New Online Gaming Network is For Military Types Only

July 6, 2009 -

There are many gamers serving with U.S. armed forces around the globe and a new online gaming network aims to help them enjoy their down time by gaming online.

As reported by Shacknews, the Military Online Gaming program is being offered by Pro vs GI Joe, a non-profit best known for facilitating online game competitions between troops and athletes. The new network is powered by the GGL Global Gaming platform.

MOG launched over the July 4th weekend with a Call of Duty: WaW tournament between military personnel and members of the Atlanta Falcons. Pro vs GI Joe founder Greg Zinone commented:

We created the MOG exclusively for the hundreds of thousands of military gamers around the world, to serve as a virtual connection among branches and bases, during deployments, and as a source of entertainment. Our partnership with the USO allows troops to play wherever they are serving.

The Xbox 360 will be supported initially as it is apparently the gaming weapon of choice for most military gamers.

Via: Joystiq

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Xbox Live's Major Nelson Visiting Troops in Baghdad

June 13, 2009 -

Larry Hyrb, aka Major Nelson, is currently in Baghdad.

The Director of Programming for Xbox Live tipped readers to the surprise 10-day trip in a blog post on June 7th:

I am a few hours away from stepping on a plane for the first leg of my journey to Baghdad, Iraq for the Iroq-Band competition taking place next week. I am honored to be asked to support the event, and I am looking forward to meeting many of service men and women that are Xbox LIVE members...

 

With all of the travel and security involved in this trip, my online time... will be extremely limited... I want to warn you that I’ll be unusually quiet (which I am sure won’t bother some of you) during my radio silence. 

Major Nelson arrived in Iraq on Wednesday. Despite the heavy security of a war zone, he has been providing numerous updates via Twitter. Some of his recent tweets give the flavor of the experience:

It takes you back when the staff where we are staying have sidearms and automatic weapons.

 

Taking a scenic tour of downtown Baghdad aboard a Blackhawk heli.

 

Apparently I slept through a mortar attack last night. No one was injured.

 

Seems like Xbox 360 is everywhere on this base. The only thing they don't have is LIVE due to the poor connectivity.

 

Most popular games on the base? Rock Band, Halo, COD (any of 'em) and all sports games.

The pic at left is from the Major's ride-along with a Blackhawk sortie over Baghdad.

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On Memorial Day, Saluting Gamers in Uniform

May 25, 2009 -

It is a Memorial Day tradition here at GamePolitics to pay tribute to the many gamers who serve our country as part of the armed forces.

Putting the politics of war aside, it's simply a fact that the current generation of military personnel is inextricably linked to the gamer generation.

Today we are reminded of people like Dan Rosenthal, an Iraq War veteran who edits the excellent gameslaw.net blog and Stefanie Doctor Shea, who, after her husband Sgt. Michael Shea was deployed to Iraq, founded Fun For Our Troops. The non-profit organization collects video games for use by our military personnel overseas.

But mostly we think of those soldier/gamers who gave their all.

Army Specialist Stephen Fortunato hoped to design video games one day. A roadside bomb in Iraq ended that dream. Another IED took the life of Specialist Kyle Norris. PFC Tan Quoc Ngo enjoyed GTA and Halo. Sgt. Shane Duffy loved Rock Band; Senator John Kerry spoke of Shane's intense virtual guitar work at his funeral.

Today, let's remember the sacrifices of all of our military personnel.

PICTURED AT LEFT: (clockwise) PFC Tan Quoc Ngo, Specialist Stephen Fortunato, Specialist Kyle Norris, Sgt. Shane Duffy

UPDATE: Tech Bytes reports on a Google Earth tribute to fallen soldiers.

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Controlling Navy's Anti-terrorist Weapon System Comes Easily to Gamers

May 20, 2009 -

The U.S. Navy is equipping some of its vessels with Israeli-made Mini-Typhoon 12.7mm remotely controlled machine-guns.

The 370-pound system, which can be fired by an operator in a remote location, holds 230 rounds, sufficient for 25 seconds of rat-tat-tat. Strategy Page notes that the weapon is an effective defense against small boats such as those used by suicide bombers.

