Iraq War Veterans Protest America's Army Game

September 4, 2007 -
Even among some military veterans, support for the war in Iraq is dwindling.

As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, veterans of the war gathered to protest recently at the Missouri Black Expo. The focus of their attention was a display of the America's Army video game:
About 90 Iraq war veterans, dressed in black shirts, stood in formation Saturday afternoon in front of military recruiters at America's Center and shouted their protest message three times: "War is not a game!"

They were referring to the large military simulation game set up by Army recruiters... The group of veterans, known as Iraq Veterans Against the War, were in St. Louis for their annual meeting this weekend when they decided to stage a brief demonstration at the Expo.

America's Army was created several years ago by the Department of Defense. The PC version, a first-person shooter using simulated military weapons, is given away for free by the Army as a recruitment and public relations tool.

Here's the video of the IVAW protest:

139 comments

Defense Department Kills Plan to Send Left Behind to Troops in Iraq

August 16, 2007 -
Whether you're a fan of the best-selling Left Behind series or not, a plan to ship the PC game version to American troops fighting in a Muslim country was never a good idea.

That's mainly because a key element of the game play in Left Behind: Eternal Forces features Christian troops converting - or killing - non-believers.

The Department of Defense has now put a stop to the shipments, following an inquiry by ABC News. According to the ABC report, Operation Start Up (OSU) Tour, an evangelical Christian entertainment troupe, planned to include copies of Left Behind in care packages destined for U.S. forces.

Rev. Timothy Simpson of the Christians Alliance for Progress told ABC News:
It's a horrible game. You either kill or covert the other side. This is exactly what the Osama bin Ladens of the world have portrayed us [as].

Left Behind Games CEO Troy Lyndon said:
There is no forcible conversion to Christianity, and killing is never an objective in any of the 40 missions in the game.

Researchers at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation learned of the plan to ship Left Behind to Iraq last week. Their discovery was reported by The Nation.
79 comments

In U.S. & Down Under, Military Uses Game Tech to Recruit

July 27, 2007 -
Military recruits are primarily young men, so it should be no surprise that the armed forces are using game tech to reach out to potential enlistees.

Kotaku reports that first-person shooter America's Army, hugely popular as a freebie on PC, is heading to coin-op:
America's Army for arcades will focus less on the shooting of terrorists or insurgents and will instead consist of a series of eight mini-games that emulate real-life Army training exercises... The game is assumed to be built on the PC version of America's Army which also runs on the Unreal Engine.

Console versions of AA also appeared in 2006.

Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald reports Australian Defence Force recruitment has gone the gaming route as well with last week's launch of an online gaming portal and a podcast detailing what it's like to be a trainee:
11 comments | Read more

U.S. Army Gets Ambushed Over Gears of War

July 9, 2007 -
Can the U.S. Army be faulted for including the uber violent Xbox 360 hit Gears of War in a recruitment-oriented video game tournament?

Raw Story takes the Army to task for adding Gears to the roster of titles for the Army Gaming Championships, a ladder event which kicked off on the 4th of July.

The Raw Story feature makes specific mention of GoW's chainsaw bayonet:
61 comments | Read more

Gamer Killed in Iraq Ambush

May 18, 2007 -
....another in an occasional series of reports about gamers who gave their all:

As reported by the Lynchburg News & Advance, Christopher Murphy, 21, was killed in Iraq on Saturday along with three fellow soldiers. Three other soldiers were abducted by insurgents and remain missing. According to his obituary:
Christopher Edward Murphy had a generous spirit... would give away his treasured video games and systems to friends... Even since he was a young boy playing every strategy-based video game he could find, Chris had wanted to join the military.

“You want to talk about our house sounding like a war zone,” Rosemary reminisced of Christopher having a group of friends over to play Halo 2, a warfare video game.

“He was pretty shaken by everything he was witnessing,” she said. “He was on his 13th helmet and his ninth tank when he came back. He didn’t want to go back to Iraq this last time.”

GP: Rest in peace, Christopher.
49 comments

Gamer Generation Pays a Heavy Price in Iraq

March 21, 2007 -
When compiling the daily news for GamePolitics, GP relies in part on an extensive set of automated Google News searches. Based on certain keywords, our Google searches occasionally turn up news of a soldier or Marine killed in Iraq.

That's not really the type of news that fits with GamePolitics' journalistic mission, so it doesn't normally appear here. But in reading such stories, we do note the frequency with which friends and relatives of deceased military personnel mention that their loved one enjoyed video games. Not too surprising, really, given the relatively youthful demographics of soldiers and gamers alike.

A poignant story we read yesterday in the Detroit News caught our eye, however. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the Iraq war just passed its four-year anniversary. More likely it was the fact that Army Pfc. William "Billy" Davis, killed by a roadside bomb last weekend, was simply a hardcore gamer. From the newspaper account:
A video game enthusiast, Davis... met his wife after high school. The couple named their daughter (Aeris) after a character in the videogame "Final Fantasy VII."

"He liked to play a lot of video games," his mother said.

UPDATE 3/23/07: The Connecticut Post reports on the death of PFC Stephen Ron O'Neil Karl Richardson, killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb:
A personal profile attributed to Richardson and posted on the Internet site, myspace.com, states that he "is a proud new daddy to my daughter, Iyana.

"I'm still just a kid at heart. I like to watch cartoons and play video games," he wrote.
54 comments

 
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