digital nation - life on the virtual frontier

Is "Halo" the Army's best recruiting tool?

September 29, 2009 _ 12:00 / Rachel Dretzin / comments (3)

AECfilmstrip.jpgWe just posted a short rough cut of a piece we shot at the Army Experience Center in Philadelphia that we would love you to check out.

In 2008, the Army shut down five recruiting centers in the Philadelphia area and replaced them with a multimillion dollar facility where kids as young as 13 can play military-themed video games for free and fire at digital enemies from inside a simulated humvee and Apache helicopter. Army recruiters circle around, ready to chat, answer questions, and sometimes even play Xbox with the kids.

It's all part of a new experiential marketing strategy inspired, in part, by the Apple Store. The idea is to give people a "sampling experience" of the Army, just as the Apple Store gives people a sampling experience of what Apple is all about.

The AEC has been targeted by protesters who accuse the Army of deceiving kids into thinking war is fun, and chant slogans like "war is not a game" and "there is no reset button in war."

But the irony is that increasingly wars are being fought by remote control, with UAVs flying over the mountains of Afghanistan, operated by 25-year-olds based thousands of miles away in the desert outside of Las Vegas. We just came back from a shoot at the Creech Air Force Base, where we interviewed pilots who spend their afternoons tracking and sometimes killing insurgents and are home in time for dinner. (Read Caitlin's blog about it here.)

You won't get all this from the four minute clip here, but you will get a taste of the AEC and some of the controversy around it. Watch the Digital Nation documentary in February to see more!

-- Rachel

Comments

Video Violence
An experiment tested desensitization and excitation effects of video violence on kids... Desensitization theory led to the proposition that viewers desensitized to violence are more apt to become violent.
www.westga.edu/~byates/video.htm - Cached

Garry / October 14, 2009 _ 10:19

Dear,Frontline
It is sad that us Government says no violence teachings on youth but turns around and raising killers in u.s.a ...
In my neighborhood kids can not wait to grow up to join in military so they can kill my muslim brothers.I am very dissappointed that this country is not better than the others.
Is U.S.A raising more terrorist or raising decent citizens?Not only we have became war victims in this country but our children are suffering from this horrible wars.
I think American people suffering mentally from middle east war and it is effecting those all other nationalities also suffer.Everybody suffers from war.U.S government needs to teach kids education not human killing machines.
I use to love Americans and America since this war I lost faith in this country and do not trust
u.s.government because it steals Americans tax money for wars.People are starving in this country because of unemployment and people are dying of no health insurance to get treated.
I do not believe this terrorist hokus pokus it is a greed of America for land of middle east so they can give it to Israel.Israel wants a empire of middle east and u.s.a will do anything for Israel to achieve.
It is called {The Big Great Middle East Project}.
I have learned this true news in Turkey on my vacation.American people are sleeping does not have any clue about this real war.
God says do not kick people from their land or I will bring punishment for those follow satans foot steps.When is u.s.a will learn from previous wars.Stop killing human beings Americans and Iraqians and Afghanians.U.S government keep whining that they do not have any money for health care reform but they want to pakistans military to fight terrorist.Who is the real terrorist?no body knows!It is a endless mess they started and now they do not know how to stop it.
Thank god I am not citizen of those middle eastern countries I probably be killed by Americans.It is very sad that the whole world suffers from this nonsense war.
Stop killing name of the Jesus,Prophet Mohommad and name of God ,Allah.
We all are gods children,we are all the same.
Stop killing worlds innocent children and women.
IT is always men starts the war and women and children suffer from mens ignorence of hate.

Hatice / October 15, 2009 _ 00:21

No one medium will overcome an whole social system. I find it ironic that video games are being definitively connected to increases in violence AND decreased physical health at the same time - seems like it can't be both at the same time to me.

If video games encourage violence, then the multi-billion dollar industry would have contributed to a significant rise in violent acts among players and that doesn't seem to be the way things are going.

Video games are part of the lifestyle of youth and is also part of the training/education of many industries in 'serious games' too. As long as everything is transparent, I don't have a problem with it.

Paul Martin / December 22, 2009 _ 00:27

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posted February 2, 2010

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