Game Journo Objects to Army’s Presence at Best Buy RE5 Launch Event

As GamePolitics has reported, the U.S. Army has taken a fair amount of heat in recent times over its use of video games and game-related events for recruitment.

Over at ripten, Chad Lakkis notes with a disapproving eye the Army’s presence at a Best Buy midnight launch event for the recently-released Resident Evil 5:

I couldn’t help but notice the “GO ARMY” recruitment tent mixed into the Best Buy Resident Evil 5 launch party video… I don’t mind the idea of recruiters but what I do mind is the methods by which they often recruit.

This isn’t the first time the U.S. Army has been accused of blurring the lines between gaming and recruiting. Promoting an official U.S. Army videogame and lacing their official army game website to contain soldier bios designed to look like videogame stat cards is youth marketing at its finest. Look at all the stats you can wrack up kids – assuming you don’t die first.

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  1. abninfantryman says:

    The specific qualification is that you have to recieve fire and return fire while serving with an infantry unit. I earned my CIB from my first ambush where I was blown up by an RPG, where as a Sergeant Major earned his by firing three shots during a small (two minutes) tick.

  2. Adrian Lopez says:

    Fossilization is a rare occurrence, so there will often be gaps in transitional fossils. Nevertheless, plenty of transitional forms have been found. Read this and be enlightened. Also, for a better idea of the relationship between all forms of life, please take a look at the Tree of Life.

    Evolution, by the way, is the opposite of random chance: through a process known as natural selection, organisms that are best adapted to a particular environment will tend to survive, while those who are badly adapted will tend not to do so. Random mutations introduce changes in living forms, but it’s really the environment that determines whether a particular change survives or disappears. Thus, the environment is ultimately what dictates the manner in which organisms evolve.

  3. Chuma says:

    I’ve clearly misunderstood what these medals are;  I had it in mind it was in some way linked to gaming rather than being in the army itself.

  4. Austin_Lewis says:

    There’s no medal in the military for reaching a target number of kills.  Sniper/spotter teams are the only group that really keep very good track, aside from Special Forces, of how many they kill. 

    The closest thing would be the CIB (Combat Infantry Badge), the awarding of which requires you to be 1) in an infantry or Special Forces unit 2) assigned to the unit during a time at which it is a participant in ground combat and 3) you must have actively participated in combat.  Doesn’t even state you HAVE to have killed someone, you just have to have been there during combat.

  5. Chuma says:

    Actually, fair enough on that score.  I was giving you a bit of stick over previous topics of conflict we’ve had during the election, but if what you say is true, good on you.

  6. Chuma says:

    Do any of these medals involve a target numbers of kills?  Because that would mean he isn’t a "fucking liar".

  7. Austin_Lewis says:

    Don’t forget that his gear is better, he gets to choose his own loadout, doesn’t have to wear the more cumbersome body armors (blackwater has a great sniper plate carrier that’s just fantastic, and it’s only like 60 dollars without plates), he works with people who are most likely better trained, and like you said, he gets far better pay. 

  8. Austin_Lewis says:

    Actually, I give money to a charity that helps soldiers get medical care, housing, get their kids into college, etc.

  9. abninfantryman says:

    ECA is taking too long to send me an activation email so….

    Actually in my numbers I was including my BAH, BAS, and jump pay. And my medical’s not free, that’s taken out as well as taxes and social security. I also have to pay for my wife’s medical and dental. So like I said, I make $4.86 an hour, before taxes and other deductions. And yes it’s a yearly salary, but I took my total monthly pay before deductions and divided it to explain the pay situation in terms that you and others could understand. $4.86 an hour is alot worse than the hundreds of thousands of dollars the civilian contractors are getting. My buddy in Dynecore made over 200k as PSD and as a sniper. Same type of shit I do and he gets paid way more with less threat.

  10. abninfantryman says:

    I do. As much as I despise the treatment of soldiers, our nation would be better off if every person had to serve at least two years in the military when they turn 18.

  11. Austin_Lewis says:

    By the way, these ‘stats cards’ don’t seem to be keeping track of kills or anything like that, suggesting that the author is a fucking liar as well.  They just show what medals the individuals have earned and what one has to do to attain them, what badges, etc, they have.  

