The men and women working at your local Army recruitment center can probably afford to take longer lunches these days. Instead of spending long hours talking to potential recruits about their career options and current skills, they can direct them to army games like “America’s Army,” a video game designed to compete with commercial titles like “Modern Warfare 2.”
Making Games for Army Recruits
“America’s Army” isn’t exactly like other shoot-’em-up, take-no-prisoners video games that often glorify military battles. “America’s Army” doesn’t give players more points for shooting the enemy. Instead, the game focuses on the Army’s core values and career options.
This might not sound like quite as much fun as games that encourage players to blow up everything in sight, but many players love it. The game has more than 11 million registered players who have collectively logged over 260 million hours of game time since 2002.
There is some concern that “America’s Army” offers a skewed version of the military. Critics have complained that it still makes the military lifestyle seem exciting, when, in reality, much of it is spent training, waiting, and focusing on minute details. No, “America’s Army” doesn’t force players to sit on a boat for two days waiting for orders, but traditional recruiting options don’t do that either.
Training New Recruits With Army Games
Army games don’t stop at recruitment. The army now uses video games to train new members. In fact, it uses noncommercial versions of “America’s Army” in addition to military training programs like “Virtual Battlespace 2.”
In many cases, young soldiers now get to experiment with weapons in virtual environments before they even get to pick up actual versions.
Some of these training games, however, are quite real. Defense companies like Motion Reality and Raytheon don’t design the programs so young soldiers can have fun blasting their buddies. The games actually prepare them for battle.
One of the most advanced military games developed so far is a simulator called VIRTSIM. In this training simulator, soldiers don’t sit in front of computer monitors. They wear full gear and virtual reality goggles that immerses them in the experience. The equipment worn during the simulation delivers a mild shock when a soldier gets shot. It even lets soldiers throw grenades and other objects.
Preparing Soldiers for Battle
These intensive games are designed to prepare soldiers for battle by helping them learn how to use weapons and defensive techniques during stressful situations. Nothing, of course, can fully prepare someone for the battlefield, but army games that use virtually reality can give young soldiers some insight into what they might experience. This could help them remain calm while under attack so they can use their training more effectively.
Critics who argue that virtual reality cannot truly show the horrors of war are absolutely right. But it can give soldiers some experiences that will hopefully help them cope with intense situations.
With recruiting, training, and virtual reality simulations, army games have become an increasingly important aspect of the armed forces.