Thursday, September 30, 2004


On of my favorite sayings is, "I am not a Navy seal, but I have played one in a video game." I play though games very slowly and do not play many of them. Honestly, I am not very good at video games, I tired of them very quickly when I was younger and never really developed the skills necessary to do well at the early Nintendo games.

The present generation of video games are more my style. They incorporate tactics, problem solving, and some video game skill. My favorite type of video games the realistic military rpg. I have really only played two of them: Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon. Both games are fairly old (for technology) and carry Tom Clancy's logo. I knew I had reached a certain level of expertise because when I read through walk through my solutions to the problems where better than the walk through's solutions. Presently, I am in the middle of a recon mission with the Ghosts (4th or 5th mission out of 50 missions), and once I finish that game I have picked out the next in line for my conquest.

Close Combat: First to Fight

Close Combat: First to Fight is an authentic, team-based first-person shooter created under the direction of active-duty United States Marines fresh from the front lines of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Set in a modern mid-eastern urban battleground, players lead a four-man Marine fireteam through the perils of modern urban combat. Together with the United States Marine Corps and Atomic Games, Destineer is creating First to Fight as a training simulation for use by the Marine Corps and will make it available to consumers in late 2004 for Xbox®, Macintosh®, and Windows®. According to Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Sharp of the United States Marine Corps, Marines from the First Marine Expeditionary Force have been working closely with Destineer and Atomic throughout development to ensure as much realism as possible in these games. Peter Tamte, Destineer's president adds, There is no guesswork on how to make the games realistic since we are developing First to Fight and Red Phoenix with significant input from Marines who, just weeks before, were being shot at in Iraq and Afghanistan.

First to Fight is brought to life by a visually advanced 3D engine created from the ground up by Destineer. This engine, filled with next-generation features like volumetric shadows, normal maps, natural skin lighting and specularity, promises to give players a first-hand look at the chaos and terror of modern urban combat.

First to fight follows in the tradition of Full Spectrum Warrior which was developed by the army. Full Spectrum Warrior was "Based On A Training Aid Developed For The U.S. Army."

I personally think, if I cannot have brand new full automatic weapons, the very least I can do to prepare for the eventual use of the weapons when the world goes post apocalyptic. I want to become proficient at acquiring targets, eliminating tagets, squad tactics, and blowing stuff up. It is a shame that the federal government has decided to regulate the buying, purchase, and use of machine guns and explosive material to the extent that it has.

On a more serious note, as games become more realistic training with them will increase. Why build a flight simulator, when on can be put on a CD and hand it out to your pilots. Additionally, the most successful training tools will probably be commercial successes also, at least for a niche market.

My question is, what are the disadvantages\advantages to having normal people access these training tools on every day basis?

Will a group of teenagers take over a school, using things they practiced in a video game. Many PC video games have tools where you can build levels. For a senior project on 3-D graphics, a friend of mine built a model of a well known landmark at my school. That model happened to be a building that could then be imported into the video game and played in. If teenagers built a exact replica of their school then practiced squad based tactics in a realistic video game, how effective would their preparation be? What effective offense (that they have not countered virtually) could be mounted against them from a law enforcement standpoint?

I have seen video games advertised for PC were you could download levels of actual missions that were performed recently by the US military, such as the situation with Saddam's sons.

Do these video games represent something about American culture? Do the show the brain washing of the military industrial complex that we have created?

I suspect in the next 20 years that society will have to decide if these are just fun and games or something more dangerous.


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