So, who might the Navy turn to for Mini-Typhoon duty? Gamers, reports Strategy Page:

The Mini-Typhoon uses a day/night vidcam and a stabilizer. The remote operator has an automatic target tracker, and can easily hit small boats two kilometers away... Operators with video game experience can be quickly trained to operate the weapon.

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Gamer War Vet Fears That Six Days in Fallujah Will Dishonor Those Who Served in Iraq

April 8, 2009 -

Just announced on Monday, Konami's upcoming Iraq War game Six Days in Fallujah is already into its third day of controversy.

Yesterday, GamePolitics reported on concerns expressed by several critics in the U.K., including a decorated former army colonel and the father of a Royal Marine who was killed in Iraq.

Today's interview with Dan Rosenthal is a little closer to home. Actually, make that a lot closer to home.

Dan (left) is a veteran of the Iraq War. He's a longtime gamer. He's also a law student and edits the excellent gameslaw.net blog, which we cite with regularity here on GamePolitics. I first met Dan at PAX 08. He attended GDC last month on on IGDA scholarship. So when he speaks from the heart about his war experience and his feelings about Six Days in Fallujah, I listen. As it happened, yesterday Dan and I interacted on Twitter about Konami's controversial game. Afterward, Dan was gracious enough to consent to this interview:

GP: Dan, when were you in Iraq? What unit did you serve with?

DR: I served in the U.S. Army, 3rd Battalion 124th Infantry Regiment... Our unit was based out of Florida with the Florida National Guard, but during our time in Iraq we were attached to several units... I arrived in Kuwait in February 2003, participated in the invasion of Iraq in March, and left around a year later.

GP: Where were you stationed for the bulk of your Iraq tour?

DR: During the invasion, we drove upwards through southern Iraq, helped secure the area around Nasiriyah, then moved northward and conducted operations out of Baghdad for the remainder of the time... If you've ever seen the movie Gunner Palace, that base was a few hundred meters away from our compound, a former Republican Guard general officer's quarters.  

GP: Did you see any combat?

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On Veterans Day, Tampa Bay Bucs Battle Troops in Madden, CoD World at War

November 11, 2008 -

The Orlando Sentinel reports that several members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will celebrate Veterans Day by gaming with U.S. troops stationed overseas.

Pro vs. G.I. Joe, the nonprofit group which arranged the event, reports that Madden 09 and the brand-new Call of Duty: World at War will be the weapons of choice. Tamps Bay CB Phillip Buchanon, LB Cato June, TE Alex Smith and CB Aqib Talib will take on service personnel in Germany, Japan, Kuwait and a secret Middle-east location to be revealed during the match.

UPDATE: Activision deserves some kudos here as well. In a press release the publisher points out that it supplied CoD:WaW for today's event and will continue to do so for future Pro vs. G.I. Joe matchups.

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Gamer Army Wife Keeps Combat Troops Supplied with Video Games

November 10, 2008 -

As we look forward to Veteran's Day tomorrow, we're reminded that serving with the military in Iraq or Afghanistan must be very difficult, indeed. Our troops face constant danger and are far removed from their families and the things they enjoyed at home.

But a Philadelphia-area woman, Stefanie Doctor Shea, works hard to bring at least one of the comforts of home to the front lines: video games.

As GamePolitics first reported on Veteran's Day, 2007, Stefanie takes a very personal interest in how our military personnel are faring overseas. That's because her husband, Sgt. Michael Shea, spent the last year with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq before returning home recently (Stefanie and Michael are pictured at left).

But while Stefanie's hubby may be back, the nonprofit organization she founded, Fun For Our Troops, is still engaged in its mission. A just-issued press release offers Stefanie's thoughts:

In our first year we were able to provide gaming relief to over 200 deployed troops and several Morale, Wellness, and Recreation (MWR) stations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We hope to continue the momentum this Veteran’s Day and in 2009.

SPC Joseph Burris adds:

As a soldier, I just wanted to say thanks for Fun for Our Troops. Words cannot describe the feelings I get when I see people like you selflessly donate time, money, and energy just to make our lives a little better. Something as simple as a videogame can mean a lot to a soldier who has nothing more to look forward to than another dusty day on convoy.

