Videogames and the Military: A Love Story

@“Moon”#p46792 not only convince people to kill (although I imagine this was harder instill in conscripts than it was/is in volunteer armies) but make it “convenient” which I think is where this is headed. No effort and no friction, I could see uber middle mgmt pushing certain buttons in the right conditions


If you want some "theory-fiction" about the future of war, I found this to be an interesting read (but skip the jargon-laden abstract).

foreseeing my own death and three paths fork before me:

a) bonked in the head by an errant amazon delivery drone

b) labeled an undesirable and killed by a fascist death squad (gave 50 bucks to aoc)

c) labeled an undesirable and killed by the Steven Universe Brigade corporate death squad (posted in the marx thread in on the ic forums)

What is the Christmas Truce of video games?


@“Moon”#p46951 What’s the Christmas Truce of video games?

When gamers of all nationalities and allegiances set aside their differences and cleared the air of the fog of the console wars to make fun of the N-Gage

I kind of want to say it's all the non-nintendo characters in Super Smash Brothers.

Recently a local community college finished constructing a new 22 million dollar “Professional Mariner Training Center”.

They had a few open house days to celebrate the opening so I decided to go down with my camera and get some footage of their Full Bridge Simulator and their other bays of relatively simpler maritime simulators.

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A shot of the full bridge simulator

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The other, simpler simulator stations look like this

I took some video showing both type of simulator.

When I was in the coast guard one of the units I served at was the "[Maritime Force Protection Unit](" (MFPU), which was tasked with escorting nuclear submarines out of the Puget Sound to their dive location. At Naval Base Kitsap, where the subs and my unit was based, they had a large "Full Bridge Simulator" and 6 networked cubicles tied into the system, very similar to the set-up at the Maritime Training Center. Except we would use it to run trial missions screening vessel traffic (sometimes with people on the networked stations playing "Red Team" opponents), while the networked simulators at the Maritime Training Center are mostly used for practicing things like tug boat operations, where there is more than one ship at play.

A similar "Full bridge simulator" at the Merchant Marine Academy in the late 80's would serve as the inspiration for the [Virtual World]( cockpits of the early 90's (a thread I keep telling myself I'm going to go back and make an update to).

I mentioned it in my original post, but I really want to single out the Halo 3: Believe ad campaign for engaging in a kind of emotional manipulation that I, as a actual veteran, find particularly distasteful.

The ad campaign is centered around a "Museum of Humanity" and a number of interviews with actors portraying elderly veterans. These veterans recollect their time in service alongside Master Chief: serving in the same battles, having their life saved by him, and recollecting a time when their unit waited in the dark for their savior's arrival (@7:45).

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Even though I find this distasteful and manipulative, I must admit this is a very effective ad campaign (after all, I'm still thinking about it 15 years later). The slight of hand here is that YOU the viewer are invited to imagine yourself as Master Chief, to give YOU the feeling that by playing the game you have served with these men, that possibly without YOU playing, they would not be alive to tell their stories. By setting these tales in the past, it almost implies that by NOT playing, YOU would be letting these people down, they will wait in the darkness and YOU will never arrive to save them. The war documentary conceit gives the stories the gravitas of an actual historical event, and allows you to imagine that decades later, people whose lives depended on you will still be recounting your Halo 3 exploits in hushed, reverent tones.

I've got other issues with the juvenile way the Halo series depicts military service, particularly the way it depicts women (when we live in a world where sexual misconduct is rife in the armed services), but my critique is frustrated by the winking way that the Halo series usually invites you to not take it seriously because it KNOWS it's an adolescent wish fulfillment cartoon (except when it wants you to take it seriously, like with this deadpan Believe ad campaign, which is partly why these ads leave such a bad taste in my mouth).

The Halo Infinite team posted this launch message today that reiterates what I was saying about how the series‘ intent is to make you feel like you’re stepping into the shoes of a (cartoon) hero, in a world where heroes are largely absent.

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Honestly, in some ways I feel like the cartoonish aspects of the Halo series makes it MORE insidious than other series like call of duty, which are more upfront and direct about their military jingoism.

I'm ready to become master chief and be uplifted. Too old to enlist but maybe the national guard will take me and I can be deployed to ukraine for some reason

one more Halo ad that backs up what I've been saying about the hero worship going on in Master Chief advertising

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(thank you for buying hot pockets)

I also wanted to share two trailers whose politics exemplify the kind of fantasy held by law enforcement supporters. These aren't strictly the military, but with the way America has militarized it's police forces over the last few decades, it might as well be.