  12. Weatherlight says:

    As I invited the previos poster come over to the ECA forums and I will be more then happy to continue the discussion, however it has been requested that I try and stay on topic when posting comments.


  13. Austin_Lewis says:

    Right.  So when games just happen to have soldiers in them, it’s fine and in many cases fantastic, but when the army shows up and helps everyone have a good time at a launch event while trying to recruit, it’s ‘very wrong’, just like their game.  What a moronic stance.

  14. Wolvenmoon says:

    Without definite transitionary forms between species, and without a discovered mechanism to allow the rewriting of the reproductive code, much less the genetic code, evolution stands on very unstable ground. I’m certain you still believe in neanderthals, I suggest you look that up. The word ‘magically’ is the best word to describe what’s happening in macroevolution.

    You do know that when the mechanism in a cell that double checks the DNA in the cell is disabled, it usually leads to cancer, correct?

    Is your knowledge of evolution based on anything further than dated high school textbooks that are forbidden to discuss other theories? Have you directly observed evolution in progress? What makes you so certain that evolution is not just government sponsored dogma? (My assertion is not that evolution is government dogma, but that it’s taught like it.)

    If you look at what happens to creationist scientists, or even scientists that doubt evolution, it reminds you of the medieval catholic church’s persecution of people who said that the earth was not the center of the universe. (Which, ironically enough, is said in the Bible.)

    As far as bringing people to Christ goes, there is no earthly benefit, nor is there a per-person benefit in the afterlife. I’d like to ask where you get your information about Christianity, and if you’ve even ever cracked open the new testament?


    I will not buy securom games. and

  15. Austin_Lewis says:

    Airborne leads the way.  Also, the more schools you manage to attend, the quicker you rise from being a disposable asset to an asset.  Not a huge difference in treatment, but if you’re good enough at least you’ll be able to surround yourself with people who aren’t borderline retarded.

  16. Austin_Lewis says:

    What other job is like the military?  

    Police?  No, they get to go home every night, don’t ever have to do anything that lasts for more than a day, and get homecooked meals, plus all sorts of ridiculous benefits (including the illegal kind of benefits, in some cases).  They’re also better paid.

    If you think the army is just like another job, sometimes it really sucks, then you have no fucking idea what you’re talking about.  The level of suck that soldiers go through is just god-awful.  Poor pay, poor equipment, poor medical help, just all around suck.  And of course, everytime someone wants to ‘balance a budget’, they get fucked over even more, like the 2 billion dollars that was cut out of Stimulus Part 1 that would have gone to updating VA hospitals and the like.  We can find millions to build tennis courts and light-rails, but we can’t give a few to the people who deserve it.

    Also, the numbres that he gave for his pay CAN be directly compared to civilian pay, because civilians making the same as your average, low-level NCOs (basically E1-E4) are often GIVEN THE SAME BENEFITS, EXCEPT THEY DON’T HAVE TO WORK FOR THEM.  Lazy people, underachievers, and in some cases good hard-working people just down on their luck can all get Section 8 housing, food stamps, free healthcare that others pay for, money for their ‘dependents’ (PROTIP: A LOT OF THIS MONEY DOESN’T GET SPENT ON THEIR DEPENDENTS).  The only thing the military gives that you can’t get by just being a lazy welfare fucker is ‘clothes’, and those aren’t so much clothes as they are UNIFORMS that you need, and most people don’t really wear them around the house when they’re not getting ready to go to work. As for housing, it mostly sucks.  Make no mistake, military housing runs the gamut from shitty (most bases) to beautiful (West Point has houses that are about 4000 square feet for all its cadre, at least they did last time I dropped by). Most is shitty.

    Another point I’d like to make is that in no other job do you use only equipment made by the lowest bidder.  

    Is it any wonder that so many of our more talented soldiers leave and join PMC’s where they can make a decent wage and continue to put their skills to use for the good of their country?

    On a related note, Airborne leads the way.

  17. MrKlorox says:

    Yes… I believe the word "magically" is commonly used by scientists to describe evolution. You must have tremendous rationale.

