Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Military Gamification

Leaving lecture on Tuesday, we were left to think about the video shown at the end of class that depicted a "gamified" military. I (and I'm sure many of you) was left with many thoughts and opinions about this video and its message, which we unfortunately did not have time to discuss.

One particularly striking image was the action figure that resembled one of the soldiers. My first reaction was that this was trivializing our military—turning it into something young children can play ‘pretend’ at in their living rooms. However, upon further thought, it struck me that maybe it’s better to have our society’s children playing with figures that represent real American heroes—rather than the fictional super ones they play with now.

While these action figures represent ‘play’, the video game created by the US Army (called "American Army") better reflects the virtual gamification we talked about in class. Again, I was struck by how this seems to trivialize the actions of our military—as if anyone can just pick up a controller and be just as skilled as a trained soldier. However, I began to think how this game might compare to other “military” games that are not actually sponsored by the military (COD, Arma III, etc.) If the military is in effect ALREADY being turned into a game, maybe it’s best for the actual Army to get into this market (though they sell the games for free) and provide a more accurate depiction.

I’m curious how others of you responded to this video. What is the proper balance that allows the average American to be informed about the workings of the Military, without trivializing it, and how does technology fit into this balance?  

In case you're interested, here is the link to the official website of the video game:

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