default How the American military is using videogames to capture the hearts and minds of children Popular

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Ender’s Game is a sci-fi novel about a precocious ten-year-old training to lead Earth’s fleet of spaceships against a looming alien threat. The reveal at the end of the book is that Ender hasn’t been training in simulations, but has actually been commanding real battles, unknowingly saving Earth from an alien invasion.

As it turns out, Ender’s Game has been extremely influential in the way the military views videogames as a training tool for soldiers. According to Corey Mead: “The whole idea of what Ender’s Game is—young people fighting a war—is what influenced [the military]. And they totally did it.”

In his new book War Play: Video Games and the Future of Armed Conflict, Mead explores the U.S. military’s use of videogames as a tool for recruitment, training, and treatment. This recent interest in videogames reflects a shift in what it wants from its soldiers. “For the first time in its history‚” Mead writes, “the military wants to teach even junior personnel not just what to think but how to think.” This change has taken place primarily because of the U.S.’s involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, where a soldier isn’t just fighting but is tasked with a number of different jobs, requiring different skills, tactics, and cultural understanding.

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