U.S Army Targets Gamers With Recruitment Arcade

U.S Army Targets Gamers With Recruitment Arcade

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Play games like America's Army and Rainbow Six, along with full-scale military simulators all under the watchful eye of Army recruiters? What could possibly go wrong?

At the Franklin Mills mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, just past the Gap and China Buddha Express (according to the New York Times, anyway), the Army Experience Center is buzzing with all sorts of gaming delights. Teenagers grind away at World of Warcraft while behind them, on the networked array of Xbox 360 consoles, a Halo 3 tournament rages on. Lines form for one of three full-scale, military simulators. Teens pile into an armed Humvee, load up their M4 carbine assault rifles and tear through a scenario, all while real Army recruiters look over their shoulders, propaganda beaming all around.

The U.S Army has always aimed for impressionable teens, but their latest tactic seems a bit underhanded, considering we've always been told that war isn't a game.

Opened in August, the Army Experience Center is a first of its kind facility, having replaced five smaller recruitment locations in the surrounding area, though at the same operating costs. The operation comes at time when the Army is looking to improve enlistment numbers, specifically those in weaker, urban areas like Philadelphia, where their presence is much more limited.

So goes the Experience, visitors fill out an information sheet at a check-in desk upon arrival where they may also opt out of being contacted by a recruiter. Afterwards they're free to roam about the facility and watch Army films, partake in a possible career survey and of course, play lots of video games.

The Times points out that so far, the operation has not exactly been a success with only about 35 visitors having enlisted at the center, which is slightly below the recruitment rate of the previous five locations it replaced. My biggest fear has always been that kids growing up playing wars games such as Call of Duty will think that those games are direct reflections of what it is actually like to serve in the military, and to see the Army blur these lines even further seems distasteful. I have the utmost respect for those who choose to serve their country in ways that I never could (for I am but a skinny nerd), so I would hope that the military would respect those they recruit by not using their hobby, one that has already been nailed to the cross far too many times in the name of violence, as a gateway drug into something far more dangerous.

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It's not just that they're using the gaming hobby to try and get more people to join.
I consider it bad that they're promoting to our growing gamers that war and violence as a good thing. Which is something else we need to avoid, linking games to real violence.

But they have been doing this sort of thing for the last 50+ years. Influencing certain music, television and movies to promote recruitment. They've been releasing a few games and such too, but this is really a few steps further.

So a few dumb kids get signed up, so what?
It's not the worst thing that could happen to them.

I'm a bit curious as to what WoW has to do with the army... I get it if they're peddling some army game... but seriously...
I'm hoping they teach the idiots they recruit to duck behind a piece of cover when they're near death so they can regenerate their health.

I think my biggest concern is that this seems to support the "games = violence in children" point of view. Its only a matter of time before some senator or overzealous pta member uses this as an example of how videogames are destroying todays youth.

Wait, since when was the US Army (or Defence Forces) been so desperate to recruit new personal?

War as a video game. Wait, that sounds familiar, I'm sure I've heard some grizzled type with a big shell... nah, must be dreaming.

Fingers crossed for Virtual Battlespace 2 - or at least ArmA: Armed Assault! Find out what war is really like, kids!

Dealin Burgers:
So a few dumb kids get signed up, so what?
It's not the worst thing that could happen to them.

Indeed... being shoved into an army instructed to fight for oil in countries which did nothing against the USA and putting their lives at serious risk surely isn't that bad...

On the other hand, you're right in the fact that it'll only be the really dumb kids signing up.

I don't know what makes me more sad. That the US Army does such blatant propaganda, or that these "Recruitment Arcades" Feature Games like Halo 3 and WoW.

The thought of these Propaganda Centers would be unpleasent enough if the Recruiters would let the Kids Play Games like Operation Flashpoint, America's Army (why isn't that featured in there, anyways?) or the earlier Rainbow Six Titles, but using games like Halo 3??

So umm, it's bad that they let kids play WoW and Halo 3 in a mall because the Army wants to recruit them? Or is it bad because they are trying to push the army as a choice?

Armies have recruited like this forever. The British Navy used to pay tavern owners to offer free drinks all night so that the navy could come in and kidnap the drinkers and take them to ships when they had passed out.

If American kids are so stupid to be duped into service by a tournament you, American, posters obviously have a very bad opinion of your youth.

Don't get me started on the New York times, a publication whose employees haven't had to fight for anything in their lives and therefore look down on the Army and all those who propogate it.

This is about the third story on this that I have read on this site, and just like the last, I am not getting why (and I am assuming your leftist) this is such an issue for someone who couldn't even imagine wearing a uniform of YOUR country?

Jumpman:
I think my biggest concern is that this seems to support the "games = violence in children" point of view. Its only a matter of time before some senator or overzealous pta member uses this as an example of how videogames are destroying todays youth.

