Proposal for future research

As Gee’s six-year old noted, “the bad guys become the good guys.” In the most recently released version of Medal of Honor, titled, “Black Ops,” already cited as completely unrealistic (Elliott 2011), the multiplayer option exists to play as US forces or Taliban in Afghanistan. The game is groundbreaking in that, previously, no game has ever been produced during the same time period of the conflict (KENRECK). Previous versions of war games have depicted Vietnam, WWII, WWI, etc but have all been produced years following the conflicts. This current day game allows for players to play as the Taliban and, essentially, kill soldiers. The problem comes heretofore in that, in current times, these very same things are happening. Four thousand deaths are attributed to the Iraqi War and that number is currently being broached in Afghanistan. War Veterans, regardless of what conflict they served in, will synonymously chime in that war is hell. At what point can the seeming invincibility of soldiers or the glorification of video games be considered enough? The United States Army uses “America’s Army” – a video game made and produced by the US Army – as its number one recruiting tool (Hsu).
A proposal for future research would be to investigate a comparison between actual war experiences and the emotions triggered alongside such things as compared to video game experiences. Alongside this, the psychological toll of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom could well be our generation’s Agent Orange, cites Dr. Sally Satel (Satel 2005). The wounds of the thousands of soldiers coming home from war takes form not always in missing limbs and dismembered lives but scarred minds and damaged psyches. It is notable in my research to point out to my detachment to the horrors of war. Research, is therefore, commendable on the link between post-traumatic stress disorder and the playing of video games. If soldiers that couldn’t perform in the field get a second chance to save themselves or their brethren, healing, perhaps, could begin to emerge.

Kenreck, Todd. “From Real Drug War to Video Game.” In-Game. Web. 23 Mar. 2011.
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Hsu, Jeremy. “For the U.S. Military, Video Games Get Serious | LiveScience.” Current
News on Space, Animals, Technology, Health, Environment, Culture and History | LiveScience. Web. 23 Mar. 2011. .

Satel, Dr, Major Gregory Burbelo and Nate Zinsser. “AEI – Soldiers, Psyche, and the
Department of Veterans Affairs.” Welcome to AEI. Web. Collection of studies. 19 Apr. 2011. .

One Reply to “Proposal for future research”

  1. This would certainly be an interesting area of research. I would also put in there the proposed game Six Days in Fallujah that was intended an interactive documentary for the battle of Fallujah. I know that I am not against the production of such games politically, but I would actually be interested to see the effects such games had on soldiers returning home.
    Someone recently argued with me on the realism of video games, namely in that video game documentaries are not really possible because violence is only fun when it is unrealistic. Games are only enjoyable and not desensitizing because the violence depicted is somewhat similar at best to actual violence. I am wondering if that would have any sort of psychological effect on former soldiers also. Would they be able to tolerate the game better and cope with the world better because the violence was not real or if it would have a worse effect. But that gets a bit too close to the psychology field for my field of knowledge.
    I can say that I think being able to accurately depict modern conflict is a good first step to being able to better teach through games. I think if we can make an effective recreation of a modern war with all the emotions of the time, we will be able to make a better game about Ancient Greece.

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