The Sheas are gamers themselves. While waiting for Michael to be deployed last fall, the couple spent a good deal of time playing the Wii. Stefanie attended PAX for the first time in August of this year.

Fun for our Troops is seeking tax-deductible donations of new or gently used game systems, video games, PC games or MP3 players as well as gift cards for distributors of games and gaming systems. The organization can also make use of monetary donations which are used primarily toward shipping costs and purchasing used gaming systems.  

Donations can be sent to:

Fun for our Troops, Inc.
506 Corporate Drive West
Langhorne, PA 19047

...or via PayPal.

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Green Bay Packers Take on USMC in Online Madden, Halo 3 Matches

October 19, 2008 -

A U.S. Marine serving in Iraq bested a member of the Green Bay Packers in an online game of Madden on Friday.

According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Cpl. Tim Headricks, a Green Bay native, beat Packers lineman Mark Tauscher in a close game. Headricks controlled the Packers, while Taushcer too the reigns of the Indianapolis Colts.

The competition was arranged by a nonprofit group called Pro vs. Joe, which arranges matches between professional athletes and military personnel serving overseas.

Two other Packer linemen, Mike Montgomery and Tony Moll, played Halo 3 against Staff Sgt. James Wagner, who is stationed in Guantanamo Bay. The Marine lost:

I got slaughtered. I thought my video game skills were better, but we made it credible. The kids took care of business. Those Packers players must have a lot of time on their hands.

Here's a bit more on the Pro vs. Joe program, including news that three Philadelphia Eagles participated in Madden games with military personnel last month.

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Would-be Video Game Designer is Killed in Afghanistan

October 19, 2008 -

Another in an all-too-frequent series honoring gamers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country...

A dedicated soldier who wanted more than a virtual war experience has been killed in Afghanistan.

As reported by the Boston Globe, Army Specialist Stephen Fortunato was killed on Tuesday when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb. From the newspaper report:

According to his family, Fortunato's decision to enlist into a war-time Army was driven by a powerful feeling of patriotism; a desire to experience war personally, not only through a video game; and the opportunity to use the GI Bill to pay for college.

"He wanted to change the world," his father, Richard, said in a phone interview from his Florida home yesterday. "How he was going to do it single-handedly, I don't know. But he wanted to change the world."

The Boston Herald reports that Fortunato planned to return to school, possibly for training in video game design.

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Cartoonists Bring Cheer to Soldier Wounded While Gaming

October 7, 2008 -

Occasionally here at GamePolitics we pay honor to the sacrifices made by gamers serving in the military.

Along that line, we note an unusual human interest story posted on The Mad Blog, which is penned by Mad magazine cartoonist Tom Richmond.

Richmond writes about visiting a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany with a group of fellow cartoonists. There they came upon a soldier who had been badly injured while gaming during his free time:

Eventually we made it up to the ICU, where we saw a few seriously wounded soldiers. The first young man we saw told us a story of how he had been serving in Afghanistan and was in his tent taking a little R&R playing a video game when a projectile explosive hit. He was missing a part of one leg and the other was damaged.

 

Chip did a hilarious drawing of him playing his video game which was exploding and he was thinking “Man, this video game is so realistic!” That sounds a little insensitive but the fact is these guys like to talk about their injuries, how they happened and what was going on. He got a big laugh out of that. He was hurt but was going to be okay. He was in a lot of pain but I think we brought some laughs to him.

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Soldier, GTA Player Makes Ultimate Sacrifice in Afghanistan

September 9, 2008 -

Another in an irregular - but all too frequent - series:

This morning comes word that 20-year-old Army PFC Tan Quoc Ngo was killed in an August 27th ambush in Afghanistan.

As reported by a lengthy obituary on Oregon Live, Ngo's parents were refugees from Vietnam. Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski was among those who attended the young man's funeral on Friday. From the news coverage:

He liked nothing better than playing pickup basketball or football, or playing cards with friends in his Beaverton neighborhood... He also liked video games, including Grand Theft Auto and Halo...