    Both evangelists and army recruiters do what they do as orders of their commanding officer. It all gets reduced to achieving merit/points.

  18. Faceless Clock says:

    I don’t see the problem. We need our military and they need recruits. I would never, ever join the military, but for a lot of people it can be a good decision. Getting uppity because the military is catering to its target audience – young men – is ridiclious. If you have the luxury of a voluntary military force, then you shouldn’t complain when you see that military force actually recruiting. The alternative is mandatory enlistment, and no one wants that.

    The Honest Game –

  19. Weatherlight says:

    Just as a side comment to add to yours, I don’t believe you can do more then add your name to a list to have a recruiter contact you at these events. So its not like its a spur of the moment, see a tent and join the army type of deal either.


  20. Weatherlight says:

    Obviously, your unhappy with where you are. (sorry, but what type of opening statement is that?)

    Who isn’t having trouble paying the bills? My family has been eligible for food stamps since I was 11 (I am 23 now). My father is a disabled marine corps vet. Some of the doctors over at the VA hospital are pretty bad, but that is with anywhere. As for barracks issue you are referring to, I am only familiar from the news reports, and all I can say is they should not have been put in that building even temporarily, they should have put you all out in tents and my understanding is also that they were in the process of building new barracks at that location. Still no excuse, I would be really pissed (putting it very nicely) if they tried that crap on me.

    The numbers you are giving for your pay cannot be compared directly to civilian pay. Because you are receiving allotments for housing, dependents, food, cloths and various other services in addition to your base pay. Not to mention, hourly pay? Isn’t it a yearly salary broken up into smaller allotment?

    The quality of military bases varies greatly and sometimes they are pretty bad, however on the good side of things, I am looking at working for a company that will be building new on-base housing, so hopefully I will be able to improve on the housing situation for you.

    The army is just like another job, sometimes it really sucks.

    If you want to discuss this further, feel free to send me a PM or create a topic over on the ECA Forums.


  21. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Why should the Army be blocked from reaching out to their target demographic. We have laws in place that state that one must be 18 or older to join the army. One must be at least 17 to file the paper work. At this event you have people who can either join or submit the paperwork. What is wrong with that?

    Now if they were letting people or even suggesting to people who are not old enough to lie about their age, you can complain. If they were forcing people to join before they could buy the game, you can complain.

    Not everyone that will join will actually seek the Army out. Some people need to have the option presented to them before they make that choice. That is all the Army is doin in this case.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  22. Wolvenmoon says:

    You’re comparing people that believe they exist for a purpose, and after their death there is more, to the army?

    If you want to believe you’re the result of random mutations in your genetic code that somehow magically got transferred into your reproductive code, exist only to reproduce and die, and when you die you disappear into a void that’s entirely your choice.

    However, other people with exactly the same amount of choice you have believe that they’re specially created for a purpose on this Earth, and after they die they aren’t ended.

    I have to ask you this : Can you seperate yourself from your bias long enough to discern which of these is more enslaving? In one there’s a reason to fear death, and no reason to care about anyone but yourself. In the other belief there’s a reason to help others, and a reason to do more than try to prolong your own life.

    I can tell just by your words that you’re male and have no exposure to a woman that is deciding to get an abortion. You can believe what you want about it, but the fact is it’s traumatic, and often when carried through it’s life altering in a horrible way. You can google ‘mothers who regret their abortions’ and read about it. You can read their stories, how they felt purposeless, suicidal, hopeless.

    Regardless of what religion is presented, Christian, muslim, jewish, possibly even buddhist or hindu, they all grant some degree of hope and comfort regardless of the mother’s decision.

    What do YOUR beliefs do for the mother in this situation? "Oh, you just erased a person from existence." or "Don’t worry, it didn’t have a soul" or even "It wasn’t human, and the horrific depression you’re feeling is just hormonal. Get over it."

    The army’s recruiting in this event has ZERO benefit for the potential recruits. An evangelist in a planned parenthood clinic has potentially HUGE benefit.


    That said, there are many evangelists that are complete and utter assholes, but that’s nowhere near the majority percentage that honestly wants to help people.