I agree. This will just give them another example of the evils of video games.

Hey if the army wants to give me a place to game so be it; they just better not expect me to join them, and if the stupid kids want to sign up then fine.

Folks, somehow I doubt they're doing a Last Starfighter here. The games have nothing to do with who they're selecting to recruit -- they're trying to recruit them all, and the games are just a means of attracting the kids into the area. Paedophiles use candy, military recruiters use video-games, that's all.

Jared: Don't make excuses. There's nothing wrong with not wanting to join, so if that's the case, be honest. On the other hand, if you think you can't join because you're a skinny nerd, you've completely missed the point of basic training. Go through it and you won't be skinny any more. As for nerds, they need lots of those too.

stompy:
Wait, since when was the US Army (or Defence Forces) been so desperate to recruit new personal?

Quite soon after getting embroiled in Iraq, actually. Well, after Rummy an' his krew figured out that "shock and awe" alone wasn't enough to create a stable successor state there, anyway.

-- Steve

Recruiting us nerds? I can see it now. "ALL HEALS ON ME!" *bang* *bang* *bang* "SOMEONE PULL THE DPS!" "WHERES THE AOE!?"

Personally, I am surprised at how poor a choice games can be as a recruitment tool because if there is one thing I have learned from so called "realistic" war games, it is that I would die - alot.

The tool they have that seems to be the most effective is one of targeting impoverished communities and promising a chance at a future ... that is unless you die or become permanently disabled both physically and mentally. Oh, they leave that part out, huh?

How much defense have Defense Forces being doing lately, anyways?

I think WoW and Halo is like a giant piece of bait and the other simulators are just extra hooks in the water.

I personally have been in one of those simulators, well twice actually, one was for a Bradley and the other for the M1, and I have to say that the visuals sucked and it was reaally hot inside, the controls were pretty cool since it was modeled after a tank and all but I just don't see why anyone would join just because of a simulator. The biggest difference I noticed is probably the most obvious... You can't DIE in a simulator.

Volunteer armies are always made up of the poorest people of society. Even Benjamen Franklin understood this.

I like how Army recruiters never, ever mention that we are fighting two wars right now or that you will be shot at, repeatedly, and then denied medical benefits when you return home.

I do not "support the troops," nor do I have any respect for people who choose to "serve their country." Let's be honest, these people are motivated by self-interest; the recruiters know this and use it to persuade people to join up. They are told how they will get money for college, useful training and skills, hot chicks will want to have sex with them, etc. etc.

NO recruiter says, "Please go out and get shot at and possibly maimed and killed as a sacrifice for your country which needs you." They'd never get anybody to sign up!

Hooray first post!!

Yeah i dont see what they are trying to do with this. Army recruitment has suffered nowadays not so much because of the fact of Afghanistan/Iraq (though that is obviously a large part of it) its more the fact that the truth of war and the reality of it is much more accessible nowadays via the movies, news and not least the internet.
Whereas before, all young lads had to go on was what the recruiters tried to spin on them, now people are all to aware that they will be risking dying in some hellhole 40000 miles from home for ...what? An average paycheck?

Now Im in the army and dont get me wrong ^^^that isn't what army life is actually like, its just how a lot of people see it.

Believe it or not, if you survive the Army will probably change you. These dumb kids who go out there because of a video game are going to be changed forever.

And then, not all of them have to fight. In fact, most soldiers don't. Most of them wind up fixing planes or just sitting out on patrol doing nothing.

Anton P. Nym:
Quite soon after getting embroiled in Iraq, actually. Well, after Rummy an' his krew figured out that "shock and awe" alone wasn't enough to create a stable successor state there, anyway.

-- Steve

Heh, 'Shock and Awe'... naw, I'm done. Anyways, so they need more troop for Iraq...aren't they pulling out in 2011, or is that a figment of my imagination?

LastCelt1989:
Hooray first post!!

You're late.

Frybird:
I don't know what makes me more sad. That the US Army does such blatant propaganda, or that these "Recruitment Arcades" Feature Games like Halo 3 and WoW.

The thought of these Propaganda Centers would be unpleasent enough if the Recruiters would let the Kids Play Games like Operation Flashpoint, America's Army (why isn't that featured in there, anyways?) or the earlier Rainbow Six Titles, but using games like Halo 3??

I think they are just useing Halo to attract more people who then get inticed by VR offerings.

I was over there a couple months ago on a busy saturday and I wondered what the "Army experience center" was all about. It was completely empty, btw.

Thinning out the spawn of America's baby boomers, one ploy at a time.

Ah, that's a real pessimistic way to look at it. You know, I have to applaud the Army's initiative to try to meet people half way like this. Rather than reinstating the draft, they open up channels in which people can sample army life, and if they like it - hey - the recruiter's sitting over there.

 

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