Example Of Essay On How Do Games Influence US?
Identify and analyze a media artifact: a video game
According to research agency “NewZOO”, volumes of global games market in the 2014 have been about $81,5 billion with average annual growth of 8,1%. By 2017 the global games market will have broken the $100 billion point and with 32% of Earth population involved. This emerging market is likely to become the first among the entertainment segments. Currently, almost every second person in the USA play games regularly (NewZoo Global Games Market Report). A new market has already become a subject to intense government intervention through propaganda techniques. The reasons are evident: people are willing to perceive information better when they are involved in the process. This is where any plague idea may find its ground.
In the 20th century, the USA waged wars all over the world almost permanently. Sometimes our state’s interventions were perceived as vindicated acts of violence only due to the massive propaganda. Globalization and development of computer technologies provided the State with new means of influencing the peoples’ minds. The most efficient is “gamification”. After 9/11, President Bush declared a “war on terror”. This required trillions of dollars, and, which is more important, public support. So U.S. media corporations rolled out many “militainment” products that communicated certain messages through entertainment format.
So, I would like to discuss the issue of militarism in modern game industry, the influence of which on the minds of men is evident. Recent blockbusters, like well-known “Call of Duty”, “Battlefield”, “Medal of Honor”, and “Homefront” franchises are played by millions of gamers all over the world. “Call of Duty has become the most successful entertainment projects of recent years.
The problem I would like to address is how these games describe war and violence and to what extent the image they convey is influenced by US government in face of DOD (The Department of Defense). Such controversial issue needs a deep look on each aspect and below I will try to communicate my point of view based both on my personal gaming experience and authoritative sources. I will look at two famous franchises: “Call of Duty” and “Medal of Honor”.
Average civilian never participates in the actual warfare, but consume or play action games on his or her console instead. In this way many Americans build up their own image of what the war is. Modern action games present war as acceptable and even enjoyable routine. People feel themselves as heroes while holding their joystick they kill dozens of enemies with any possible conventional weapons. Games are more realistic and developers claim their products to be “simulators of warfare”.
And people highly appreciate authenticity of the game. Here is where DOD comes in. This government agency use digital area for its own purposes of: recruiting actual players indirectly, modeling possible war scenarios, maintaining public support for interventions, and even training soldiers (Medal of Honor: Operation Anaconda: Playing the War in Afghanistan).
After felling themselves in the place of a soldier, people are more likely to support any military budgets. Patriotism is the point of issue in any modern action game. The image of American soldier is getting more idealistic. At the same time, possible sacrifices and deaths are described in games as inevitable. Democracy needs it heroes and our freedoms has to be protected by all means.
I personally play every “Call of Duty” games, and feel how excited I feel after gaming sessions. Game developers like Activision or EA cooperate with DOD personnel as consultants. For its latest MOH games EA hired Afghanistan vets to assist them as design consultants in order to make the game as realistic as possible. Each scene is mare photographic, each battle feels like real. This is how games influence our mind and make us feel that this image of war is real. We start to believe that deaths and violence are vindicated for the greater goal of establishing democracy all over the world.
Call of Duty
It all started in 2003. Call of Duty was released to move from the pedestal one of the best WWII-shooter ever - Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. In fact, Call of Duty has become the first truly Hollywood blockbuster about the Second World War in the history of computer games: a fierce firefight, tank battles, chases and battles side by side with their comrades - all of this has been collected in the first part of the cult series. Each later game of the franchise brought it to the next level.
New Call of Duty: Modern Warfare released in 2007 set a new story and even a new direction for many other shooters. Now the action took place not in the distant '40s, but in the near future of our century. The player had to save democracy and the world of dangerous terrorists from the Middle East. The player had the opportunity to "travel" in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and the Middle East, where each location was made with love to details. This transition from the theme of the Great Patriotic War to the fictional war of the future clearly played into the hands of developers, and they realized that this setting is very successful due to its novelty and deeper level of immersion. And in this regard, it was decided to continue the series Call of Duty, focusing precisely on the near future. To my mind, this is a turning point from which the impact of Uncle Sam on gamers can’t be ignored. Innovatory graphics and gameplay made this series so popular, that it went on to break record after record. Call of Duty told us about Middle East in the way DOD would like to show it. Brave American soldiers against crazy terrorists in the most unreal situations went on to defend democracy. Patriotism pushed them forward. Each games associated himself with the characters.
