Recently, Prince Harry has been criticized in the news due to his comparison of his time in Afghanistan to being like video games. However, is this necessarily a bad thing? Or could it be that there is some good in his statement. The assumption that is always being made is that even a slightest comparison to video games means that reality is not being seen. However, this is not necessarily true across all gamers.
When looking at “America’s Army and the Video Games Industry” by Randy Nichols it seems that the connection between video games and the military is more positive than the media allows for it to be. Violence is not the only thing that can be gained form video games but also skill and interest. America’s Army was developed for the purpose of generating more recruits. The game allows for gamers to begin to experience what a military life would be like. Though it does not indicate what the whole experience is like. Some people may argue that this is deceptive, especially since the aim of the game is to create more interest in the army. Both sides of the debate can argue that a video game can only simulate the experience to a certain degree. America’s Army allows for a potential recruit to understand more about what he or she might be facing upon committing than if they only speak to a military representative. No matter how much exposure a person has to the military, either through personal accounts from family members or generated simulations, how well they perform once enlisted is still unknown.
Prince Harry is quoted stating that “I am one of these people who like playing Play Station and Xbox, so with my thumbs I would like to think that I am quite useful.” This statement automatically deemed as a bad thing. However, from the prince’s perspective video games have been quite helpful for him. Video games offer a set of skill that can be enhanced through playing. Training can also be offered through gaming because of the accessibility. The accessibility of the game also allows not only the developers to create different situations but also for gamers to create mods.
A video game can never be a replacement for training or the experience of being on the front lines However, it offers an additional way of training. In Prince Harry’s story’s case the Taliban criticizes the prince for mentioning his experience with video games. But it is also a valid argument to say that the Taliban may not understand the influence of video games in western popular culture. With video games so incorporated into popular culture already, it seems like not having a game like America’s Army would be a missed opportunity.