From America’s Army to Call of Duty: Doing Battle with the Military Entertainment Complex

Robin Andersen, Marin Kurti


This paper explores the collaboration between the Pentagon and the entertainment industries at the site of the popular interactive format, the war-themed video game. The commercial media industry is heavily invested in the research and development of digital technologies used to create simulations, graphics, and virtual worlds, which are also essential to the networked protocols of military training and weapons systems. In addition, video games such as America’s Army have been developed by the United States Armed Forces as recruitment tools. With advances in digital computer-based technologies, warthemed games make increasing claims to realism, authenticity and historical accuracy. Real war footage is frequently inserted into narratives and battlefield sequences. We compare the narratives of the experiences of gamers to narratives of recruits and soldier’s experiences of war. Though war themed interactive games are taking simulated battlefields to higher levels of realism, including more intense graphic violence, the thrilling excitement of entertainment replaces the emotional truth of war, a trend with highly negative consequences.


Video games industry;Video games political aspects;Military;Military Industrial Complex

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