GP: Why do we do this? The gamer generation is much maligned these days. With so many gamers currently serving in U.S. military forces around the world, GamePolitics makes it a point to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Thanks to: Reader Kojiro for the link.

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Saddest Picture You'll See Today

August 12, 2008 -

In this Associated Press photo by Maya Alleruzzo, U.S. Army Capt. Charles Ford plays an unknown video game with Wa'ad, a seven-year-old Iraqi boy who lost an arm and leg to an IED near Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad. From the AP report:

Soldiers from Hammer Company, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment are arranging for the child to be fitted with prosthetic limbs.

Via: Franklin Now

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Controversial Blackwater Worldwide Using Guitar Hero, Xbox 360 in Recruiting Efforts

July 27, 2008 -

Recruiters for controversial Blackwater Worldwide, which provides "paid contractors" (i.e. - mercenaries) to supplement United States forces in Iraq, apparently distribute consoles and popular video games to spread good will among American forces.

That's likely because former military personnel make up the bulk of Blackwater employees. An Associated Press profile on the company notes:

[Blackwater exec] Bill Mathews... said during a recent interview with The Associated Press. "This is sort of the quintessential veteran-owned, -operated and -managed company. Almost everybody is a former U.S. serviceman..."

 

Blackwater recruiter James Overton is working on packing a Microsoft Xbox video-game console, modem, TV projector and "Guitar Hero" video game into a kit that can be kicked out of a Blackwater cargo plane and dropped to troops in Afghanistan.

 

"When I was in Baghdad, we'd bring soldiers over to our camp over there, and we'd play this thing for hours on end," Overton said. "Every (military) place I've ever been to overseas, they've got like backgammon and Parcheesi and chess, and they're all gathering dust. But this is the stuff they play at home. And any semblance of home we can give them is best."

 

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Army Recruitment Going Interactive

June 16, 2008 -

Brand Week reports that the US Army plans to wage a game-oriented attack on subpar recruiting efforts.

In August the Army will unveil the first of a new wave of recruitment centers in which prospective soldiers will play America's Army and fly missions in Apache and Blackhawk helicopter sims.

Apple's retail stores and venues like the ESPN Zone are said to be the inspirations behind the new approach. Army official Edward Walters told Brand Week:

In the past we've focused on traditional media vehicles. [But] the millennial generation is used to engaging in interactive assets and we need to adapt to them.
 

From the description, the days of handing would-be recruits a brochure will soon be over:

The first new recruitment center is designed to be less intimidating and more "like walking into a NASA center," said Walters. It will consist of three large simulators with full-scale mock-ups of Army equipment and wrap-around 270-degree video screens...

 

The Apache simulator allows a pilot and co-pilot to experience the aircraft and its weapons systems. The Black Hawk helicopter simulator provides four door gunner positions. And, the armored HMMWV vehicle simulator has positions for a driver and several gunners. The centers also will include an area where visitors can compete in America's Army, a videogame...
 

Via: Gizmodo

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On Father's Day, Mass. Town Mourns Soldier Who Was a Dad and a Rock Band Gamer

June 15, 2008 -

Sad news comes out of Taunton, Massachusetts this Father's Day as the Boston Globe reports on funeral services for Army Sgt. Shane Duffy, killed in Iraq:

Duffy, who would have turned 23 next Sunday, was killed June 4 in Tikrit, when his Army unit was attacked by enemy fire. Mourners described him yesterday as a spirited, fearless, caring person who looked forward to raising a family and becoming a firefighter like his father.

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) spoke at Duffy's funeral:

Kerry... recounted how Duffy, on [recent] leave, had joined his family to play the video game "Rock Band," one of his favorites. "Shane [played] guitar with the trademark intensity of a man who wanted to be the best in everything he did in life, and at least for that moment he was Eric Clapton," Kerry said. Duffy's wife played the drums, and he held his rosy-cheeked daughter, Mackenzie, up to the microphone to sing along. "If Shane Duffy was intense, he was also tender," Kerry said.

Sgt. Duffy leaves behind a wife and an infant daughter.

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Gamer Killed in Iraq

June 6, 2008 -

Another member of the gamer generation has fallen while serving in Iraq, reports the Military Times.