  23. abninfantryman says:

    Obviously you’re not in the military. I am!

    We don’t get paid crap, army families especially have problems paying the bills with a lot of them relying on food stamps to survive, and people getting contract marriages just to make a little bit more money. Our health care consists of doctors who get a commission with the military because they could no longer work in the civilian sector without facing medical malpractice lawsuits, and who are more concerned about getting you back to the front line than actually fixing you. And if you’re wounded, forget it, you’re a piece of garbage not worth the government’s time or dime because there’s always one more recruit to replace you. The barracks are atrocious. It took a video on youtube and a barracks inspection by George W Bush to get soldiers out of WW2 barracks that had plumbing falling apart shooting feces all over the first floor. Soldiers developed lung problems because of the amount of mold that accumulated over decades. Buildings which would have been condemned in the civilian world were still being used by soldiers because the army was too cheap to build new ones. Only when high ranking officers started losing command did problems like these start getting fixed. We are on call 24/7 365 days a year, and we get paid less than minimum wage. I make $4.86 an hour before taxes and I guarantee you the vast majority of the nation’s work day isn’t as long as our’s. We are at work on average 12 hours a day, on average. We don’t get paid overtime and we can be stop-lossed passed our contract.

    Inferior pay, inferior medical care, inferior housing, and when we complain we’re told, and I guarantee someone will say it in response to this, "oh well, you signed the dotted line." Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to killing people and blowing shit up, I love my job, but I also know when I’m treated as a disposable slave rather than a valued soldier. Don’t feed people that line of crap that we’re treated well.

    As for the Army recruiting at game events. They’re called recruiters for a reason. They go where their target demographic goes to recruit them. What you’re really complaining about and trying to stop is them recruiting for a war effort you don’t agree with.

  24. MrKlorox says:

    The Army recruting at a videogame release is like an evangelist at a planned parenthood clinic. Both recruiters believe they are at the best place to get what they’re looking for; sharp eyed combat enthusiasts for Army, souls in need of saving for God.

    And the poor recruit becomes a victim of psychological slavery.


  25. Weatherlight says:

    The way it is written here is legal parent/guardian or parental designated guardian over the age of 25, so friends over the age of 18 do not count (I checked). If using a designated guardian and a officer questions it they will call your parent and ask where and with whom you are with, incorrect answer gets you all citations.

    Milwaukee, has similar wording, but does not enforce it except when there is an event going on where there are a lot of people and something happens.

    Lol, Wauwatosa, WI which is really Milwaukee. It is actually a really nice area, however the 7pm curfew only covers the mall, movie theater, and businesses around that area (which is pretty much everything). I was mistaken however on weekends there is a self imposed curfew that starts at 3pm at the mall.

    The curfew was put in place because parents left their kids at the mall (and surrounding businesses) all day. The mall is also a county transit hub so there are a lot of people going through there already. There were a series of fights that broke out, one fight which involved around 250 people. And cause tens of thousands dollars in damages to the mall and buses. As a result the city put the curfew into place. I put a link to one of the nicer articles if you are interested


  26. Weatherlight says:

    The military can be one of the hardest jobs out there, but I also disagree that they get treated like shit by the government. Its just like any other job, sometimes things don’t go your way, but that is different then being treated poorly.

    You cant be tricked into signing up for the military. That is one of the stupidest ideas out there. They put that stuff there to get you in the door and talking. If you are that weak minded that seeing COD4 and a motorcycle in a mall exhibit convinces you to join the military, then maybe joining the military will be a good thing because at least there you will get paid and be taught some common sense.


    BTW, if the recruiter lies to you or trys to tricks you into signing. It is considered fraud and you can get out of your contract and they will do time in jail.

  27. chadachada321 says:

    Every town/city in every state in the US is different. At my age (17) right now, I don’t have a curfew in my town, but the township a few hundred yards away has a midnight curfew for anyone under 18. Plus, anyone under 16 would likely have their parents with them anyways, and depending on the wording of the law, any "friend" that was over 18 could be that minor’s "guardian."

