When I was a boy, I was given plastic army men. I arranged them in the sandbox behind our house, and I killed them. I voiced their commands and made the sounds of their suffering. I imagined their war — and I controlled it. But I lost those magical powers as a Marine in Iraq.
We know children are immersed in digital interactivity now, and the soldier of today has grown up on video games. It is becoming a new literacy of sorts. Playing and risking your life are different things. In the video war, there may be some manipulation of anxiety, some adrenaline to the heart, but absolutely nothing is at stake….
[I]magine how frustrating this game would be if, just as you began to play it, an invisible sniper shot you dead every time. The game would not be popular, because being killed that way isn’t fair — just like war. Reality has a way of correcting misconceptions.
- Former Marine Corps infantry officer Benjamin Busch, who served two combat tours in Iraq, in an essay responding to the video game Medal of Honor, which was recently banned by the U.S. military because it allows gamers to play as the Taliban.