TODAY: Follow GP’s Live Coverage of Protest March Against Army Video Game Recruitment Center

Anti-war activists will stage a rally today in Philadelphia to protest the Army Experience Center at the Franklin Mills Mall – and GamePolitics will be on hand to provide live coverage.

The $12 million experimental recruitment facility, equipped with PCs, Xbox 360s and violent games, is the first of its kind. While the Army hopes that the AEC’s video games, sofas and rock music will attract potential recruits, anti-war groups charge that the Army is using video games to militarize youth.

Today’s protest is scheduled to begin with a 1:00 P.M. rally at a nearby church. Speakers will include veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Celeste Zappala of Gold Star Families for Peace and a former State Department official, Col. Anne Wright.

After the speeches, organizers say that several hundred bullhorn-equipped and sign-carrying protesters will march from the church to the mall, which is about a mile away. Along the way the protesters will unfurl a 12-foot banner reading:

War is Not a Game, Shut Down the Army Experience Center

Upon arrival at the mall, the protesters will attempt to serve a "criminal complaint" on the Army Experience Center and the company which owns the mall. It is likely, however, that they will be denied access.

The protesters have apparently revised their original, potentially chaotic plan which, as GamePolitics reported in March, called for them to pose as mall shoppers and then descend upon the AEC.

GamePolitics will have full coverage of this unprecedented video game protest. I will provide a live Twitter feed as the event unfolds. I will also be taking plenty of photos and video and will post a recap after the event.

To keep up with my live Twitter feed, follow GamePolitics.

UPDATE: Pic at left shows the protesters arrving at the mall.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. Erik says:

    I want to go to one of these protests one of these days.  Mostly just so I can hand out a questionare that reads "War is not a: Game/Movie/Book/Televison program/Radio program/Song"  With the intention of them checking off whichever they find appropriate.  You know just so know just what media they would find acceptable.  Then ultimately throw all the questionaires away, because really their say doesn’t really matter.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  2. face777 says:

    I wonder what the average age was – the photo above shows elderly/housewife age protestors…

  3. Michael Chandra says:

    Wouldn’t that be deliberate deception then? The recruiter giving you false information about the fine print? Saying A while the fine print says -A?

  4. J3ST3RM4A3 says:

    What a bunch of stupid hippies.  Where is the local riot police when you need em?  Stick time is what they crave! 

  5. Nullanon says:

    You know, there are a lot of different depertments and yes, even people, in the "government."

    See, your view of the "government" as a single, huge entity is a fallacy of logic. Since our government includes people of all different backgrounds, races, sexual orientation, political parties and viewpoints, etc. the "government," for the most part, both supports and opposes pretty much everything that "government" has to decide on.

  6. Doom90885 says:

    Its funny how the government seems to support and accept violent video games when its convenient for them. The rest of the time they’re standing side by side kissing the ass of these ignorant soccer moms who blame video games for everything wrong in socierty. Typical government.

    In Scapegoats We Trust

  7. Monte says:

     if i had to guess, i’d say those contracts would probably include a claus for how they could extend your service… thus you can’t complain as it was in the contract and you just did not read it/take it into account…

    Grant it, if their is no such claus, and it is a legally binding contract, then i think it would be grounds for a lawsuit, as the military would be breaking their end of the contract. 

  8. Wolvenmoon says:

    If the military were hosting scholastic book fairs in elementary and middle schools, would you all be so supportive?

    Just like Lord of the Rings has some relation to medieval warfare, it is exagerated and turned to high fantasy. Violent video games have this kind relation to modern military service.

    The protest is because there is a mental segue between violent video games and the Army, and violent video games are marketed directly to ages 14 and up, much like Adult Swim’s cartoons are.

    We banned this kind of advertisement by cigarette companies.

    There was also significant pressure against the program G.I.Joe, which was unmitigated army advertising.

    This is no different than cigarettes in the flintstones or army shows for saturday cartoons.

    I will not buy securom games. and

  9. Zero Beat says:

    I think of it like a contract.  Unless both parties agree to an extension, then the contract becomes null.  So these extensions should be illegal.


    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  10. Verbinator says:

    This is just an excuse to hold an anti-military demonstration. War and games have a long and storied relationship. What is chess? A war strategy game. Same for most of the classic move and capture games. Whysingle out video games other than the reason they are an up to date target who has been "shot" at numerous times by other foes?

    With the current administration stepping up the military’s presence in Afghanistan again (can we please call this Obama’s War … pretty please?) and the likely ongoing need for garrison and police troops in Afghanistan, we need more young men … and women joining the military.

    But we need SMART young men and women.  Anyone who can "baited" into joining the army because they played a video game in a recruiting center’s lounge or online probably has no business being in our modern, high tech military, at least not in a combat role. But chances are, if you can flip burgers for Mickey D’s you can flip burgers for Uncle Sam too.


