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Virtual World War Ideology

June 9, 2013

It’s both frightening and fascinating to see national ideologies being played out in contemporary video game entertainment. Visualizing these evolving geo-politics, Complex produced a map this March, revealing the West’s virtual enemies of the last decade.

The result is a blending of Bush’s “axis of evil” nations combined with countries associated with Islamic terrorism, drug cartels, and some failed states thrown in for good measure. But most note worthy is the regular appearance of looming BRIC economies as foes: Brazil, Russia, India, and China—whose exploding influence in world trade is clearly a threat to U.S and European dominance and therefore must be ideologically off-sided. Also interesting are the notable exceptions such as Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Palestine, Syria and Iran, all of which are all absent. Are these countries dismissible or are such conflicts too close to the bone?

Meanwhile, the DigitalTrends have recently reported that The People’s Liberation Army of China teamed up with Wuxi Giant Interactive Group have created a new game which pits Chinese soldiers against their main opposition, the US military. The proudly named“Glorious Mission (also known as Mission of Honor) is being used a training tool for PLA recruits treads on some dangerous territory by piquing U.S. concerns of nationalism and anti-American sentiments.”

Using video games for military training is of course nothing new. In fact the Chinese have a lot of catching up to do. Aside from America’s Army, the freely downloadable, teen pitched entertainment/training package first released in 2002, in 2008 alone the U.S. Army invested $50 million developing games for combat preparation.

Whether these ideologies help today’s gamers to understand the flavor of the current cool-aid or if they only serve to further national, racial and cultural stereotypes is debatable, but that computer games are looming a battlefield for geopolitics is not.

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