America’s Diplomat Parodies America’s Army Game

Comedy troupe the Yes Men spoofed the New York Times yesterday with an elaborate prank which saw hard copies of a faux NYT distributed in New York and several other major U.S. cities.

The feel-good parody edition was reportedly created to encourage President-elect Barack Obama to keep his campaign promises.

There’s a game angle to the prank as well. Among the stories in the parody edition is one which reports that the Defense Department’s popular America’s Army game has been cancelled as part of the elimination of the Army’s entire recruitment budget. In its place, the story says, the State Department will offer the more peaceful America’s Diplomat.

The avowed purpose of America’s Diplomat is to encourage young people to consider careers in the diplomatic corps, and to present non-military alternatives in a positive light. Where the ability to aggressively attack and kill opponents spelled success in America’s Army, America’s Diplomat stresses situations that demand negotiation, dialogue and peaceful outcomes…


Lenny Purvill, a 16-year-old player, noted an initial disappointment in finding his favorite online game replaced. “I liked to pretend I was in the army going on missions in Iraq. And blowing stuff up was fun,” he told the press. Purvill, who has been playing the game since he was 13, had been considering signing up when he turned 18.

His initial disappointment, however, was replaced by fascination as he facilitated a peaceful negotiations between Sunni and Shiite militiamen. “It was like, are they gonna shoot each other? No! They’re not! ’Cause I’m helping them settle their differences with diplomacy. It’s so awesome,” he said.

GP: "Comedy troupe" might not be the most appropriate description of the Yes Men. Their Wikipedia page terms them "culture jamming activists."

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  1. 0
    LoopyChew says:

    "Guerilla Activists?"

    I’d love to see a game like this, though, but I could only imagine how crazy the AI system would have to be to try and emulate the general feeling of a populace filtered by the general mood fo the diplomat to whom you’re talking…

  2. 0
    Jack says:

    This reminds me of a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. It went something like this..


    Calvin: Lets play war!

    Hobbes: Why war? Why don’t we play peace instead?

    Calvin: Too few role models.

  3. 0
    mogbert says:

    Coincidently, a page from the 2068 Wikipedia fell through a wormhole has them described as a "bunch of pedants who were the first ones against the wall when the revolution came."

  4. 0
    SimonBob says:

    Yeah, but the page on wikip in my head terms them as "a bunch of pedants who’ll be the first ones against the wall when the revolution comes," so I’d stick with comedy troupe after all.

    (Is ‘troupe’ spelled with an e?  Really?  Huh.)

    The Mammon Industry

  5. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    I there with you. I would love to play a game like that.

    I remember playing the old adventure games and talking my way out of tough situations. One that stands out was the Lucas Arts Adventure, Indiana Jones and the Lost City of Atlantis. In the game, depending on what you said at a certain point, would either send you down a path full of fist fights or one filled with more puzzles and sweet talk. The non violent route was the one I found to be more fun.

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