Recently I watched Frontline’s Digital Nation, a film about the digital revolution and how it is changing our lives.  Of the many points brought up, one that really struck me was the military’s use of video games at recruiting centers.

                Although I feel it is unethical on many levels to exploit the passions and pastimes of many young boys and girls to further the potential for new enlistees, I have to admit is a stroke of genius.  Not only are recruiters capable of implanting themselves into lives their billboards may have never reached but they are able to see who may do well at military type engagement.

                The process is pretty simple.  Set up shop in a location that is heavily trafficked by youth, i.e. a shopping mall.  Provide a number of expensive gaming systems at no cost to the target market.  Make sure the games are reflective of military ideals.  Look for kids that become regulars and introduce yourself; both as an enthusiast of gaming and as a trusted member of society.  Tell how the military has positively impacted your life and provide information on how to enlist.

                The military seems to have no problem surrounding themselves with the soldiers, I mean youth, of tomorrow.  Why is it that the only games provided are that of battle simulation, like SOCOM and Medal of Honor?  If they want to promote violence why not chose a fighting game or Grand Theft Auto?  My guess would be that they want to promote and provide the right kind of violence.  The kind of violence that will lead you to signing up to defend Uncle Sam’s honor, this brings me to my next point.

                In the upcoming weeks EA games will be releasing their latest version of the popular military based game Medal of Honor.  As in most military games, and all previous versions of M.O.H., players can chose to fight as either the “good guys” or the “bad guys.”  What seems to be the problem you may ask?  Well it seems the two opposing forces are the U.S. and the Taliban.  It would appear this isn’t the message the armed forces wants to promote.  As a result the game will be banned from being sold on military bases worldwide. 

                I just find it interesting that the military can promote violence to today’s youth in the hopes of gaining future soldiers, but they want to make sure that violence is directed at the proper target.  Clearly they must not feel that these games will have no effect on the way people who play will act.        

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