The other morning I heard a news report on NPR/OPB about an online game in China called Glorious Mission although this Chinese game has been cropping up in the news periodically since around May 2011. The initial reaction appeared to be centered around images from the game that had American soldiers portrayed as the enemy. My initial reaction was "Okay, so, they needed an enemy. It's not like games developed in America haven't had our current allies portrayed as the enemy (cough-cough Modern Warfare 3 cough-cough)." I'm pretty sure we're still allies with Russia. At least the Red Dawn remake didn't have the Russians as the bad guys, just you know, the North Koreans. Oh wait, and just some of the Russians.
Anyway, that's not the point. The point is that there have been other instances of video games being used by military installations as recruiting tools:
Army Battlezone available on the DS game Atari Greatest Hits Vol. 1 Used to help train US soldiers in the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, back in/around 1980.
The "Army Experience Center" in Philadelphia, PA
Opened August 29, 2008 / Closed July 31, 2010.
The Starfighter arcade game used by the Rylan Star League Defense Force as a recruiting tool for the war against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada.
There are probably many other instances of this happening, so in a way, we shouldn't be surprised that this happens at all. I just feel sad that it does happen. Maybe it's because the military is using a medium that I love as a recruiting tool for purposes that I don't entirely agree with. However, I totally understand video games and video game-like devices being used not only for recruitment tools but also for training tools.
I'm trying to think of this using another medium. Using "Where's Waldo" to train covert op spies? Using Beethoven's 9th with randomly placed inverted minor thirds to train audio technicians to detect anomalies? Using minor league baseball pitchers to throw grenades at a horde of the undead? I'm just making all this up and I don't what I've mentioned as actually being put into practice.
I guess I'm just saying that video games as military recruitment and training tools are here and while some of us may not like it, we should probably get used to it. And don't go expecting a "First Impressions" about Glorious Mission because I am not installing Chinese military software on my computer. Although I should really do a series of posts with the 50 games that are included in Atari Greatest Hits Vol. 1 and the port of the Starfighter game. I'm just thankful the war against the Xur ended back in '84.
Do A Barrel Roll. . . Out Of A Volcano!!