The controversy over the United States Army’s use of video games to woo potential recruits rages on…
On Friday Reuters served up a detailed report on a new, $12 million recruiting facility opened by the Army at a Philadelphia shopping mall:
The U.S. Army Experience Center at the Franklin Mills shopping mall in northeast Philadelphia has 60 personal computers loaded with military videogames, 19 Xbox 360 video game controllers and a series of interactive screens describing military bases and career options in great detail.
Potential recruits can hang out on couches and listen to rock music that fills the space.
The center is the first of its kind and opened in August as part of a two-year experiment. So far, it has signed up 33 full-time soldiers and five reservists — roughly matching the performance of five traditional recruiting centers it replaced.
However, Iraq war vet Jesse Hamilton criticized the operation:
[The Army Experience Center is] very deceiving and very far from realistic. You can’t simulate the loss when you see people getting killed. It’s not very likely you are going to get into a firefight. The only way to simulate the heat is holding a blow dryer to your face.
GP: This is a tough call. While games like Call of Duty 4 tend to glamorize combat, the Army obviously needs recruits and young men have always been its core recruitment demographic. What do you think, GP readers?