Protestors “claim to promote an egalitarian utopia to gain popular support; while behind the scenes UMBRA organizes deadly terrorist attacks to generate even more chaos and weaken governments,” the narrator says at one point, as a series of black raised fists appear on screen.

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Last year Ubisoft released the above trailer for a Tom Clancy mobile game, the game's antagonist faction is a internet fueled civilian uprising called "umbra" (which means "darkness"), and uses a raised black fist in its iconography. Ubisoft [quickly apologized]( but there are other problems besides the use of imagery some took to be referencing Black Lives Matter, like the fact that this leaderless civilian threat is so dire it requires the government to work alongside elements of the criminal underworld in order to maintain control. Beyond just the use of troubling symbols, I think the extra-legal posse framing is so screwed up that I dont think there's a simple solution that could "fix" it, what it would need is a whole rewrite.

This second trailer is from 2019, so it couldn't have foreseen what a tumultuous year 2020 was going to be, but it still contains a kind of "thin blue line/sheepdog" view of the world. Its version of America is "downtrodden, cruel, and corrupt", and you, as a member of a SWAT team, are there to "bring some semblance of order to a city divided by crime". ("Ready or Not" recently made news [[and lost a publisher](] when it announced that it was going to include a school shooter level.)

I think it's interesting to compare these visions of future America, as they have a lot in common. While Watch Dogs at least [plays anemic lip-service to the fantasy of a civilian uprising](, these two trailers see that same fantasy revolution as something that needs to be put down by "order".

One of my favorite non-fiction books is ["The Third Reich of Dreams"]( (you can read it in full on the internet archive if you are so inclined, it's hella expensive on Amazon).


These are the records of a psychoanalyst who kept a diary of patient dreams in Germany during the rise of the Third Reich. The book traces the ways in which the rising tide of Fascism infected the unconscious lives of ordinary Germans, skewing their dreams towards increasingly brutal and nightmarish reflections of the pathology of Nazism. A profound and disturbing book.


During the 1930‘s, Nazi Germany’s rise to totalitarian power was well under way. Warning signs of the terror to come was being felt by increasing numbers of people. Among them was a young woman of great courage and insight : Charlotte Beradt recorded & collected people‘s dreams about the Nazi government’s domination of their lives; dreams telling of the painful political realities of the emerging Nazi State. In his essay at the conclusion of the volume, published in 1966, Bruno Bettelheim remarked it was a shocking experience reading this book of dreams & seeing how effectively the Nazis murdered sleep, “forcing its enemies to dream dreams that showed that resistance was impossible & safety lay only in compliance.”

The dreams are organized into chapters, with each chapter being about a group of people that have a common relationship to the rising tide of Nazism. You see dreams from Jews, bystanders, collaborators, and even resistance fighters, and you begin to get an image of how their relationship to what was happening in their country colored their dreams. Due to the nature of the collection, what you DONT see in the book is any dreams from people who took part in the Reich directly. I think this is a neat blind spot to consider, and it makes me wonder: what does the fascist dream of?

Looking at these trailers feels like an answer to that question. Both depict an America that is tearing itself apart, and both suggest that extreme (even extra-legal, in Tom Clancy's case) measures must be taken by government forces to reestablish "order". You cant have the fantasy of guys with guns fixing everything with bullets without dreaming of a degenerated version of America that requires violence to fix it's problems. Of course we're familiar with how so often games revolve around violence, but the way these posit that American civil unrest is a looming menace that should be solved at the point of a gun is unsettling.

Edit: it used to be you could tell what nation we wanted to invade next by looking at where our military games were set. It does not bode well that were starting to see more games set on American soil.

no russian is still the most psychotic video game thing made to date. I don't think “the culture” was ready to critique it at the time since it was still an “us” vs jack thompson situation. But man what a dumb nasty pile of shit that was

@“After that rat, another and another.”#p52374 I remember playing it when it was new (back when I somehow was interested in the latest propaganda shooty game) and just not wanting to be involved in that scene at all. It didn’t register to me as “edgy” or “shocking” … rather it just seemed gratuitous and obviously meant to generate articles. “No such thing as bad PR”

Perhaps not coincidentally, that was the last CoD game I played

probably an artifact of the braid era of shallow thinking about player “complicity”. Yeah, it's just incoherent and nasty

resetera dot com is ready for war

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New reporting from Vice about Unity's involvement with the military

A bit rich coming from Vice but still

looking forward to captain price and operator soap or whatever his name is teaming up with azov battalion and right sector analogues in next CoD

if that hasn't happened already