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Videogames Are Far More Than Play

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the they-also-make-great-conversation-starters dept.

Games 25

USA Today has a piece up talking with the writers of Smartbomb about the greater significance of gaming in the here and now. From the article: "In 2002, the military released America's Army, a game designed to inspire young men and women gamers to join the army. Within one year, it was registered by 2.4 million people and nominated for an award by a top gaming organization. It was a blockbuster. America's Army, along with a game used to train recruits and a sci-fi, holodeck knockoff (a room that allows the participant to see, feel and smell a virtual environment), will be used to 'train soldiers for the emotional experience' of war, making up a part of the U.S. military's new DNA, according to Chaplin and Ruby."

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25 comments

I've tried playing this recently (3, Interesting)

sgant (178166) | more than 7 years ago | (#14485143)

There is hardly anyone playing America's Army anymore. At least I couldn't find any servers playing it. VERY small numbers. And it's a great game too.

Same with UT2004. Hardly anyone playing that either. It's either the morons over playing Battlefield 2 (which I've taken off my HD in frustration to the rampant tardism there), or one of the newer games. Some of these things just fall through the cracks and you never see them again. Yet there's still people playing Team Fortress Classic on the old Half-Life.

Oh well...

Re:I've tried playing this recently (4, Informative)

Sierpinski (266120) | more than 7 years ago | (#14485303)

There is hardly anyone playing America's Army anymore. At least I couldn't find any servers playing it. VERY small numbers. And it's a great game too.

This is probably because you are lacking one more more patches. I was playing AA not 2 weeks ago, and there were hundreds of servers, more than half of them were full. AA is still alive and well, but if you aren't patched up, you will only see servers that match your current patch level, which probably are few. Download all the latest patches and see if you can see any more servers than before.

You might also want to check your filters to make sure you aren't looking for some old map that nobody likes anymore, or have turned off some of the other filter options. There were lots of the US West/East "official" servers, and even more leased ones just recently.

Re:I've tried playing this recently (3, Informative)

quantax (12175) | more than 7 years ago | (#14485498)

I am going to have to disagree with your assessment of no-one playing America's Army or UT2004. I just really quickly loaded up a server browser to see how many people were playing, and currently (at 4:30pm EST):

UT2004: there are 212 servers and 1526 players spread between those servers, though notably, few are filled to the max and only 2 dozen or so support 32 players.

America's Army: there are 621 servers with 8102 players currently playing, and unlike UT2k4, it seems to enjoy a large share of of 28 to 26 player servers some of which are maxed out with players.

Team Fortress Classic: 197 servers, 1588 players spread between them, only 3 servers are max filled and only a dozen or so support more 32 players.

TFC is still being played cause very simply, if you are addicted to TFC, you arent getting that fix anywhere else at the moment; believe it or not, theres still about 60 Quakeworld TF servers running with a couple hundred players.

I have to agree about BF2 to a degree, lots of asshat-ism and the server browser is frankly a piece of crap, but its not a bad game in of itself. But your point is taken; theres a lot of great MP games that just die as far as their MP goes since people stop playing and move onto newer shit, but I mean, thats kinda the nature of things. Things change, we move on to newer things; besides LANs or bots, you have little choice but to move on with everyone else regardless. But I won't deny that looking at the Quake1 cd in my cd-case often brings a mild feeling of nostalgic depression from seeing something that once was great and pretty much no longer is beyond talking of it as a classic and the memories. Those are probably what matter in the end.

Re:I've tried playing this recently (2, Insightful)

karnal (22275) | more than 7 years ago | (#14486005)

Same with UT2004. Hardly anyone playing that either.

Actually, as a member of a clan and an active UT2k4 player (>1 hour per night), I'd have to say you're probably not in a UT2k4 clan. For quick pick-me-ups, there aren't a whole lot of pickins to choose from in UT (check out our RTO n00b assault server- there's always someone there!), but once you get into a clan (be it assault, DM, TAM etc) you get a chance to get in on scrims and pugs and all sorts of fun.

