British Army launches game-based recruitment

"Start Thinking Soldier" campaign to target online games players; Army says two-thirds of 17- to 21-year-olds have no career path in mind.


Military forces around the world haven’t been slow to see video games as useful recruitment tools. Young people well versed in shooters are regarded as ‘ideal’ for piloting Apache helicopters, while the US Air Force took advantage of Halo 3 as a recruitment tool. The US Army launched America's Army, an online first-person shooter to encourage people to enlist, and most recently, the U.S. Army Experience Centre opened in Philadelphia, loaded with 19 Xbox 360s, interactive map screens, and simulated attacks from an Apache helicopter.

Now, the British government is set to use a similar tactic to help enlist the nation’s youth in the armed forces. A campaign titled "Start Thinking Solider" will include an online game where players have to escape enemy tunnels from a first-person perspective, find the parts to make a bomb in an enemy stronghold, and answer multiple-choice questions.

Research conducted for the British Army recently found that 68 percent of 17- to 21-year-olds had no career path in mind. The campaign, consisting of four television commercials, will be targeted at that group, each ad highlighting a particular area of Army expertise, including teamwork, decision making, leadership, and fitness and mental sharpness.

At the end of each ad, viewers will be asked the question "What would you do?" and are encouraged to head online to answer the question via the interactive game.

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Avatar image for 8sardinr

clover i dont know what military your in.. but ive never pealed a potato

Avatar image for Clovergirl227

rht1992@ You want a real military commercial? How about watching them peal potatoes for 3 hours.. It's rarer then you think to be engaged in violence in the military today.

Avatar image for faithless_8ball

@Enigma_Ltd Many people join the army just to shoot the "Enemy", in the Israeli occupation army many young teenagers (russian immigrants) join just to shoot a gun.! I'm not talking about US or British, but I doubt that "only a very few people join up to kill people"

Avatar image for Cj87144

your in basic.... and you can go online...... wow..... canada.....

Avatar image for RAGINGxPONY

I'm going through Basic right now for the Canadian Reserves and i credit video games a little bit for making me interested. Anyways i think it's probably a good idea for armies to use this as most people that would want to join are probably the type that are in to video games.

Avatar image for rando22

@Spidy2150, Enigma Ltd, & ukpet anime You know it's people like you that make me proud to serve in the armed forces. It's nice to know that some people can understand what it's like to be a soldier. Expecially in today's society where everyone like's to blame the soldiers for their leader's mistakes. The only other thing I'd like to say to everybody is that even if you don't agree with what the military leaders are doing, please support us troops. We're just following orders.

Avatar image for e1337prodigy

Didn't like America's Army so does that mean I wouldn't like the US Army? Probably won't like our British army either, just as bad.

Avatar image for mr0806

lol have thought about joining the military after playing video games then i realize there is more risk involved and i would ave to actually do something...

Avatar image for Spidy2150

Its an individuals responsibility to find out what the army is about before joining...if you think a recruiter is going to hold your hand and tell you ever minute of what a soldier is like, think again. Their job is to recruit, not to say that you could be deployed in the future and die in combat or become incapacitated. Stop expecting other people to spell everything out for you and go discover what a certain career is like on your own. People join the army for many different reasons, but the fact of the matter is there are young men and women that our sacrificing their lives to keep you safe. Its easy to criticize a soldier behind your computer screen knowing full well you yourself do not have the balls to face the enemy.

Avatar image for rht1992

By the way I have nothing against the armed forces just their sneaky ways of getting naive and gullible people to join

Avatar image for rht1992

I live in Scotland and i think the army just does what ever they can to get young people to join. All our tv adds are soldiers going swimming with girls and walking around the jungle. They never show the violence. My cousin Joined and went to Iraq and he never talks about it. in fact he's traumatized by what he went through. The army will never show what really happens and this game will be the same you won't get any sense of combat you'll just enjoy shooting guns.

Avatar image for pilot_riaz

I would love to pilot an Apache Helicopter or F-22

Avatar image for hassy94

What happens when people are bored and start knifing their teammates, in real life it won't just go right through them :P

Avatar image for SephirothTDL

I fell for the America's Army I'm doing my part... are you?

Avatar image for RDA34

Im sorry to say, video games has nothing to do with being a real soldier. Served 18 months as a soldier, used G-3, AK-47 and MP-5. I play Call of Duty often and I dont remember those weapons getting jammed as you play? or do they? You have to feel how it is when they are shooting on you, you wont even be able to reload your weapon. Looking at the screen is not the same as you try to distinguish terrorists in a rocky, brown background. Wake up guys!

Avatar image for ukpet_anime

Totally agree Enigma. Using video games as a training and advertising medium for the armed forces isn't anything new really and I personally think it can sometimes put the gaming industry into a positive light. It's showing that games can actually be resourceful as well as electronic entertainment. Those fighting overseas and protecting our very homes we live in deserve nothing but the best in whatever resources can be made available to them to keep 'em safe out there. That environment alone is a different world altogether from our controllers and consoles, for which some of us will take for granted.

