The Virtual World: A Social Haven?
The Beginning of a Virtual World
For several decades, video games have been a form of entertainment for people of all races and ages. Video games have evolved from simple console games that plug into your television to massive online multiplayer games. With the expansion of the World Wide Web and computers being in every home, multiplayer online games have dominated the video game culture. Online games are separated by several types of genre ranging from: mass multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG), strategy, first person shooter (FPS), and multi-user dungeon (MUD). In strategy and FPS games, users log onto game servers and join their game of choice. Each game is allowed a set amount of players that are divided into two teams and each game is decided when a certain goal is met. The people that join the games are complete strangers, but once the game starts all differences are set aside and each individual must work together for a common goal. Throughout the years, video games have been thought to be a waste of time and money, but some view video games to have its upsides.
Training for the Army
The United States Army saw the popularity of video games and decided to use it to benefit their cause. In 2002 the US Army produced a multiplayer online video game, America’s Army (AA). AA is listed as a first person shooter and consists of “10 minute missions between two competing human teams who control avatars in a variety of landscapes” (Li 2004). All game play is created to simulate real Army equipment, training facilities and missions. Each mission is specially created to offer real life scenarios and characters ranging from: medics, general infantry, armored divisions and even Special Forces. For a mission to be successful, each player must play its character’s role to eliminate the enemy or support their team members. Although teamwork is vital for the team’s success, player rankings are available to show individual accomplishments. Rankings are based on what is known as Rules of Engagement (ROE). All countries have their own ROEs and if a player abides by those rules, they will gain experience points that boost their ranking.
The US Army, supported by the Department of Defense, created the game to reflect the ideas and ethical conducts of war as an institution. One key factor of this is that friendly fire is always on in the game, and a player is penalized if he shoots a member of his own team. Furthermore, if a player is on the US Army team, every team member wears the same uniform but cover different ethnical backgrounds. On the other hand, the opposing teams have several ethical backgrounds depending on the scenario and location of the mission. The primary goal of the release of the game was to support army recruiting efforts by interesting teenagers with the game. When released, several recruiters used the game for military training before it was released...