    And where you live sounds like a police state. Seriously, 7 PM curfew? You must live in a ppprreetttyyy nasty place to have a need for that kind of curfew, no offense.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  28. Weatherlight says:

    Well were I live anyone under the age of 18 was breaking the law just in being there. We have a curfew in place for those under 18, 10pm weekdays and 11pm weekends (Friday and Saturday) and in some areas including the movie theater there is a 7pm curfew, where anyone 18 and under must have parental supervision. They do ticket people for this and the fines range from $200 to $400 for individuals and often includes additional citations given to both the individual and the place of business.

    Best Buy is also one of the better places in checking for ID when a game is purchased, by me they clearly blow away the Blockbuster sitting right next door who doesnt ID anything be it movies or games.


  29. gamegod25 says:

    First off let me say I have the utmost respect for the men and women in the military. They have the hardest job in the world (a job I could never do) and the government treats them like shit.

    Now that being said I do feel that their recruiting tactics are a bit distastful. There is a recruiting center (or area, whatever) at my local mall. They have a big screen TV with COD4 or some other game and a big camo motorcycle parked in there. Why else would you have those there unless you wanted to trick people into signing up? It just strikes me as the same bait and switch as those stores that offer a one time discount if you sign up for their high interest credit card.

  30. Wormdundee says:

     Oh, it’s you again eh.

    I think Austin has covered the main points pretty well here. In looking at previous posts by you it seems you’re faily reactionary in the "SAVE THE CHILDRENZ!" vein. I don’t see what your point is with the 30% minimum under 18. I imagine that’s probably true, or pretty close.

    The thing is, as Austin said, retailers of video games are the best industry at applying the age ratings as evidenced by that study mentioned on GP a while ago. They’re there because someone is there to get it for them, although I’m not sure if carding standards would drop at a launch event.

    The point is, the Army recruiters are there because the game is rated M, which is definitely within the age that they go for.

    If they were at an elementary school or something, I could see your argument, but it just doesn’t seem to apply here.

  31. Austin_Lewis says:

    You’re right, all those kids at best buy were getting Resident Evil 5 without being ID’d, I’m sure.  But wait; someone over 18 had to come with them, and those people are eligible for military service.  So it doesn’t matter that there are people in the crowd under 18 (or 17 as is the age listed on the box), the game is obviously made for adults and older teens, the event was obviously geared towards an older group, so your entire argument lacks any basis.  This was a great place to do some recruiting, as well as a good way for some local recruiters to get in on the zombie fun, and maybe even get some practice for the real zombieocalypse.

    Calling this guy an idiot after having read his moronic article and watched the video is actually a great way to sum his whole stance up in a sentence, actually.

    The website isn’t being marketed to the same demographic that the Flintsones and Joe Camel were marketed to either, nor is the American Army game or Resident Evil 5 when it comes down to it, so your comparison is a poor one.  Once again, this was an event geared towards people 17 and over, not children, and I doubt very much that there were many people there under high-school age, so your whole ‘they’re trying to brainwash children’ line looks like bullshit to me.  But how about you watch the video, read the original article, and then try and argue your idiotic point again.

  32. Austin_Lewis says:

    The point is, they have every right to be there because the timing, placement, and reason behind the event are all GEARED TOWARDS PEOPLE 17 AND OLDER.  The job isn’t being ‘pushed on’ anyone, the recruiters are just there, and from the video, it looked like they were just trying to grow interest, much like the Army recruiters at game shows used to do (E3 used to have them, for example).

  33. Chuma says:

    Whether there is 1 person or 20 in the group is irrelevent.  You were making assumptions that noone is likely to be below the age of 17, which is an assumption based solely on the rating of the computer game in question.  Why wouldn’t younger brothers and sisters come along too to "look at the funny zombie people"?

    If you are going to use phrases like "what an idiotic thing to say" then you are opening yourself up to having your own bullshit called too.  I’m not anti-army, but I also don’t believe in recruitment officers badgering kids either.  A job whereby you are risking your life, however noble the cause, takes careful thought and consideration and shouldn’t be pushed on someone when they are buying a computer game or something else frivolous.

