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[infowar.de] Wired News zu Videogame der US Army
Vom 4. Juli, gerade erst entdeckt.
US Army verteilt kostenlose Ego-Shooter als Werbemittel
Shoot 'Em Up and Join the Army
By Noah Shachtman
2:00 a.m. July 4, 2002 PDT
Perhaps you've been too busy playing video games to notice there's a
war on terror going on. If so, the U.S. Army would like to have a word
The Army is an elite, well-oiled force, constantly engaged in daring
missions, and always fighting on the side of right. Soldiers get to play
with cool guns, and no one ever gets hurt that bad.
As evidence, look no further than "America's Army: Operations," a new
shoot-em-up game for Windows, created by the Army to convey these truths
-- and, in so doing, help recruit young blood to sign up for service.
The first 10 missions of the game will be available for download, free
of charge, starting Thursday; the remaining nine missions will follow
over the course of the summer. A companion game, "America's Army:
Soldiers," showing the nearly limitless career paths a soldier can take,
will be ready in the fall.
The two games will cost about $7 million to design and to maintain 140
servers for online play, according to Lt. Col. Casey Wardynski, director
of the Army's internal consulting team. That's about the same as a new
M1A3 tank, and less than one-half of one percent of the Army's
Given the high cost of persuading teenagers to join the Armed Forces,
Wardynski figures the expense will have been worth it if an additional
300-400 enlist as a result of the game.
"In World War II, we had newsreels. Then came TV ads. More recently
we've had banners. This is just the next step," said Wardynski, who also
teaches economics at West Point.
"AA:O," as players insist on calling it, begins with basic training at
Ft. Benning, Georgia. Recruits run through obstacle courses, practice
shooting guns and get barked at -- gently -- by their drill sergeant.
(Here's a guy who tells trainees "not to mess up my freshly raked sand
pit." Sgt. Hartman from Full Metal Jacket would've eaten him for
Once players have graduated, it's on to a series of team-oriented
missions, played online against other gamers in soldiers' boots. In one
scenario, players have to defend the Alaskan Pipeline with the 172nd
Brigade. Another is a rescue operation, working with the 10th Mountain
Division to free a soldier from terrorists' clutches.
Because AA:O -- developed largely at the Naval Post Graduate School in
conjunction with private game companies -- is based on the latest engine
in the "Unreal" game series, these missions look good. Also the game
play is comparable to other squad-based adventures, like "Half-Life:
The one big difference: No one gets to be a bad guy in this game. Both
sides see themselves as soldiers, and the other gamers as terrorists.
Still, the quality has been high enough to pleasantly surprise many in
the gaming community, which was initially skeptical about the recruiting
"A lot of marketing-oriented games suck," Steve Butts, a reviewer with
the gaming site IGN, wrote. "This one's being developed as thoroughly
and professionally as any other top-shelf shooter."
While critics have been enjoying details like the ultra-accurate
recoil on the guns, and the realistic reloading procedure, some gamers
-- especially ones who have spent time in the military -- have been
disturbed by the sanitized violence of America's Army. In AA:O, no one
soaks the floor in blood or cries out to God in pain when they're shot.
There's just a paintball-ish splat.
"If you make (the game) graphic in a Saving Private Ryan sense, you
get blasted for using gore as entertainment," Wardynski responded.
Other ex-Army gamers resent the idea that the action-laden, slam-bang
world of AA:O is representative of real military life.
"Wow, a realistic shooter designed to show you what it is really like
in the Army. Do I need a special controller to simulate boot shining?"
posted one gamer, ArcherB, to a forum on America's Army.
"Much of Army life is putting up with BS, doing menial things. I spent
two years in the Army as a tanker. Still, with all that time in the
field, I drove a floor buffer more than a tank by far! I did get to blow
stuff up on occasion, but that is not what (the Army) is about. Will the
game reflect that?"
The Army is building other computer games with a more authentic feel.
In C-Force, which will be used to both train soldiers and to entertain
civilians, players take on much more of the day-to-day work of the Army:
protecting U.S. aid workers, guarding an embassy or securing a street
The military has a long tradition of using commercial games to train
its grunts -- beginning with primitive, 1940s flight simulators bought
from a Coney Island amusement park.
But this is the first time the military has crafted a game solely for
"This isn't in the works right now, but in the future, suppose you
played extremely well. And you stayed in the game an extremely long
time. You might just get an e-mail seeing if you'd like any additional
information on the Army," Wardynski said.
Or you could just click on that big button in the game's top left
corner. You'd be taken to the Army website -- where a whole, new world
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