EA’s Medal of Honor Banned From Military Sales

Kotaku is reporting that Medal of Honor has been banned from sale on American military bases worldwide because of a gameplay element in which gamers can play as the Taliban. This means that it will not be sold in any PX or on-base GameStop.

Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s Commander Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella, told Kotaku, “Out of respect to those we serve, we will not be stocking this game.We regret any inconvenience this may cause authorized shoppers, but are optimistic that they will understand the sensitivity to the life and death scenarios this product presents as entertainment. As a military command with a retail mission, we serve a very unique customer base that has, or possibly will, witness combat in real life.”

In an email obtained by Kotaku, Gamestop employees are involved that “GameStop has agreed out of respect for our past and present men and women in uniform we will not carry Medal of Honor in any of our AAFES based stores… As such, GameStop agreed to have all marketing material pulled by noon today and to stop taking reservations. Customers who enter our AAFES stores and wish to reserve Medal of Honor can and should be directed to the nearest GameStop location off base. GameStop fully supports AAFES in this endeavor and is sensitive to the fact that in multiplayer mode one side will assume the role of Taliban fighter.”

Excellent work from Kotaku in reporting this story.

Card Corner: Prizes, USPCC Cards, and More

When I began this blog, I knew that playing cards and card games would be one of the things I wrote about from time to time.

There were a number of reasons for this: I’ve been rediscovering old games while I taught them to my family, I think social and family card games are worth reviving, and there was a general shortage of good writing about cards. Sure, Poker was covered (over-covered, if you ask me), but when was the last time your newspaper ran a Bridge column, or you learned how to play a new game?

Since cards are a very old and popular form of gaming, I suspected they had a rich history and lore. As I began reading more, I realized that this was true, and I’m particularly in debt to Pagat, writer David Parlett, and The International Playing Card Society for opening a fascinating window to this element of game history.

I also began to see an important artistic element to cards. I’ve been involved in printing and publishing for my entire adult life, so I’ve always had an eye for the aesthetic side of the graphical arts: color, form, design, typography, and the like. Some people find this boring, others fascinating. There’s an entire, highly acclaimed movie called Helvetica that’s just about a single font, so obviously I’m not alone in this.

For the month of September, I have a couple of things in store.

As I’ve said before, the only cards I use are from the US Playing Card Company, mostly Bicycles and Bees. When I got in contact with them last month, they provided me with examples from some of their others lines, and I was surprised to find distinct tactile, production, and design elements for each.

So, throughout September, I’ll be posting comments and detailed, high-res illustrations from each of these different lines. Take a moment and look at them. I’m going to pull out some visual details and talk about each and what makes them different. There will probably be about 7 of these posts, scattering throughout the month.

USPC was also kind enough to provide a few prizes for you, the readers. I’ll post the first of these later today, and explain how to enter to win. The first will be a set of World Series of Poker cards (2 decks, red and black) and a 5-pack of USPC dice.

Apple iOS 4.1 and Game Center

Apple’s announcements this week brought the usual set of new products and general ballyhoo, but only a couple actually concern us here.

First, the iPod Touch is getting a full iPhone 4 upgrade for new models. The more powerful A4 processor, the 940×640 retina display, and video conferencing will be available in new versions of the hardware. For gamers, this means sharper graphics and greater processing power.

Second, Apple is getting ready to roll out their Game Center with next week’s iOS 4.1 software update. The Game Center is an application that offers several notable features for gamers, including matchmaking services, friends lists, social networking features, leaderboards, and achievements.vGames can be downloaded and started from within the Game Center, which will function as a central hub for all your device’s gaming elements.

Game Center could be a fairly huge upgrade for App gamers who like to use multiplayer features. It promises to bring a miniaturized Xbox Live experience to App smartphones and similar devices. The matchmaking feature (called “auto-matching” by Apple out of sheer cussedness) promises to turn devices into powerful multiplayer gaming centers.

Project Sword for iOS 4, from Epic Games.

As though to prove just what this might mean, Apple had Epic Games demo their new title, Project Sword. Built with a mobile version of the Unreal engine, it appears to be a full online third-person action game experience built specifically for mobile devices. Since I’m still not impressed with the efficacy of the smartphone as a shooter plaform, I’m hoping that a team with Epic will finally show us how it can be done.

App O’ The Mornin’: NinJump

NinJump is a freebie, which kind of makes this review utterly superfluous. You can download it yourself and see in about 5 minutes whether or not it’s a keeper.

But I don’t get paid to tell you to download stuff…. actually, I don’t get paid at all, but that’s beside the point. No, I get not-paid to review games, and I’m here to you: download this: it is not a waste of time.

NinJump is a vertical scroller like so many others we’ve seen, but this one actually has a bit of character and style to it. Your little Ninja is climbing a building, and jumping from side-to-side to a) avoid being killed by obstacles and b) slash stuff (birds, squirrels, throwing stars, and the like).

All you have to do is jump back and forth from wall to wall as your character climbs, and he does the rest. The trick comes from timing his jumps, and the more obstacles you find, the tougher it gets.

This isn’t quite as good as Bird Strike, but as vertical scrolling obstacle games go, it’s worth every penny.