US Army Specialist Kyle Norris, 22, a member of the 101st Airborne Division, died on May 23 after his vehicle was struck by an IED in Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of Baghdad. From an Associated Press story:

“He wanted to protect his country,” his brother, 27, said. “He wanted to protect freedom for his family and his friends.”

 

Kyle Norris also loved to spend time with friends, whether it was playing video games or playing a game of paint ball...

 

“If he was sick and they told him to take it easy for a few days, he wouldn’t sit back,” Norris said. “He wanted to be out there with everyone... He was an awesome brother. He was all about family,” said Michael Norris. “Everybody loved him. No one ever said one bad thing about him.”

Via: Connie Talk

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Memorial Day: Remembering Gamers Who Gave Their All

May 26, 2008 -

With video games now a well-established component of youth culture, it's safe to say that many US troops serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world are gamers.

Here at GamePolitics we've often reported on the relationship between games and the military, a nexus that is sometimes controversial. But whatever one may think about the politics involved, we can all agree that we wish safe passage for our military personnel and honor those who have given their all.

We've made it a practice to report on fallen gamers when we've been able to learn about them from personal remembrances shared by friends and family members. We suspect that there are many more who we don't know about.

Today, Memorial Day in the US, we remember them for their service and their sacrifice.

PICTURED: Eric Hall, George Howell, Randy Pickering, Jon Hicks

 

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Video: Full Spectrum Warrior Mod is Therapy for Traumatized Iraq War Vets

May 12, 2008 -
The New Yorker serves up a video which details how THQ's hit strategy game Full Spectrum Warrior was modified to help Iraq War veterans deal with post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).

The video accompanies an six-page article by Sue Halpern in the May 19th issue. Halpern also narrates the video. From the article:
Most P.T.S.D. therapies that we’ve seen don’t seem to be working, so what’s the harm in dedicating some money to R. & D. that might prove valuable?” Paul Rieckhoff, the executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said last November.

In January, his group issued a lengthy report called “Mental Health Injuries: The Invisible Wounds of War,” which cited research suggesting that “multiple tours and inadequate time at home between deployments increase rates of combat stress by 50%.”

Rieckhoff went on, “I’m not someone who responds to sitting with some guy, talking about my whole life. I’m going to go in and talk to some dude who doesn’t understand my shit and talk about my mom? I’m the worst of that kind of guy. So V.R. therapy, maybe it will work. We’re a video-game generation. It’s what we grew up on. So maybe we’ll respond to it.”
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Missing Marine Found Dead... COD4 May Have Triggered Combat Flashback

March 14, 2008 -
A badly-wounded Iraq War veteran, missing since February, has been found dead inside a culvert in Charlotte County, Florida, according to Indiana's News and Tribune.

As GamePolitics reported last month, 24-year-old Eric Hall, still suffering from grievous combat wounds as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, fled a relative's home after a session of Call of Duty 4. Hall, who had previously caused a traffic accident in his native Indiana after hallucinating an Iraqi roadblock, may have experienced a flashback of some sort. Relatives report that his combat experiences, which included seeing his best friend decapitated at Fallujah, left him badly traumatized.

It's not clear why Hall crawled 60 feet into the roadside culvert. His motorcycle was found nearby.
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In Iraq, Soldiers Become Gamers During Down Time

February 24, 2008 -
Weekend America reporter Adam Allington, on assignment with U.S. troops in Anbar Province, reports that video games are a very popular leisure time activity.
Video game sales are way up [among soldiers]... In a converted Iraqi Republican Guard barracks, Sergeant David Carr and several of his buddies are huddled around a hard-to-find Nintendo Wii.

"We play it when we get off of work almost every night," Carr says... At the moment however, Carr isn't playing a shoot-em-up game. Right now he's got something a little more relaxing, "Hooked! Real Motion Fishing."