Yea, for the casual gamer, it's frustrating (UT2K7 around the corner tho!) but if you are dedicated enough to be in a clan (and I'm really just an average player) there's so much more to play :)

FREE (4, Insightful)

SafteyMan (860733) | more than 7 years ago | (#14485163)

I think the biggest reason America's Army was so popular was because it was a decent first person shooter - THAT WAS FREE.

Re:FREE (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14485442)

I agree - the game had a lot going for it:

1 - FREE

2 - Great attention to detail

3 - Beautiful levels (well - pipeline anyways!)

4 - Good controls

5 - Realistic limitations made for VERY exciting gameplay

Of course, every level except pipeline was horribly unbalanced, and after they introduced the Honor system, you could be banned from the game because a teammate ran into your line of fire (rather than vice versa)...

A much more interesting aspect of the game, I think, is that you actually have to train to be a medic. You have to sit in a 3d virtual classroom in an army hospital, watch a slideshow and listen to a presentation, then take and pass a quiz, all in-game, before you can be certified to play as a medic. For me, if you are aiming at making a realistic game, this is a welcome level of immersion.

Re:FREE (1)

JFitzsimmons (764599) | more than 7 years ago | (#14486329)

Splashdamage's Enemy Territory was also a multiplayer-only FPS that was free, and also works on Linux and OSX, just like AA. It is based off RTCW.

Re:FREE (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14486897)

Counterstrike is free. Although you do have to buy half life first.

Re:FREE (1)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14492359)

Then it's not really free, is it?

I, and most people, count the cost of a game as the amount of money spent pursuant to a game from the time they decide they want the game until the time they're playing it (plus any recurrant costs). Unless you've already got Half Life 2 and are just now deciding to play Counterstrike (and that's often not the case - CS has always been the mod that sells Half Life better than Half Life sells itself), your cost is $50.

AA, your cost is zero. There's no "base game" to install onto, no shareware to register. There's a download time, or you can buy it bargain bin at some stores, or you can go to an army recruiter. Many of them have the disks there for free (that's where I got my copy. Just be careful - some of those recruiters are ruthless and will have paperwork ready for you to sign in about 2 minutes).

The end result (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14485198)


Is that people go to Iraq, get bombed, die or lose limbs. At least they had fun while training with videogames.

I agree... (1)

Shads (4567) | more than 7 years ago | (#14485309)

... a violent, realistic game when combined with a full immersion enviroment could be used to de-sensitise someone to the violence it depicts.

Of course that requires a full immersion enviroment... which is completely unlike a keyboard and mouse setup which 99.999999% of people play with at home.

The emotional experience of war. (2, Interesting)

pahoran (893196) | more than 7 years ago | (#14485508)

"... will be used to 'train soldiers for the emotional experience' of war."

Really? Are they going to kill your friends off and tell you to suck it up and keep fighting? Are they going to separate you from your family for months/years at a time?

Re:The emotional experience of war. (2, Funny)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#14485969)

Are they going to separate you from your family for months/years at a time?

I take you have never played WoW.

Re:The emotional experience of war. (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14486970)

"Really? Are they going to kill your friends off and tell you to suck it up and keep fighting? Are they going to separate you from your family for months/years at a time?"

I had two interesting things happen during my short stint in that game. First, during the drill practces, I pointed my cursor at the drill instructor because he was talking. I was suddenly demeritied for pointing my gun at an officer. Second, I killed a team mate and ended up in prison. I was actally trapped in a little cell where I couldn't go anywhere. WTF? heh.

Okay, it's not the same, but they really did put some interesting war related details into that game.

reality? (2, Interesting)

drDugan (219551) | more than 7 years ago | (#14485614)

I think the army should consider very seriously just how "real" to make an immersive training envoronment. If they actually made it close to reality, not many people would join.

Will they include losing limbs? Losing your best friends? Not having enough armor? Superiors without a spine following orders against regulations? Rightfully angry people trying to kill you?

I can't imagine ANY 3D game in an immersion cave coming close to these experiences.

