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War Play: Video Games and the Future of Armed Conflict

3.39  ·  Rating Details ·  33 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
A behind-the-scenes look at how the military uses video game technology to train soldiers, treat veterans, and entice new recruits

How does the U.S. military train its soldiers for new forms of armed conflict, all within the constraints of diminished defense budgets? Increasingly, the answer is cutting-edge video game technology. Corey Mead shows us training sessions where
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2013)
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Sep 01, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: loanable, nonfiction
This brief book provides a good introduction on the American military's efforts in using various kinds of immersive video games to provide training and treatment, especially post-9/11. The first third of the book is largely setting the table by recapping the history of the military's involvement in entertainment and education. This has generally come in the form of developing technology that can be easily adapted to the former, and inserting itself in the latter. None of this is particularly new ...more
Tim Johnson
Jan 05, 2014 Tim Johnson rated it liked it
Mead outlines the military's history of troop education and contributions to modern technology. Is it really any surprise that the military would turn to simulations, video games, and virtual reality as a means of attracting and training recruits? I don't believe it is. This is the next logical step in the Information Age. The Army's ability to build virtual environments based on actual locations, program in native populations complete with their own languages and customs, and immediately incorp ...more
Margaret Sankey
Nov 03, 2013 Margaret Sankey rated it liked it
The computer industry benefited from huge government investment, the military was deeply involved in educational testing and innovation, the military introduced games like Mech War as an instructional tool, the need arose for teaching both content and critical thinking....and so emerged what has been called the "military-entertainment" complex, in which game companies profit from military themed products, and the actual military uses games to train recruits already familiar with and motivated by ...more
Nov 13, 2013 Travis rated it it was ok
I imagine this book was mostly interesting to me because I worked on "serious games" for 6 years. So the best thing I got from this book was some companies that create "serious games" for the military and other industries. While it was useful in that regard, the book didn't really provide much insight otherwise. A lot of pages are taken up detailing America's Army since it is the most widely known and mainstream popular military video game. I guess the book was preaching to the choir a bit for m ...more
Sep 16, 2013 Janet rated it really liked it
I received my copy from in exchange for an honest review.
I can honestly say that I found this book fascinating. I am a baby boomer, certainly not a gamer, so this was really an eye-opener for me. It's a really well researched account of the American Military's attempt to utilize the most effective technology available in their training efforts. The book starts out with the history of the military's involvement in the entertainment industry and adapting to advancements in technology
Dec 23, 2013 Tamara rated it liked it
I learned a lot from this book, mainly about the military's role in educational technology and techniques. As the author notes in the intro, this book is not about military or war video games. It is about the military's use of their own games to train their own people. The only disappointment for me was the seeming gloss-over of the army's infiltration of public schools. This is a very controversial topic, and I think that the author (for obvious reasons) avoided any deep exploration of the mora ...more
Michael Shea
Dec 28, 2016 Michael Shea rated it liked it
An interesting view on how the military is working with the entertainment industry to advance the fields of education and training. It makes me wonder how we can use serious gaming at my work to train people to use computer systems. For the most part it depends on identifying scenarios that are suited for the medium. My current task involves teaching people to program Java on SAP Cloud platform. There it seems to be the wrong medium. I was really surprised at all the work that is being done and ...more
Dan Needles
Jun 07, 2014 Dan Needles rated it liked it
This book provides a 20K level survey of the history of the slow adoption and use of gaming in warfare. War Play does a great job at that high level. However, I was hoping the author would delve a bit more into the details and nits of things. Given the number of pages dedicated to the book, they was more than ample real-estate to do so. Still, all-in-all, a worthwhile read as there are few books on this subject.
Jared Della Rocca
Nov 10, 2013 Jared Della Rocca rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history, 2013
Interesting to see the conjunction of video games and the army, as well as the intersection of education and the military. The book goes beyond video game warfare, as I found the most interesting chapter to be on how video games are being used to treat PTSD as well as handling "HR"-style issues both on and off the battlefield.
Denise Spicer
Nov 24, 2015 Denise Spicer rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents, educators
This 2013 book covers the use of video games in the military and describes the history of the military entertainment complex and how the military has influenced education. There is information about the use of virtual reality in medical/counseling sessions to deal with traumatic results of military service on individuals returning to civilian life.
C.J. Ruby
Apr 18, 2014 C.J. Ruby rated it liked it
Shelves: military, education
It seems as though the US military is getting a good bang for its buck out of using video games and capitalizing on video game culture for training. One of the more interesting items was about the PRC (Chinese) video game where the only enemy is the USA.
Jan 14, 2014 Daniel rated it liked it
decent book, it does give a nice history of models and simulations and how that Army has adopted them over the years. It does detail the success of such games as "America's Army" on recruiting, but does not go into detail on failures of games and why, rather he offers one small footnote.
Nov 05, 2013 Dan rated it liked it
Interesting history of video games and simulation in American military history. Discusses some additional steps being taken with the focus on cyber warfare in the future.
Oct 24, 2013 PWRL marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2013-new
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