  11. KayleL says:

    I hope that protesters don’t make the arrests seem like the government is limiting their speech.

  12. Daria_C says:

    I’m fine with the Army using games to recruit. What I’m not fine with is the stop loss program. The Army made a contract with the soldiers designating how long that can serve.

    Think about it… You sign up for a year. The recruiter said that if that year doesnt go well, you can leave. However you learn that they just extended your army service for another decade. That is bullshit. And they arrest you when you try to leave.

  13. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Its not a game or a moive or anythign realtively fun, where were these dipwits when the army was useing film to aid recurtment?

    Protesters either have a brain or in this case mob like zombies who just want to btich about anything they can.



    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..

  14. Father Time says:

    I don’t get the impression that these people are violent nuts (especially since Dennis said they restrained one guy from going after the police) but putting that aside…

    Why would they go after Dennis, he is simply reporting on what’s happening, and without bias, wouldn’t they like that?

    Don’t protestors usually like media attention if it’s not biased against them? I mean it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this this means their voices are heard by more people.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  15. Attack_Gypsy says:

    Yeah, that’s why Anonymous wear Guy Fawkes masks, Nightwng. Co$ is especially viscious in doing that. They ruin you.



    Yes, I am a liberal. I also believe in a strong military, less government, and the right to bear arms. ~ Me Calling an illegal alien an undocumented worker is like calling a crack dealer an unlicensed pharmacist. ~ Me

  16. Zero Beat says:

    In their minds, it’s okay to use violence to intimidate as long as you don’t kill anyone.  It’s a terrible line of thinking.


    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  17. nightwng2000 says:

    Careful Dennis.  I see where one of those "protestors" took your picture.  These are the types of nutjobs who spread the picture around to their friends and "suggest" following you and doing at least property damage if not physical harm to their prey.  Just because they’re doing an Anti-War protest doesn’t mean they are Anti-violence.  A lot of these sociopaths claim they are fighting to protect lives, then suddenly use violence to force others to submit to their ways.  And, in their minds, it’s justified, whether through religious reasons or some other warped sense of rationale.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  18. Father Time says:

    Mostly the Catholic Church.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  19. strathmeyer says:

    "But how many other careers have as high a risk of being killed on the job the day after you finish training as the armed forces?"

    Yeah,  maybe you should figure it out before you say something stupid?

  20. Monte says:

     Ya, when it comes down to it, the protesters want to prevent people from make a bad decision that is based on false promises and a skewed view of things… They see such recruitment tactics as a way to attract people with a false view of the military and don’t do nearly enough to mention the negatives of being in the military… essentially protesters fear for those who sign up not knowing what they are really getting into

    and really, when it comes down to it, anyone who actually WANTS to be in the military will not need a gimmicky recruitment center like this… Recruitment tactics like this are meant to attract those who are either on the fence, or have never considered the military before… and those are the kinds of people the protesters fear might end up making a decision they might regret later on

  21. Adrian Lopez says:

    "Many people chooses their carrers with an incomplete knowledge…

    People have the right to choose their careers, not matter what it is."

    People always choose their carreers based on incomplete knowledge. There’s no such thing as an omniscient worker.

    Besides, the protests are not against those who are being recruited, but against those who are doing the recruiting. Protesters are criticising the use of materials that provide a false and romanticized image of what it’s actually like to be in the Army.

    Video games are fun and don’t cause serious psychological damage. War is often the opposite of that. It’s clearly not in the Army’s best interests to show people what war is really like.

  22. Wraith108 says:

    Many people chooses their carrers with an incomplete knowledge,


    But how many other careers have as high a risk of being killed on the job the day after you finish training as the armed forces? Off the top ov my head I’d say Police if you are on the beat and fireman and that’s pretty much it.

  23. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    Many people chooses their carrers with an incomplete knowledge, but many others know since many time ago what they want to do with their lives.

    People have the right to choose their careers, not matter what it is.

    The protesters are the kind of people who believes they can change the world with love, songs and hugs.

    The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship):

  24. nightwng2000 says:

    Actually, this is closer to the extremist groups of Anti-Abortionists that take pictures of people going into abortion clinics, pictures of doctors, and pictures of cars and their license plates so they can track down and, at the least, harass people later.

    Interesting that in both cases (the extremist Anti-abortionists who take the pictures and the protesters in this article), the protesters are using religion to justify their "pro-life"/"peace" stances.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  25. JDKJ says:

    Plain, white masks? Doesn’t everyone know that you don’t wear white before Memorial Day?

  26. Zero Beat says:

    I have nothing against the army using stuff like this.  I love it when the national guard brings in an inflatable obstacle course to school, though.  Those things are fun.  The only thing I don’t like is that I’m always busy doing something else whenever they have the rock wall.  I’ve always wanted to try one.


    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  27. Vake Xeacons says:

    "War is not a game" Of course, no body protests the USO’s use of arcades. Or recruiter’s TV advertisers.

