Do you believe that these computer war games, with their incredible graphics, make a difference in what incoming Marines know or what they think they know? I can see where the former would be an advantage (i.e., they come in with some useful knowledge), while the latter might be actually dangerous (i.e., they have just the right mix of ignorance and knowledge to hurt someone). Also, do these games affect recruitment? Are young men positively or negatively influenced regarding the military as a result of these games?”
I don’t know anything about video games. I pretty much hate them because I suck in any virtual reality. Inevitably I throw the controller down in frustration because I can’t get the cross hairs off the ceiling and can’t hit a damned thing. Normally I storm off remarking I am better at this kind of thing in real life.
My parents had a friend once who told a story about her young grandson (I want to say he was 5 maybe). He was really brilliant with computers and video games. He was so good his mother tried to enroll him into a school for gifted children. The school did not accept him because while he was good at computers and whatnot he had spent so much time on them he wasn’t even able to kick a soccer ball. His grandmother ended up taking him outside to play and sitting him down to work with clay. He was even unable to do common things other kids do with clay at that age. The point: finger dexterity and video game skill do not translate into physical capability.
Do you believe that these computer war games, with their incredible graphics, make a difference in what incoming Marines know or what they think they know?
Nope, young men always think they know something. They don’t know jack. Not sure how in the world playing a game in the comfort of their homes translates to running in the 130 degree desert heat with 100lbs of body armor on when someone is trying to kill you. There is nowhere to ‘spawn’ another avatar of yourself and continue the fight. Ask your son to play Call Of Duty where they all have to quit playing after they die the first time. Not as much fun I’ll wager. If anything I think the video game era makes recruits worse candidates. They spend a lifetime on the couch playing games and then join up and can’t even run a mile.
As far as knowledge goes, even book knowledge has never been superior to practical experience. Even if they gain some technical knowledge of weaponry I really have a hard time trying to imagine what it could be. They certainly don’t learn how much weapons weigh as they would never be able to physically handle all the arms they carry on them in these games. How is it possible for a human being to run around with a pistol, hand grenades, machine gun, sniper rifle, flame thrower, grenade launcher, shotgun, and an anti tank rocket?
Do these games affect recruitment?
I really couldn’t say if they affect recruitment or not. I know active duty and civilians both love to play though. I believe Terminal Lance has a cartoon dedicated to the anticlimactic transition from video game to real world.
Are young men positively or negatively influenced regarding the military as a result of these games?
My XO told me a story about his last return from Afghanistan. He walked into a store and the overweight clerk asked him if he was military. Then asked him what it was like over there.
“Was it just like call of duty?”, he asked eagerly.
My XO, not really interested in describing what really happened, replied with: “Yeah, I was just changing magazines [reloading] the whole time.”
Clerk: “Aw man! I totally knew it!”
So I can say with some certainty that Call of Duty does not reflect the realities of war nor does any “skill set” gained by playing translate into real world ability. If anyone thinks they are “training” by playing games they are dead wrong.
Finally, playing Call of Duty doesn’t prepare one for combat any more than Mortal Combat prepares one for the UFC. I wonder what Mike Tyson would think about some fat kid who claimed he was ready for a boxing career because he kicked all kinds of ass at Punch Out?