GP: This story reminds me that the Fun For Our Troops non-profit organization works to send games and systems to our military personnel serving overseas.
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In Second Life, a Tribute to Fallen British Soldiers

February 23, 2008 -
The Telegraph reports on a touching memorial to British soldiers killed while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A virtual military graveyard in an area of SL known as Tribute Island features memorials to about 250 British war dead. Nik Hewitt of lasting tribute, creator of the memorial, said:
We've replicated individual tribute markers to all the UK soldiers and military personnel who’ve lost their lives in the continuing conflicts...

We have seen avatars - characters created by serving military personnel - wandering through the graves looking for fallen comrades.

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Army Recruiters Run Video Game Tournament

December 28, 2007 -
Yesterday on GamePolitics we covered Miami attorney Jack Thompson's accusation of an unholy alliance between the defense department and the video game industry.

We think Thompson's argument is a weak one.

If there is a truly controversial aspect regarding gaming and the military, however, it typically centers around the use of video games as a tool for attracting impressionable young men to the service. The Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), for example, have protested against the use of the freely distributed America's Army game for recruitment purposes.

That scenario is playing out in Chandler, Arizona today as recruiters sponsor an America's Army tournament. As reported by the Arizona Republic:
Military recruiters are becoming increasingly creative as they work to boost enlistment rates... a local Army recruiting office is sponsoring a video-game tournament that is expected to draw more than 100 people. Recruiters will promote the benefits of the Army as video-game buffs play America's Army... 

Staff Sgt. Morgan Self, a Chandler recruiting officer, told the newspaper:
In the media, all you hear about is soldier's stories from Iraq and Afghanistan. We're trying to put out the word that it's not all about deployment.

The game is more or less just to have fun. If everyone that was playing was actually joining the Army, then recruiters wouldn't have a job.

Arguing against the event was Arizona State University student Rosela Martinez, who considers military video games a form of propaganda:
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Another Gamer Lost in Iraq

December 27, 2007 -
….another in an occasional series of reports about gamers who gave their all:

The Californian reports that Army private George Howell, 24, died last week in Iraq when an IED detonated beneath the truck he was riding in. From the newspaper account:
[George's sister] Chardell, 33, remembered her brother for his sense of humor, thoughtfulness and love for his family. An outgoing person, George loved playing football and video games, she said...

“Georgie could not find [a job]… so he went into the service,” Doyle Howell said.  “...he was a special kid … I just wish things could have turned out different.”

Also lost: New Hampshire gamer Justin McDaniel, 19, who died in Baghdad.
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No War Today for 101st Airborne; Soldiers Play Halo Instead

December 25, 2007 -
From a wire service report in the Melbourne Herald Sun:
At Patrol Base Warrior Keep in Baghdad, all wished they were home. However at least there weren't any patrols outside the base for the 101st Airborne Division.

Lt-Col R.J. Lillibridge didn't want to risk having to deliver bad news to families on the holiday.

So instead of patrolling, the soldiers stayed on base, playing Halo video game tournaments, waiting in lines for phones and computers to contact home and sleeping in after breakfast or even lunch...
Posted in
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Soldier - Gamer Dies in Iraq

December 14, 2007 -
….another in an occasional series of reports about gamers who gave their all:

A gamer who served his country in the U.S. Army has lost his life in Iraq. The Associated Press reports that Spc. Randy W. Pickering, 31, died Sunday in Baghdad. Randy loved comic books and video games, his brother said:
He did his computer thing. He loved video games. Video games and comics were his life.

On his MySpace, Randy described himself as:
...a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law.

Also on MySpace, he listed Mario and Luigi among his heroes.

Rest in peace, Randy...
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U.S. Army Creates Video Game Squad

December 12, 2007 -
Training and Simulation Journal Online reports that the United States Army has established a project office to create and deploy video games for the training of soldiers.

Col. Jack Millar director of the Training and Doctrine Command’s (TRADOC) Project Office for Gaming, or TPO Gaming, said:
I haven’t seen a game built for the entertainment industry that fills a training gap, We will focus on the visualization piece of those technologies, not so much the entertainment piece.

One thing about the Army, there's no shortage of abbreviations. Robert Bowen, civilian chief of TPO Gaming, explained the game training concept to TSJO:
Immerse that soldier into a virtual or synthetic environment, then have them conduct a training task, using their SOP [standard operating procedures], and then AAR [after-action review] that capability.

