death by playstation

America's Robot Army
Stephen Graham, New Statesman


Already, games featuring urban warfare in digitised Arab cities are everyday suburban entertainment - some are produced by the US forces themselves, while a firm called Kuma Reality offers games refreshed weekly to allow players to simulate participation in fighting in Iraq almost as it is happening in the real world.

Creepy as this is, it can be worse: those involved in real warfare may have difficulty remembering they are not playing games. "At the end of the work day," one Florida-based Predator operator reflected to USA Today in 2003, "you walk back into the rest of life in America." Will such people always remember that their "work day", lived among like-minded colleagues in front of screens, involves real death on the far side of the world? As if to strengthen the link with entertainment, one emerging military robot, the Dragon Runner, comes with a gamer's control panel. Greg Heines, who runs the project, confesses: "We modelled the controller after the Play Station 2 because that's what these 18-, 19-year-old marines have been playing with pretty much all of their lives."

see also:

The Purpose Driven Life Takers
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The Rapture Takes Manhattan
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