The Military and Games

We’ll be talking throughout the semester about the ongoing relationship between videogames and the military. Here’s a Defense Department announcement from Monday, in fact, that describes one reason the military continues to invest in gaming technology: According to the Office of Naval Research, “video game players perform 10 to 20 percent higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than normal people that are non-game players.”

Yes, playing games can make you a better soldier. But what are the implications for the non-soldier players out there?

2 thoughts on “The Military and Games

  1. laurendubya

    As Ray Perez stated in the interview, the military’s ultimate goal for training methods is to integrate video game technology into sophisticated learning tools for today’s soldiers. Along with mediums such as laptops and personal digital assistance, they’re also looking into more large-scale training devices such as virtual simulators.

    Before taking this course, most of my interactions with video games had been through my dad’s vocation as a video game designer. One of current projects he’s working on with his company Dynamic Animations’ Systems is a military combat simulator called VICE (Virtual Interactive Combat Environment). On the DAS website, VICE is marketed as “where gaming meets training.” The simulator strives to be as realistic to actual military combat as possible, and provides a more accessible and appealing alternative to real physical training. For example, VICE can train soldiers on how to react to IEDs, and even allows the IEDs to be situated anywhere in the virtual setting so that soldiers don’t simply “memorize the environment.”

    Another example of how the military has used games is through the game “America’s Army”, which the US Army released online as a recruitment tool. America’s Army also increases tactical awareness and knowledge of military history. America’s Army and VICE both seem to prove Kostner’s assertion that games are designed to teach us certain skills. While a lot of our more popular games such as Hide-and-Seek and Darts were developed for more primitive “cave-man skills” which are now dated, the military has found ways to capitalize on this notion and teach skills which are more relevant to today’s society.

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