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07/09/2003

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Andy Baio

More entertaining than Bradley Trainer, the Army's customized version of Battlezone.

md

I don't see any problem with teaching children to kill. The problems only come when we teach them how to kill, but don't also teach them about compassion, caring, morals, ethics and all that other gooey stuff.

Children all over the world are already taught how to hurt, injure and possibly kill others in their martial arts classes. But the greater emphasis is always on personal growth, maturity, and an awareness of the damage that they can inflict if they're not careful and responsible. Trying to hide from children an appreciation and understanding of the powers that they possess, is a bad thing.

So I think the more important questions are, can games help develop compassion, etc., in children? and if so, are the games today doing so, or could they do more?

Jeff

Martial arts and video games? Unfortunately I don't really see how Halo can possibly provide a forum where children can develop compassion and respect. That's why it's rated M.

Perhaps Karate classes should have ratings ;)

Draigon

Children are young, but they're not stupid.
You teach a child the value of living and they'll forget the value of death. My own history is an example of that (which I won't bore you with).

The only thing that bothers me about all of this is more from a market point of view. Americans are already seen as a nation of violent people who love their guns; an image I can't strongly disagree with to be honest. Games are so much more than violence and it concerns me that American games will be dominated with violence as opposed to say the Japanese market.

If video games are teaching tools that what kind of society do you get from one that plays rational games as opposed to a society that plays strategic games? To me it would seem the result *could* be a less compromising, less understanding one.

amanda

I don't have my E3'03 notes handy, so this is from memory:

Michael Macedonia talked in a panel on educational games; he's the Army guy responsible for things like Full Spectrum Command, an XBox game developed by Pandemic to be used by the army first specifically to train squad commanders in urban combat tactics. (The civvie version will be Full Spectrum Warrior, due out next year.) He talked a bit about US military training history, especially about the revolution that happened (in the 70s?) when training moved from live-fire to simulation (LaserTag). The result was fewer casualties in training, and better lessons learned (because people were now free to try things w/out fear of actually dying).

Mr. Macedonia also gave a bunch of statistics showing that huge numbers of US soldiers play the XBox in their spare time. That was one of the reasons why the army decided to opt for an xbox game as a training tool, as opposed to choose-your-own-adventures or strategy board games. Feedback loops are a great way to reinforce training, and the Army wants to make sure that their soldiers get downtime that keeps their skills up.

The former special forces guys I know (they train law enforcement teams in tactics and weapons handling) play such things as Rainbow 6, SOCOM, and Battlefield 1942. They piss a lot of other players off because they "camp" -- but camping is also just smart tactics.

Lastly -- these games teach strategy, but not exactly "the combat skills of a professional soldier". No kid who plays Battlefield 1942 has learned from the game how to clean a rifle, clear a jam, use the sights correctly on a handgun, manage their breathing while shooting, or account for things like wind and distance when sniping. We're still a long way from the kind of simulation training envisioned in Hyperion...

Bowler

Amanda, I was going to post the exact same comments about rifle tuning, breathing, etc.

Even with simulation, nothing can actually train you for the real-life stresses of firing and being fired upon.

I have yet to see a single game that even teaches you how to properly lolly-pop a target on your iron sights.

Gen Kanai

I was on a plane to Fairbanks sitting next to an Airforce EOD (explosion ordinance division? - the bomb squad guys) guy. We talked at length about Halo and how so many of the guys in the Airforce love gaming and Halo. So the culture is there already.

evilmike

'Lastly -- these games teach strategy, but not exactly "the combat skills of a professional soldier". No kid who plays Battlefield 1942 has learned from the game how to clean a rifle, clear a jam, use the sights correctly on a handgun, manage their breathing while shooting, or account for things like wind and distance when sniping. We're still a long way from the kind of simulation training envisioned in Hyperion...'

They also don't teach listening skills, stealth, physical fitness, or point-shooting accuracy.

Or how to burst-fire IRL.

These are games. They are NOT a substitute for the real thing, and we in the military know it.

Yeah, SOME of them can (maybe) teach BASIC...very basic....CQB/infantry tactics.

I always get a kick when some stupid kid tells me they 'know how to shoot an M16'....I ask them what they do when they have a feed jam, and the blank looks begin.

Frostbite Knight

I'm actually stationed up here in Alaska, and they're about to build something like this at one of the local on-base clubs. The Army these days has a huge number of gamers in it...not just among the lower rankers, but the officers as well. I remember one day coming into the office to find two senior captains discussing the merits of the X-Box 360 vs. the Playstation 3 and trying to decide which one they would get.

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