Imagine if part of your job training requirement included playing video games? Sound like fun? For young military recruits already experienced in gaming long before their high school graduation, this is a pleasant reality.
Playing video games isn’t just for fun anymore. The military has found that not only are they useful training tools, but also serve as effective recruiting tools as well. For many young men the prospect of going to work and playing cool war-themed videos must be a dream come true.
The soldiers being trained today are the children of the digital age. These are the kids who grew up playing Game Boy. This form of military training is not new. Flight simulators had been used back in the 1940’s to train potential pilots. The advanced technology of the games today has given the training a more realistic view of what war may be like. The Army even has a training and doctrine command project office for gaming known as TRADOC. They add some video game thrills and excitement to their simulations to appeal to the 19 and 20-year-olds that are serving and already hooked on playing when off duty. People who develop video games are hired by the Army to create games geared for military training purposes. This type of training is believed to improve and enhance hand-eye coordination.
Soldiers are well-known for playing video games during their downtime. It is one of their most favored leisure activities. Some are downright addicted to it. One of the favorites was a best-selling first-person shooter game called Halo 2. Although live training on the field is essential, the military believes that electronic simulations are also necessary. Some soldiers reported that during combat they felt like they were actually playing one of their popular video games. The line between reality and fantasy sometimes became distorted. There are soldiers who found that playing games like Halo and Call of Duty enabled them to execute in real combat situations.
Weapons used in these games are virtual replicas of those used by the soldiers in Iraq. Since soldiers today are far more knowledgeable about weaponry than their predecessors, they are easier to train. This is due to the fact that they’ve grown up with first-person shooter games long before joining the military. Being able to shoot and blow up people, objects, monsters, etc., in the virtual reality world of video games, helps soldiers of this generation feel less inhibited when pointing their real weapons at real enemies.
The goal of the soldier in war and while playing video games is the same: kill the other person and survive. Obviously real war is definitely not the same experience encountered in the virtual reality world. Video games cannot prepare soldiers for the horrors of battle and the deaths of innocent people. It may help them become better shooters, but the emotional trauma may be harder to deal with and walk away from. Games are fun because they’re not real. In war, soldiers can’t just press the restart button and start a new game.