Virtual war: Video games used to train and recruit soldiers

By: Daniel Kopf

Every day at Marist College ROTC cadet Dan Pearls is being thrust into real life battle situations. These battles do not take place in an open field but in a small corner office tucked away in St. Anne’s at the far corner of campus.

Once a week cadet Pearls and his fellow cadets take a break from their intense physical workout regiment to immerse themselves in the world of video games. These video games are used to teach leadership and tactical skills.

“They gives people a better idea what you’re doing on the battlefield, it’s not just about shooting and killing people like the other games are”, stated Pearls.

Video games are now an integral part of the U.S army being used to recruit and train soldiers. Army Recruiting center’s are now focusing on videogames to entertain and entice new recruits.

The Army Experience in Franklin Mills mall in Pennsylvania offers 19 Xbox consoles and 60 computers hosting games ranging from Madden 09 to the first person shooters Call of Duty and Halo. The center is also home to three simulator’s including a replica of a black hawk helicopter.

The U.S. Army Experience center at the Franklin Mills mall in Philadelphia REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES)

The U.S. Army Experience center at the Franklin Mills mall in Philadelphia REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES)

The Army has also developed their own video game aimed at recruiting the casual gamer. According to goarmy.com America’s Army is designed to provide an accurate portrayal of a soldier’s experiences.

Video games may be the future but traditional field drills are not going anywhere. According to Pearls, “Video games can’t replace what is done in the field. I don’t think anything can replace actual on the field training”

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