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April 18, 2010

The rise of militainment

P.W. Singer puts scare quotes around the word "game" to suggest we be cautious using tactical multiplayer first-person shooters for training or recruitment.

Because heaven knows the Army couldn't use technologically adept young men who enjoy shooting bad guys.

From the Army's perspective, commercial triumph was secondary. Its goal was to recruit. And at this, too, the game proved to be a wild success. To log on to the game, you have to connect via the Army's recruitment website and fork over your information. Gamers can also check out profiles of current Army soldiers and video testimonials of why they joined. Just one year after America's Army was released, one-fifth of West Point's freshman class said they had played the game. By 2008, a study by two researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that "30 percent of all Americans age 16 to 24 had a more positive impression of the Army because of the game and, even more amazingly, the game had more impact on recruits than all other forms of Army advertising combined." Notably, this is from a game that the Pentagon has spent an average of $3.28 million a year developing and promoting over the last 10 years -- compared with the military's roughly $8 billion annual recruiting budget.

Which, unless you are a commie who hates America, is clearly a result.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at April 18, 2010 08:09 AM


The problem for me was always map design. I found it difficult to have a feel for the likely direction of approach by the enemy, as opposed to most other FPS's...you sort of have a feel for the direction of the "front line", and then when you do encounter the enemy, it's like a quick-draw and bang you're dead. BUT, it's been a long while since I've played and this makes me want to consider re-installing.

Posted by: Solomon [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 18, 2010 10:30 PM