There will be some cool user-side mod ability built in, Bowen added:
33 comments | Read more

British Army Chief Commends "PlayStation Generation"

November 29, 2007 -
While West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green whines about the effect of the PlayStation and other video game consoles on the quality of England's football play, the top general in the British Army has only praise for the "PlayStation Generation".

As reported by icWales, British Army Chief of the General Staff Sir Richard Dannatt (left) praise the efforts of his nation's young soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq:
There is no doubt in my mind that our people, whether from the specialist Air Assault and Commando Brigades, or from the Ground Manoeuvre Brigades are all up to the job.

There was a time when commentators and some more experienced members of the Army expressed concern as to whether the 'PlayStation generation' were up to dealing with the gritty bloody conflict. Our young soldiers, drawn from across British society, are more than a match for what is required of them and I salute every one of them.

The courage, steadfastness and professionalism of our soldiers has been exemplary.

Dannatt made his remarks during an address to the Cardiff Business Club.

Via: Joystiq
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Military Wives Form Non-Profit to Equip Troops with Video Games

November 12, 2007 -
There may not be, as the saying goes, any atheists in foxholes.

But there certainly are plenty of gamers.

A non-profit group is hoping to keep those gamers relaxed between missions by collecting games and systems for deployed U.S. military personnel.

As reported by the Bucks County Courier-Times (in GP's neck of the woods, actually), Fun For Our Troops was started by military wife Stefanie Doctor Shea. Sgt. Michael Shea, her husband, was recently deployed for a second tour of duty in Iraq. The Sheas are seen in the photo at left, taken on the day Sgt. Shea left for Iraq.

Choosing video games as the focus of her support efforts was far from a random choice. Before her husband shipped out the couple spent a lot of their down time enjoying the Nintendo Wii at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Dana Blackman Brady, married to a former Army Ranger, is partnering with Stefanie in the effort to get games to service personnel. She commented:
What [the troops] really appreciate over there are the true comforts of home. The stress relief and the escapism involved in these games, we really think could be beneficial.

We're hoping to get [video games] throughout the year. We don't want to have [soldiers] wait. We do foresee the issues with Christmas. It's going to be a crunch for those games.

Although the Defense Department provides no support to such efforts, the women have worked out a plan for getting the games to the troops. Stefanie Doctor Shea described the program:
We are working on an official website which will allow troops to sign themselves up as recipients or family members can sign them up. They will also be able to tell us what, if any, systems they do have so we can donate appropriate games.

Hopefully the site will be up in the next week or so (we have someone donating their services to build the site).  We are willing to work with all branches of the military but the recipients themselves must be on a deployment.  Our intention is that the equipment we send over will be passed on to troops in the unit that will replace them. 

Donations can be made via the group's website.  
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President Bush Games with Wounded Troops; Bloggers Take Offense

November 10, 2007 -

President Bush's recent gaming session with wounded Iraq war veterans in a Texas rehab hospital is not sitting well with some liberal bloggers.


At this point, it's not known exactly which game Bush played. As reported by AFP:


President George W. Bush had a shoot-out with the "bad guys" in Iraq on Thursday, playing a computer game with war veterans that simulates a firefight in Baghdad... Bush tried his hand at the game with two soldiers during a visit to a rehabilitation center in Texas that treats veterans wounded in Iraq.


White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush helped "shoot the bad guys" in a Baghdad neighborhood, albeit virtually... the president saw several "cutting edge virtual reality games" that allow recovering soldiers at the center in San Antonio to simulate riding in a car or boat.


The Huffington Post's bare-bones report on the story generated a thousand comments (although, to be fair, many of those relate to a flame war among HP readers). Meanwhile Exit Stage-left really wigged out:


First, did he wear his flight suit? Just because you play a god blessed video game, you did not fight against the "bad guys" you twit.


It's an insult to the men and women you are sending in to lose limbs and their lives. You playing a video game does not make you a soldier, you giddy moron.


...For [military personnel killed in Iraq] there was no restart button, the bullets were real, you don't get any "life packs" or supercharged powers. You don't play in an air-conditioned room with tons of admirers/donors watching your every move.


