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Topic: Using a videogame to recruit teenagers to the US Army?

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N64_Gamer

1. Posted:

I just finished downloading America's Army 3 on Steam. It was free, so I thought "why not?"
However, before I got to download it, I had to agree with the license agreement. I thought the first line was kind of funny:
"This product is owned by the government of the United States of America..."

Looking up the game on Wikipedia gave me all the information I needed:
"America's Army (also known as AA or Army Game Project) is a series of video games and other media developed by the United States Army and released as a global public relations initiative to help with recruitment..."

So the government in America has basically developed a FREE videogame that teenagers can download, which will in some way brainwash them into joining the Army.
Do you think this is ethical right of the American government?

Edited on by N64_Gamer

N64_Gamer

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Firkraag

2. Posted:

I've played it, and if that game makes people do anything other than uninstall immediately I'd be surprised. I wouldn't worry too much.

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Machu

3. Posted:

Depends on whether you are foolish enough to fall for their bait. ;) I'm not American, but have played AA since the first release as it is the closest game I've found to actual combat, having been made with real combat in mind. It's about tactics and teamwork, more so than any other fps I've ever played. And yes, they do use it as a recruitment tool, but only if you are some uber-dude who takes charge and leads a team to victory over and over, then you might get their attention. Just ignore the propaganda on the loading screens and such and you will find a really addictive fps, and for free. :)

EDIT: Contrasting opinions already huh. lol

Edited on by Machu

Rawr!

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N64_Gamer

4. Posted:

Firkraag wrote:

I've played it, and if that game makes people do anything other than uninstall immediately I'd be surprised. I wouldn't worry too much.

I'm not sure if other people agree with you on this. Seems like it has received a lot of positive marks and received a lot of good awards:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America%27s_Army#Reception

N64_Gamer

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Vendetta

5. Posted:

Just watched some Youtube vids and it looks pretty cool, actually. I dig the realism.

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Philip_J_Reed

6. Posted:

N64+Gamer wrote:

So the government in America has basically developed a FREE videogame that teenagers can download, which will in some way brainwash them into joining the Army.

I think it's more than a little alarmist to jump to the conclusion that "it will brainwash" anyone.

It's a means of advertising the Army, just like posters, billboards and TV commercials are means of advertising the Army. Do billboards brainwash you? Do Army-themed music videos shown before major motion pictures brainwash you?

It all comes down to your definition of "brainwash." Personally I think brainwashing and advertising are two very different things. Does the game make the Army seem more appealing than it probably is? Yeah, most likely it does. All advertising makes its product or service look more appealing than it really is. That's rule #1 of advertising.

Doesn't Doritos or something have a free game on Xbox Live Arcade? Is that brainwashing people into buying Doritos? I doubt it; it's just advertising them.

It's okay. The Army has been using recruitment tools of all kinds as long as I can remember. You name the medium, and the Army's been peddling itself there. It's what happens when your nations armed forces are voluntarily staffed; you need to make it appealing, otherwise nobody volunteers.

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Machu

7. Posted:

I didn't care about who made it, it was just a phat game, I lost weeks and weeks of my life trying to cross that flaming bridge, and when you did, it was sooo rewarding. And that was just one of many scenarios and levels. I took the extra time to take the medical training too and then would volunteer to be the medic on the field. For everyone you fixed, you got more points and your buddy's would defend you whilst you were busy, so the team stood a better chance. ;) This is the game I found when I had grown tired of CS, this is the thinking man's CS.

And yeah, free!

Rawr!

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The_Fox

8. Posted:

Chicken+Brutus wrote:

Doesn't Doritos or something have a free game on Xbox Live Arcade? Is that brainwashing people into buying Doritos? I doubt it; it's just advertising them.

They sure do, and it hasn't done.....

Did you know Cool Ranch Dorittos are a fresh blast of flavor in every bite?

....me the slightest bit of harm. I think that people.....

Dorittos not only taste great, but are healthier than some other chips out there!

....are going to just see it as an ad, not brainwashing. Just throwing in....

Dorittos! Prepare to take snacking to another level!

...my two cents on the issue.


EDIT: Fixed your quote tags. EVEN CHEESIER THAN YOU REMEMBER!

Edited on by Philip_J_Reed

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warioswoods

9. Posted:

It's not a matter of brainwashing, but it is morally problematic nonetheless. It's fine (and certainly unavoidable) that products will be sold using whatever techniques available to make them more appealing to consumers, but the military should not be marketed in the same manner. It's not just a product, it's a rather serious and immense commitment to serving in a capacity where you'll likely be required to undertake acts of violence for the sake of your country, etc. No one's motivation going into the armed forces should be in any way based on an enjoyment of war scenarios in films or video games.

There are actually two distinct issues at play here; one is the potential for individuals to be misled regarding what they'll actually face in the military, when no one should be making that decision without a very thorough understanding of the reality of the consequences, in a way no game is likely to convey, as there is a fundamental difference between a virtual war and a real war.