  34. Austin_Lewis says:

    But chances are that they’re coming to buy the game or with a friend to buy the game, meaning SOMEONE in each group has to be 17 or older.  Who goes to a release party and doesn’t buy the game, that’s just weird.

  35. Chuma says:

    Of course, whilst they cannot buy the game, they can attend the event.  No age restrictions on going to Best Buy.

  36. Wolvenmoon says:

    You know just as well as anyone else here that the M rating has no real effect on people <18 acquiring games. I’d wager that at absolute minimum 30% of the crowd at this event was under 18.

    <snips argument>

    Calling this guy an idiot because in a single article he objected to a single event in a larger picture is rather dull, don’t you think?

    Joe Camel, The Flintstones, the cowboy ads, the movie placements, all of these were used to get kids to start smoking. The video game industry and the army both use the same phenomona to recruit new players and soldiers respectively. Don’t you think for a second that the 80s army cartoons (G.I. joe, etc) weren’t meant to make kids join the army.

  37. Austin_Lewis says:

    Well Mr Likkis, I’m sorry you don’t like the fact that the Army recruits at Launch events for games meant for people 17 and over.  Maybe you should keep that little fact in mind, you know, that they’re trying to target people 17 and OLDER.  Also, until there’s a game that actually recruits kids into the Army as they play, there’s no ‘blurring of the line’.  What an idiotic thing to say.

  38. Austin_Lewis says:

    Actually, if you recall, Best Buy is a very good retailer insomuch as carding people.  Another point is that in order to get the game, SOMEONE had to be over 17. 

    The real point here is that this is a great marketing idea, not the Army trying to peddle violence to children.  The author of the article may not be capable of wrapping his head around the idea that the Army doesn’t know who will show up to this launch event, but knows damn well that the event is for a game that requires SOMEONE eligible for service to buy.  It’s a magnificent marketing idea (though the whole stats card thing seems ridiculous, and I don’t want to believe that’s true) and well placed, and your claim that the M-rating isn’t being upheld runs counter to what the FTC has to say, and between the two, I’ll pick their data on this one.

  39. yoda133113 says:

    So in other words, when dealing with honest and reliable retailers, solid.  In my experience the M-rating (and the requirement to be over 21 to purchase) has succeeded for the most part, after it’s sold not so much, but after it’s sold, it’s not the retailer’s or the industrie’s failing anymore (for either industry).

    Advertising for the Army at an event that is going to get 17+ Males who at least like shooting things with fictional guns (it was for RE5 after all) sounds like fantastic marketing.

  40. Firebird says:

    God knows we’ll need the Army when the Zombies DO start invading…

    Maybe everyone’s getting ready?

  41. Gaffit says:

    I don’t know, it looked like the Army was participating in the event by dragging zombies away. Maybe Best Buy simply had a deal with them. They’d tolerate the army’s recruiting if they made the event more awesome by taking part in the zombie madness.

  42. strathmeyer says:

    "Look at all the stats you can wrack up kids – assuming you don’t die first."

    Wow, it’s like he’s not evey trying to form coherent thoughts.

  43. olstar18 says:

    What you think they are going to let a little thing like that get in the way of their bashing of recruiters. Plus the fact that far to many people think of video games as something for children.

  44. hellfire7885 says:

    Where "sacrificing for your country" means going with artificial sweetener  in your Starbucks.

  45. MechaTama31 says:

    "I’m fine with the Army making a recruitment effort, I just don’t want them to succeed.  They should not be allowed to use methods and venues that attract the people they are trying to recruit."

    I wish people who wrote this kind of thing would sit back and try to recall when they were 17, and how they would feel about someone implying that they are stupid enough to think games represent what being in the army is really like.  Let’s give our teens a little credit here. 

  46. NovaBlack says:

    hmm i was going to say this kinda leaves a bad taste in your mouth like, its just not quite appropriate.


    But then i read Austin_Lewis comment and realised id forgotten that RE5 is an 18 rated game, so it only applies to adults anyway. No problem with that. To be fair, if an ADULT falls for that marketing ‘stat card’ rubbish, then they have nobody to blame but themselves.

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