Incorporating the settings of on-going wars Call of Duty takes war games to a higher level of realism, including more intense graphic violence. “Hank Keirsey, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, master parachutist, Army Ranger and former West Point history and ethics professor, has lent his expertise to the “Call of Duty” video game franchise as a military advisor and consultant” (Ex-Marine who makes games so real). Games, considered to be entertainment, have become really authentic. But the problem here is that sitting on the sofa in your living room you can‘t even imagine how the real soldier feels in such situations. This delusions created by misperception of war leads to deeper problem of misperception of real international policies regarding military issues. People, got used to violence and deaths in video games, don’t consider them to be so dramatic.
Arrangement between Call of Duty developers and DOD specialists shows, how video and audio effects combined with scenarios taken from real life can create both a blockbuster and the propaganda machine. (From America’s Army to Call of Duty: Doing Battle with the Military Entertainment Complex)
“Future research should explore the connections between virtual war worlds and real ones, to better understand the influence of war-themed games and training protocols on the conduct of war, and the psychic distress of real soldiers.” (From America’s Army to Call of Duty: Doing Battle with the Military Entertainment Complex)
Medal of Honor
MOH has proven to be the most realistic shooter of the recent years. I would like to talk about the re-launch of this franchise with Medal of Honor: Operation Anaconda, which following the trend tells about Middle East conflict. The distinguishing feature of this game was its “realism”. EA actually collaborated with Afghanistan vets when designing the game levels. Players encountered real situations and techniques used by American troops in Afghanistan. This has become a theme for a marketing campaign. Commercials showed brief interview with vets talking about their collaboration with EA. The actual war was glamorized and violence was diminished. This project was partially used by DOD in order to sell ideas regarding vindicated violence of the US after 9/11. Power is displayed as the only means of resolving the dispute, but at the same time US were shown as defending country. We defended our principles by conquering the others’ territory.
In fact, EA used 2 techniques in its game:
They both act perfectly in describing realistic warfare. “The game invited people to play war using the very same strategies and tactics the DOD employs in battle.” (Medal of Honor: Operation Anaconda: Playing the War in Afghanistan)
Digital games developers and the DOD have created military commercial conglomerate. It serves two main goals: propaganda and profit. I bet that customers also benefit from this cooperation between the two institutions as they get products of higher quality. On the other hand, they are objects of influence, which may have unpredictable consequences. Symbiotic interaction between game industry and DOD is challenging our ability to think critically. The one should never forget that game is not equal to real life. War and death on the screen may never be equal to real casualties.
Even ISIS use games to serve their needs. They created antagonistic game about “Jihad”. The formulation “this is our Call of Duty” clearly describes the gist of the issue. Games like CoD have become tools of influence not only in the USA, but all around the world (This is our Call of Duty”: How ISIS is using video games).
Matthew Hall, ““This is our Call of Duty”: How ISIS is using video games,” Salon, November 1, 2014. http://www.salon.com/2014/11/01/this_is_our_call_of_duty_how_isis_is_using_video_games/
“NewZoo Global Games Market Report,” NewZOO, 2014. http://www.newzoo.com/category/infographics/
Paul Bond, “Ex-Marine who makes games so real,” USA Weekend, November 21, 2004, http://220.127.116.11/04_issues/041121/041121daledye.html.; Steve Wilson, Vet-erans and the Digital Battlefield, DAV Magazine, November 6, 2013, http://www.dav.org/learn-more/news/2013/veterans-and-the-digital-battlefield/.
Robin Andersen and Marin Kurti, “From America’s Army to Call of Duty: Doing Battle with the Military Entertainment Complex,” Democratic Communiqué 23, No. 2 (2009);
Tanner Mirrlees, “Medal of Honor: Operation Anaconda: Playing the War in Afghanistan,” Democratic Communiqué 26, No. 2, (2014), pp. 84-106
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