Army Wants ‘First-Person Thinker’ Video Game

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

David Axe notes that “video games are all the rage in the U.S. Army,” but “almost all of them are street-level, tactical games for young grunts.” Major Kyle Burley, a staffer at the Army War College, wants to see something to help make better generals, something he calls a first-person thinker:

Today Burley uses a moderated, text-based game that simulates top command during an imaginary Second Korean War. Essentially, the game is just a series of chat rooms where colonels hash out potential command decisions, and a moderator decides whether they’re good decisions or not. What Burley wants is an “immersive” game with a live 3D environment and avatars for the players. “Ideally, we would have a virtual, online, Web-access roleplaying environment which allows students to be an avatar [that] probably looks much like the student, and they’re given a skin like in Second Life that is equivalent to their position, and they go into different moderated rooms and talk to fellow roleplayers that are in that scenario.”

I think Burley is missing the point. There’s nothing first-person about being a general; a general gives orders. His job is to get information, usually by talking to people, and make decisions, which has nothing to do with 3D movement.

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