The other issue, however, is much more important if you ask me, and is the problem of joining the military with the wrong motivation. One might counter that the motivation is less important than the results, but the fact is that one's motives will have enormous consequences for conduct in difficult situations. Contracted military forces have all sorts of unique difficulties due to the way in which their compensation relates to their service; likewise, I would never want someone to carry a weapon on behalf of my country if he or she enjoys the fight, or gets any satisfaction out of violence. Certainly there are situations in which violence is justified, but it's never justified to enjoy it; you should be soberly aware of the gravity of what you're doing, and respectful of the life you're taking, even if there's no question that in a certain context that it has to be done.

Of course, I haven't played this particular game, and don't know all the details as to how it invites the player to enjoy the combat, but one should certain have some reservations about using games in that manner.

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Philip_J_Reed

10. Posted:

All very valid points, doubledub. Certainly worthy of a debate of its own, preferably among people much smarter than myself.

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theblackdragon

11. Posted:

... so which do you prefer, the carrot that is hyped-up advertisements and propaganda like movies, documentaries, and video games, as well as sign-up bonuses and free education, or the stick that is the draft? if they want you, the government's gonna get you, with or without enticements like this game. :: shrug ::

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warioswoods

12. Posted:

I prefer neither; if there are not enough citizens who are willing, for the right reasons, to risk their lives in a particular war, then it's either a war we shouldn't be fighting, or leadership hasn't succeeded in making a compelling rational case.

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irken004

13. Posted:

This guy = Best. Soldier. EVER.
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ASDFGHJKL

14. Posted:

Better than a draft at least...

ASDFGHJKL

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Devil_Hunter_Dante

15. Posted:

Well I live in the U.S. and as far as I know they have been making these games for more than a few years now. There was even a retail version last generation for the original XBOX. Check out at this link http://xbox.ign.com/articles/673/673118p3.html .
I can tell you the worse thing that angers me about the whole recruitment thing where I live they will follow you into a store and nag you about it and go to the length of following you around the store after you told them no 10 times (anyone say harassment ? ). The local Family Video store has a Navy recruiter next to it and every time I would go into the movie store he would jump up and try soliciting new recruits. Similar when the Army recruitment office was next to the Save A Lot grocery store where I live. Needless to say the recruiters have all been changed over but I do not go to them stores anymore due to this harassment. Sorry for the rant !

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theblackdragon

16. Posted:

warioswoods wrote:

I prefer neither; if there are not enough citizens who are willing, for the right reasons, to risk their lives in a particular war, then it's either a war we shouldn't be fighting, or leadership hasn't succeeded in making a compelling rational case.

in a perfect world...

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warioswoods

17. Posted:

@theblackdragon

That's not a matter of idealism, it's just a matter of democracy. Where a war is concerned, you're really voting with your lives. If not enough people are willing to cast that vote, the motion should fail. It's highly hypocritical for anyone to simultaneously (A) support a war, (B) recognize that not enough people are enlisting without coercion, and then (C) still not either enlist themselves, drop their current life goals to volunteer in a non-combative role, or throw every spare cent towards funding the cause. The only reason we're left with a shortfall is that an insufficient number of Americans actually support what we're doing in the Middle East, if they have to choose with their lives; and it's nothing short of the highest possible hypocrisy to endorse coercive measures for others to make the leap if you will not do so yourself.

My other point is actually independent of this, ie. the fact that wrong motivation is, for me, a fundamental moral and inevitably practical problem when it's a matter of individuals engaging in violence for their nation, so no recruitment should try to entice based on the wrong motives of enjoying the combat and violence itself. Not that this particular game necessarily does that, as I haven't played it, but that's a real danger with a video game.

Edited on by warioswoods

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edhe

18. Posted:

irken004 wrote:

This guy = Best. Soldier. EVER.
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pixelman

19. Posted:

N64+Gamer wrote:

Firkraag wrote:

I've played it, and if that game makes people do anything other than uninstall immediately I'd be surprised. I wouldn't worry too much.

I'm not sure if other people agree with you on this. Seems like it has received a lot of positive marks and received a lot of good awards:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America%27s_Army#Reception

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theblackdragon

20. Posted:

@warioswoods: i'm sorry, but the point i was trying to make was not that you were being too idealistic, it was that the government is too corrupt and the general public too willing to comply. you can talk about democracy and how things should be all you like, but the fact is that it all comes down to the people elected to be in charge, and in a nation so willingly bamboozled by flashy propaganda-filled commercials, cheesy grins, artfully deflected questions, and how much muck one side can rake up about the other, please understand my lack of hope that things will ever really change.

also, on a surprisingly-related side-note, when i first read the OP, i meant to bring up Toys, a Robin Williams movie that pretty much features this kind of scenario -- where kids and teenagers are recruited into a military force via video games. it's a great movie, if kinda dated by now. :3

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