U.S Military’s Take on First-Person Shooter Games

Violent video games, especially first- person shooters, have become embedded within the culture of America over the past several decades. Americans like to play FPS games for pure, innocent fun while others love the exhilarating feeling of eliminating an enemy.

U.S military has found the popularity of FPS games a welcoming development. The military has encouraged many of its soldier’s to play these video games as a way of continuing combat training.

What effects do these video games have on U.S soldiers? Do they actually help in recruiting, training and retaining troops?

From Battle Screen to Battlefield

Many U.S military believed that they have to stay in the mindset of a soldier even when they are not on duty. For them, FPS games were the perfect tool for achieving this goal.

Amongst the popular games played by soldiers are “ARMA 2”, “Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2”, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare”  and “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2”. These video games are a reflection of real-life combat situations.

FPS games enable players to work together as a team. You have to create a tactical plan as a team and deliver this plan as a team as well. When one team member is down, you have to rush to his rescue and help bring down the enemies. You also look after each other, when one teammate is short in life, you can give your own extra life. This goes the same in the real battlefield. You can’t just rush into the enemy’s camp alone or leave your fellow soldier wounded in the fight.

Playing these games is not only a great way of killing time but it’s also effective in harnessing combat attitudes that are essential in the real battlefield.

Altered Realities

Though there’s the undeniable similarity, FPS games don’t accurately simulate what the real life of soldiers are like. First, military tours of duty don’t solely mean having chaotic and hard-charging battles like those in FPS. Most of the soldiers don’t participate in any full-frontal combat operations.

Most importantly, there are no ethical and legal considerations in the digital world. There are no ramifications when innocent people are killed or when things go wrong. These games could somehow influence how people think of the real-world consequences. A study conducted by psychologists Jolanda Jetten, Brock Bastian and Helena R.M. Radke in 2012 shows that players have the tendency to desensitize to real-life violence and suffering from others by playing violent video games. Click here to know more about this study.

When you lose an avatar in the game, you just reboot it and you can get a new one. In real life, when you lose a fellow soldier, you’ve lost that soldier forever. You have to go through the painful process of calling his family and burying his body.

Though FPS games offer a tantalizing taste of the excitement and glory of the battle, it does not fully prepare them for the types of threats that actually exist on the battlefield.

Read more stories and tips about shooter games here.

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