    Personally, I think all recruiters are tricksters. They don’t tell you want you’re getting into. They all say, "If I had to do boot camp all over again, I would." Two words: BULL – Oney. Thing is, the games are no different than the outings the recruiters take you on to get ready. Going to park, and doing outdoor activities (and games) with other potential recruits. No one protests that.

    But throw cybernatography into the loop, and people snap. It’s all just another excuse for anti-military protests. Damn hippies.

    "Land of the free, BECAUSE of the brave." Semper fi.

  28. JDKJ says:

    Them protesters need some better chants. Like:

    War!! Huh! Yeah!

    What is it good for?

    Absolutely nothing!

    Say it again, y’all!

  29. JDKJ says:

    Not unless the protesters are the ones acting the fool. If it’s the riot police who, without provocation, are busting heads, then The Man looks bad.

  30. Vake Xeacons says:

     Only if it’s a protest I don’t agree with. Peaceful protests make the cause look good, and the opposite is true. 

    I checked Fox News. The only articles I found seemed to be supportive (or at least non-bias, if that’s possible at Fox), of the AEC. But I’d like to see how Glenn Beck handles this one. I pray he doesn’t side with us.

    Come to think of it, though? He’ll probably just bash the protestors for their anti-war, and won’t even mention the games.

  31. hellfire7885 says:

    Likely because they hardly get reported on the news, and some of the people who have the time to protest like this likely don’t work such jobs or don’t have relatives in such jobs. Ignorance is bliss I suppose.

  32. JDKJ says:

    I hate a peaceful protest. It ain’t even a protest in my book until the tear gas canisters and rubber bullets start to fly.

  33. Vake Xeacons says:

     Keeping up on Twitter. Fox has showed up. Interesting to see which side they take. Attack them for anti-war protests? or support for anti-game protests?

    Counter-protestor being a bitch. Not making us look good. Protestors are staying peaceful. Doesn’t look good for the AEC.

  34. IsoNeko says:

    Wheres the rallies to protest 9 to 5 office jobs?

    More deaths occur from them yearly than army…Granted their all suicides from overworked, underpaid staff but still!

  35. Adrian Lopez says:

    "What gives the arm chair critics of anti-war groups any right to complain on behalf of happy people following their career choices?"

    The US Constitution gives them that right. You, of course, have the right to ignore them.

    In any case, the protesters aren’t complaining on behalf of "happy people following their career choices", but on behalf of the young men and women who walk into the recruitment center without yet having decided upon a military career. They object to recruiting these people through games that provide a glorified and either false or incomplete sense of military life.

  36. chadachada321 says:


    Also, there are churches and other organizations that use video games and other media to attract potential "customers," why shouldn’t the army by able to also?

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

  37. IsoNeko says:

    As I said about 6 days in Fallujah. Those who sign up for war, know what they are doing. What gives the arm chair critics of anti-war groups any right to complain on behalf of happy people following their career choices? It doesn’t do us all good to sit cooped up in an office 5-6 days a week. Some people fight for country, some people fight for honor, some fight for monetary gain , and others fight because it’s just what they want to do. What gives us the right to tell them that they are wrong? That’s not to assume everyone goes into the Army to fight, there are plenty of other career choices too. Theres Medicinal practices, theres Mechnical practices. Heck there is even an office practice as an ICT technician, or a Personnel administrator. If the Army wants to appeal to the Youth, what is to stop them? Kids who will otherwise leave school looking for any kind of work, and eventually end up in retail or fast food. Could be better off in the Army. They will be physically fit, well looked after, trained in not only Army Practices but also Civilian Practices for when they leave. On top of that, it’s not like the Army will take in any old fool that comes knocking on their door. You have to be fit, you have to be educated and you need to have a good head on your shoulders. As my RAF instructor told me, your only as strong as your weakest link.


    (For those who remember my previous comments. I myself am a gamer, and wanted to join the RAF after I heard this Article on Gamepolitics – I was denied this, because I needed 5 GCSE’s and 2 A Levels, and I was missing the A-Levels. (Also, to become a Drone Pilot, you originally need to be a Fighter Pilot. Then they stick you as a Drone Pilot for a few months, then you go back to being a fully fledged Fighter Pilot) However I still carried on to apply for ICT Technician and now I’m waiting for my Basic Training to begin in June, and even after that I still won’t be ready to join until August. During my application process I’ve seen people denied for all sorts of reasons. Physically unfit, not tall enough, not smart enough. Someone was even denied because they had Acne.)

  38. Neeneko says:

    I wish they would protest the techniques used by local churches to recruit youth instead.

  39. JDKJ says:

    " . . . organizers say that several hundred bullhorn-equipped and sign-carrying protesters will march from the church to the mall . . . ."

  40. MonkeyPeaches says:

    They’re probably protesting against the army trying to recruit kids, since only kids play video games (sarcasm)

Comments are closed.