Go read this guy's experience: http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/wdc/118782492 .html [craigslist.org]

I don't mean this as a troll - I think that many people who go into the armed services in the US have no intention of dying for their country. They are trying to get money for college, and they are attracted to the excting images they see on the TV commercials: I love the one: "Join the Army - you'll learn how to work with computers" yeah right, at it's core, messages like these are simply lies.

Holodeck? (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#14485669)

They're probably going to power it with the old emotion engine from the PS2... wait.. I mean the old Cell proc. from the PS3, yeah. I hear that's supposed to win some sort of counsil war? You know, the one where everybody has an eyepatch [gametrailers.com]?

A little dry.. (2, Insightful)

Rapter09 (866502) | more than 7 years ago | (#14485733)

Perhaps it's just me, but considering the depth and the deep-rooted history of the videogame industry writing an article that seems to try and make a widesweeping comment on the explosion of video games that covers only one or two 'major' games seems a little dry. Maybe they should rename the article dealing more with the promotion of a recruiting tool. I can understand with what the writer of the article is trying to get at, but it needs to be a little bit more researched, with a greater except from 'the industry', unless i'm missing something big (which is entirely possible.)

Even more realistic.... (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 7 years ago | (#14485938)

If you get captured by the enemy in AA, it should make you wait 1-5 years before you can start using your computer again. Of course, you could always take the cowards way out and power-off your system (suicide) or read slashdots post in an effort to understand your captors (Stockholm syndrome).

That army game could only recruite the dumb (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#14486340)

Download it, play it, do boring training, join a combat mission, bam your death.

AND that is supposed to get me to join up? They used to tell you that it would make a man out of you, that you would get to see the world, that you would get an education (Says a lot about schools when the army puts up posters inside promising to give you an education once you are released from school).

Now they basically say, you are going to get capped by some camper. Woohoo! Sign me up! I wanna be that guy in saving private ryan looking for his arms. Geez, lure me in with promises of how the chicks love a guy in uniform (wich they do, the rich guy who got his daddy to assign him a post with the reserves while the poor guys get killed).

Oh and if anyone is going to claim realism in that game I can only say it explains why the war on terror is going so bad.

Re:That army game could only recruite the dumb (1)

Sierpinski (266120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14492904)

I wish I had mod points right now, I'd mod this parent down as low as I could. Its the stupidest comment I've seen in the games section in a long time. The point of the game was lost, the reason why it is an effective recruiting tool was lost, and I would be surprised if he played it much, if at all.

Now they basically say, you are going to get capped by some camper. Woohoo! Sign me up!

So you've never played a racing game then got into your car and imagined yourself hitting 220mph on a straight flat stretch of country road? Its a very subtle psychological effect stemming from the adrenaline of being in combat coupled with the desire to survive and to win. Do they expect people who otherwise would never have enlisted to sign up just because of this game? Of course not, that's a preposterous idea. Just like the commercials on TV, it just plants a seed. Some seeds never germinate, others grow strong. If you're never exposed to military in any way, you are less likely to enlist. This is just another form of exposure.

America's Army: VR Missions (2, Interesting)

drunken-sosage (769707) | more than 8 years ago | (#14487695)

It was a blockbuster. America's Army, along with a game used to train recruits and a sci-fi, holodeck knockoff (a room that allows the participant to see, feel and smell a virtual environment), will be used to 'train soldiers for the emotional experience' of war, making up a part of the U.S. military's new DNA, according to Chaplin and Ruby."

A Sons of Liberty dialogue exchange comes to mind...

Pliskin : So this is your first.

Raiden : I've had extensive training -- the kind that's indistinguishable from the real thing.

Pliskin : Like what?

Raiden : Sneaking mission 60, Weapons 80,

Pliskin : VR, huh.

Raiden : But realistic in every way.

Pliskin : A virtual grunt of the digital age. That's just great.

Raiden : That's far more effective than live exercises.

Pliskin : You don't get injured in VR, do you? Every year, a few soldiers die in field exercises.

Raiden : There's pain sensation in VR, and even a sense of reality and urgency. The only difference is that it isn't actually happening.

Pliskin : That's the way they want you to think, to remove you from the fear that goes with battle situations. War as a video game -- what better way to raise the ultimate soldier?

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