The Daily Star
POPPY GAME INSULT TO OUR WAR DEAD
by Jonathan Guy
War veterans have slammed as "monstrous" a decision to use a Remembrance Day poppy to illustrate a new computer game... called Cannon Fodder.
The game, tipped to be the year's biggest seller, will make its debut at a show in London's Olympia from November 11 to 14 - Remembrance Sunday.
Manufacturers Sensible Software say: "War has never been so much fun."
The distinctive poppy symbol is featured on the game and on the front page of leading computer magazine AMIGA POWER, out on Armistice Day.
British Legion chiefs and MPs have branded the use of the poppy as appalling.
Royal British Legion spokesman Dennis York said: "This will offend millions at a time when they remember loved ones who gave their lives in war."
Liberal Democrat MP Menzies Campbell stormed: "It is monstrous that the poppy should be used in such a way."
Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, son of Britain's great field marshall said: "It is very unfortunate that anyone should see fit to detract from the poppy's place as a symbol of remembrance."
But a spokesman for Virgin Interactive Entertainment, which is marketing the game, said: "The poppy is there to remind consumers war is no joke."
The Daily Star
THE STAR SAYS
The poppy is a sacred reminder of the men and women who gave their lives in two world wars.
How sickening to see it being abused to sell a savage computer game.
The distributors say the poppy is there "to remind the customer that war is no joke."
That's just publicity writer's hypocrisy. Computer game designers compete to glorify war and viciousness.
How dare they use the poppy to turn truth on its head.
Make sure you don't buy this shameful game.
AP32's Stuart Would Just Like To Say
"Old soldiers? I wish them all dead."
The Daily Star
POPPY ROW MAG INSULTS OLD SOLDIERS
Exclusive by Chris McCashin
Britain's ex-servicemen are up in arms after a magazine boss declared he would like to see all old soldiers dead.
Fury erupted when the Daily Star revealed that, just days before Remembrance Sunday, AMIGA POWER used a red poppy on the front page to illustrate a computer game called Cannon Fodder.
The magazine changed its sick cover after a storm of protest.
But acting editor Stuart Campbell said in an editorial: "Stuart would just like to say, 'Old soldiers? I wish them all dead.'"
Confronted by the Daily Star at his office in Bath, spotty, Scots-born Campbell, 26, said: "It may have been insensitive, but aren't I entitled to an opinion any more?"
The revamped December issue of AMIGA POWER - circulation 54,000 copies a month - also insults the Royal British Legion by labelling them "conscientious objectors" because of their outspoken anger at the abuse of the red poppy.
Enraged Royal British Legion spokesman Dennis York stormed: "Good God. It leaves you speechless. If it was not for the old soldiers who stood up during the wars he might not be alive."
AMIGA POWER publishing director Greg Ingham admitted that including Campbell's comment in the magazine was "a regrettable mistake".
He said: "I would like to apologise to the Royal British Legion and anyone else who was offended."
I came back from a pleasant lunch with a chum to discover a fait accompli. The unspeakable foulness which was to become the published cover had been hastily cobbled together and sent directly to the printers without any intervention from me. Incoherently livid and on the point of ill-advised physical violence, I went back out again and stomped around the icy streets of Bath for an hour until sufficiently calm. Some other members of the team threw a (rather unfair, I thought) sulk at this which was unrevealed until months later, and never to be undone. The bright lights of Sensible Software beckoned invitingly on the horizon.
A firm of solicitors engaged by The Royal British Legion
The Royal British Legion/
Amiga Computer Game:
We have been instructed by the Royal British Legion in connection with the new Amiga computer game, "Cannon Fodder", which we understand is being marketed through yourselves.
You will no doubt be aware of the advertisement for next month's AMIGA POWER Magazine which was carried in the Sunday Mirror dated 24th October 1993, together with today's article in the Daily Star.
Our clients are extremely concerned that this particular game features a Royal British Legion Poppy, the emblem of our clients' Poppy Appeal. It is an international symbol of remembrance and therefore its use for a computer war game is tasteless and grossly insensitive. Our clients find it all the more intolerable that the launch of this product coincides with the 75th anniversary of Armistice Day, which is within a few days of Remembrance Sunday.
Our clients are being advised with regard to the legal implications of the above, particularly in view of the fact that no permission was sought to use the Poppy.
The use of a Royal British Legion Poppy in this way is unlawful and inter alia defamatory. The undoubted impression conveyed to the general public is that this particular game has received the endorsement of our clients, which, being a war game, is directly contrary to the Legion's principal aims and objectives.
Our clients will only refrain from taking legal action if:-
You, the manufacturers, Amiga and all other parties involved with the ("Game" - Ed)
1. supply us with written apologies on terms acceptable to our clients;
2. provide us with written undertakings on terms that all references to Poppies in the marketing, packaging, content and all other aspects of the game will be removed forthwith;
3. the Legion is compensated in full for its legal costs and a donation is made for a sum to be agreed to this year's Poppy Appeal within the next 14 days.
Our clients will also require an undertaking from Amiga that they will omit all mention of the game in issue 32 and all future issues of "AMIGA POWER" and associated publications.
Unless the above apologies and undertakings are received by the close of business tomorrow, our clients will have little choice but to take the matter further. In the meantime, our clients strictly reserve the right to take whatever action they see fit.
Tom "Deckie" Andrews
Messily-scrawled threatening letter received at the AP office shortly afterwards, addressed only as from "Shipping Teesport"
It's silly little boys like you that give Britain a bad name!
My Dad went through the Second World War in the Infantry and he's my Hero and I wont have a spotty twerp like you insulting him or his mates! I'm 6 ft 2 and 15 stone, good with my "Dukes" too so watch out I don't come and put my boot up your arse and that goes for anyone in your grotty firm!
Freedom of speech, eh? Let's hope no one went to the trouble of dying for it, or anything.
The furore surrounding CF was symptomatic of one of the less attractive national traits of the British - the kneejerk reaction, regardless of the facts. The facts here are that Cannon Fodder was, in the admittedly narrow surroundings of the world of computer games, probably the most sensitive addressing of the issue of war ever seen. From the individually-named soldiers in the graves and the roll-call of the fallen after every level to the poignant connotations of the title itself, it's in fact, ironically, the only game I can ever recall to treat its protagonists as anything other than cannon fodder. That no one bothered to notice that, even with the assistance of the instruction manual...
Cannon Fodder Manual, p16
(And on a more serious note: don't try playing this at home, kids, because war is not a game - war, as Cannon Fodder demonstrates in its own quirky little way, is a senseless waste of human resources and lives. We hope that you never have to find out the hard way.)
... is perhaps the saddest and certainly the most infuriating aspect of the entire episode.
AP32 was indeed released without the poppy cover, as was Cannon Fodder itself.
Vizards, with their charmingly naive grasp of the software industry, pursued the matter no further.
Nothing more was heard from "Deckie," who, if his father fought in WW2 was probably at least 35 when he wrote to us.
Modern education, eh, chums?