GP: Let me say right up front that - my opinion - George W. Bush is a freakin' disaster as President. But c'mon. The troops - many of whom have lost limbs - were rehabbing and enjoying the game. What's the problem? Bush has plenty of real issues over which he can be criticized. Let's not manufacture one from a few moments of game play.


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Thanking the Troops: ECA Offers Discount to Military Veterans

November 1, 2007 -

The Entertainment Consumers Association - the only advocacy group exclusively for gamers - is supporting U.S. military personnel by offering discounted membership. The military discount joins a similar program already offered to students.

Of the move ECA president Hal Halpin said:

We’re excited to extend our 25 percent Student Discount for annual membership dues to all active service men and women with a valid .mil domain extension.

 

It came as a result of conversations between GamePolitics regular and ECA member, Robert “lexfor” Kalal, who was promoting the association to his fellow gamers in the Air Force while stationed in Turkey.

While we’re aligned with several charities that support the troops, it seemed apparent that extending this discount was yet another way of honoring their service and dedication. The new Military Discount offers prospective members reduced dues of just $14.99 per year.


For more information, including how to sign up for an ECA membership, check out the ECA website.

Full Disclosure Dept: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.  

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james_fudgeTurns out laser cats are real in 2105.04/28/2015 - 10:08am
james_fudgeSorry I was time traveling this morning.04/28/2015 - 10:07am
E. Zachary KnightPHX, thanks. I fixed it.04/28/2015 - 9:14am
PHX CorpThere is a typo in the Gamestop raising 500K article, it should be 2015 not 210504/28/2015 - 8:36am
MattsworknameThis is the world now Colin, either get with the times, or get left behind. Your choice.04/28/2015 - 8:14am
Mattsworknamehttp://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2013/08/24/league-of-legends-finals-sells-out-las-staples-center-in-an-hour/04/28/2015 - 8:14am
Mattsworknamehttp://www.polygon.com/2014/7/29/5949773/dota-2-the-international-tournament-20-million-viewers04/28/2015 - 8:13am
Mattsworknamehe's not needed, not in the modern world, not in a world where more people attend the LOL finals for 5 million, then attend your average sports event.04/28/2015 - 8:12am
MattsworknameFunny that Colin Cowherd is so out of the times, he had to try multiple times to get the names of the games right. People like him are anachronisms.04/28/2015 - 8:10am
PHX Corphttp://kotaku.com/halo-mcc-esports-event-canceled-because-the-game-would-1700543158 Halo: MCC eSports Event Canceled Because The Game Wouldn't Work04/27/2015 - 10:15pm
Matthew Wilson@AE I know I was just stating where I stand on issues like that in general04/27/2015 - 8:12pm
Andrew EisenWho, Colin Cowherd? No one's suggesting he should be forced out. Or that he should commentate on video games.04/27/2015 - 8:10pm
Matthew Wilson@AE I do not think he should be forced ou though. he has his right to his opinion and shouldnt be forced out because people disagree with it.04/27/2015 - 8:07pm
ZippyDSMleeJim suggjested a pay what you want setup like humble bundel.04/27/2015 - 7:49pm
MontePerhaps they should just add a donation system for creators like the monthly pateron model. Only those who regularly make quality content can get compensated while those who would abuse the system are ignored04/27/2015 - 7:46pm
MontePaid mods is not a bad idea; i mean its only fair that makers be compensated and even better if they can do it full time. UNfortunatly there is too much that can go wrong and room for abuse04/27/2015 - 7:44pm
Andrew EisenYeah, working on that story now. Or rather, I'm working on finding time to write up that story.04/27/2015 - 7:40pm
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dll8eMJnTEE this crap is why sports fans and gamers dont get along. for love of god did I get sent back to 1995.04/27/2015 - 7:37pm
Matthew WilsonI do not think it will be the last time we see this. btw I am ok with paid mods.04/27/2015 - 7:10pm
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.pcgamer.com/valve-has-removed-paid-mods-functionality-from-steam-workshop/ 0_o04/27/2015 - 6:37pm
 

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