

Last week, GameSpot’s “The HotSpot” podcast (episode 1-27-09) made some comments regarding Ubisoft’s America’s Army 3 videogame.  I found some of the comments offensive; not the ones that dealt with the game, but the ones dealing with the U.S. Military.

Basically, one of the members of the podcast said that the game glamourizes Army life, when it’s “the worst place ever”.  Also, he accused the Army of using a game to recruit people into ‘kill squads’, and that only “poor kids who can’t afford college” enlist.

I believe everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and I don’t particularly care for America’s Army the game, but what he said (I’m not entirely sure which of them said it) was offensive to me, as I come from a family with a proud history of serving in various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Below is an email I sent to them in response.  I hope that whoever reads this understands where I’m coming from and that I’m not some pro-war gun nut, but that I respect the opinions of others (as long as they’re informed opinions), I just thought that political statements like the ones I mentioned have no place in a video game podcast.

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“I would like to comment on something that was said a little over an hour into “The HotSpot” podcast last Tuesday.  I’m not sure which one of podcast members said it, but certain comments were made that particularly offended me.  The subject was the American’s Army 3 game, and how underhanded the marketing of the game is, considering its use as a promotional item by the U.S. military.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, especially when it comes to how the Army recruits..capitalizing on the ignorance of youth, people who are desperate and poor and can’t afford college…” are, to me, way out of line.

It sounds like the opinion of certain members of “The HotSpot” is that the Army is made up of poor kids from ghettos who can’t afford college and don’t understand that videogames aren’t real life.  Not every member of the U.S. Armed Forces is a poor kid who can’t get into college.  Believe it or not, there are members who volunteer by personal choice and actually hold higher education degrees.

Another comment I found particularly offensive, about how the game is glamourizing the “cool action aspects of [army life], without showing you that it is the worst place ever“.  To me, that spits in the face of ever man and woman who ever put on a U.S. military uniform.  I came from a Third World country; I know what some of ‘the worst places ever’ look like.  And on the comment about the ‘cool action aspects’ of the America’s Army game, what about every other game that places you in the boots of a member of the military?  I don’t hear any complaining from the HotSpot about how the Call of Duty games glamourize violence.  Or how Full Spectrum Warrior teaches players Army techniques?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to defend America’s Army as a game; I’ve played some entries of the series, and I don’t care for them because, to me, they’re just not very good games.

The comments made regarding the U.S. military sound more like politically-charged statements; things that shouldn’t be said on company time with company equipment.  I’m not threatening any kind of action (boycott, petition, etc) only because I may be alone in this and I know that CBS Interactive, CNet, and GameSpot probably don’t care if one person gets upset over something one member of the staff said.  I’m even willing to admit that I may have taken the comments out of context.  The only thing I ask for is a clarification of the statements made in an upcoming podcast (or whatever venue GameSpot feels appropriate), and the assurance that political statements have no place in any GameSpot podcast or media venue (unless GameSpot and its parent companies are willing to adopt these comments as company policy).

I enjoy “The HotSpot” and have been a listener for a few years now.  I listen because I find the podcast entertaining and informative, but anti-military comments like the ones I mentioned above have no place on the show.”

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