Avatar image for Ninja-Hippo

This story doesn't point out that all the TV ads are from a first-person perspective and look eerily similar to Call of Duty.

Avatar image for Enigma_Ltd

You people are all morons. Using games as advertising (or recruitment) is not nearly as big of a deal as you think. Plus, as rando22 pointed out, only a very few people join up to "kill people," in fact, coming from five generations of USN on one side and three generations of assorted military service (USMC and Air Force, mostly) on the other, I can definitely say that a lot of people do join up to serve their country and the common good. Also, anyone who hasn't already realized the distinction between reality and games probably won't pass the psyche tests, so shut up about how there aren't any respawns. It's just annoying at this point. There also aren't any respawns in football when you break your neck or in traffic when you get smashed into tiny pieces, but I don't see anyone complaining about them. What people need to realize is that the military exists to protect us, so stop giving them crap for recruiting.

Avatar image for rikhan_z

Multiple choice questions??? do we really need that? I'll stick with running around shooting people... that's more creative and logical... mulitple choice questions is a waste of video game space.

Avatar image for mikeyg756

Yeah becuase video games actually make you a good soldier..... pffft. If anything it makes you a worse soldier. "Why'd you shoot him?? he was giving up!!" "Hey its cool, he'll respawn"

Avatar image for chefbabyryan

Haha yeah space marines and real marines are the exact same thing. Mario Bros. pulled me into the world of plumbing for thirty years.

Avatar image for 0Goldeneye0

the graphics are just amazing!!!!!!!! o.O

Avatar image for nathace

stupid idea

Avatar image for rando22

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for Dananihayball

1st person shooting games increase awareness of an specific area and allow you to concentrate on multiple targets at once, me and my mates joke about having a 'call of duty eye' when we notice small things in a far distance that other people can't see, hence shooter gamers making great apache pilots. Why wouldn't the army capatalise upon that, i personally think computer games would make great soldiers, but then im not a soilder so i can't really say i supose

Avatar image for Rockman_00X

This is the beginning of a Skynet-type process. If anyone has been to Universal Studios in CA when the Terminator 3D show was around, you know what I'm talking about.

Avatar image for rando22

As an United States soldier I have mixed feelings bout this. The intent is good, but the way that they're doin it has my stomach twisting a little bit. I joined a year and a half ago, but I knew what I was getting myself into and that my personal reasons for joining were not just to serve my country. Ask anyone why they joined and I bet you'll be pretty suprised why they did. I joined to help pay for college and to better myself moraly and physically. A lot of people have twisted views of the Army thinking that we're a bunch meatheads that like to blow sh!t up, well that's just a little unfair. Some join so they can support their families, others for the adventure, some for the fact that they have nothing better to do. And then there's the 1 in a 1000 who do for the money, the possibility of shooting someone....taking another life. I have yet to be deployed, did my BCT at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and my AIT at Fort Lee, Virginia. I'm Indiana National Gaudsman in Fort Wayne, IN. and I personally hope that I never have to kill another person.

Avatar image for lamprey263

well,I don't support using video games as recruitment, but at the very least it also is not trying to hide what it is

Avatar image for DeathOfJams

Well, this already how armies are always populated nowadays, by finding no-prospect adrenaline junkies who like the idea of being able to shoot people. This is why I get annoyed when people talk about the "heroism" and "patriotism" of out armed forces- while many of them are indeed heroic and brave, on the whole they're not out there to defend our country. In fact, go and watch Generation Kill. It's fiction, but it sticks pretty close to reality (scarily so, sometimes- several characters are actually played by themselves). Gives a pretty good insight into why soldiers do what they do- and it's not because they're brave or love their country.

Avatar image for 1357900

I support our gals, & guys. But this is not the way to recruit. Getting kids/teens to join by giving them a video game engineered adrenaline rush, isn't the answer. As most everyone here says, there aren't any save points, OR re-spawns. You die, & that's it! The army, & military should try something new: trying to recruit people, who do actually know what they're signing up for/getting into, & that they're willfully doing it, & they want to do it.

Avatar image for gormo4

I just the TV ad- I'm gunna go check it out.. just for the game :)

Avatar image for joesh89

this is so misguided. its also very stupid.

Avatar image for Blu-Fan-Boy

WTF!!! i know computer games have evolved but to become recruitment tools for the British and American Army thats just wrong. the point of a computer game is to play for fun !!!!

Avatar image for BigBad95

aww sweet I've always wanted to join the army

Avatar image for adsyboy1994

the taliban will take one look at some kid tryin to no-scope them, and piss themselves laughing.

Avatar image for tomo90

Oh dear, is all I can say.

Avatar image for DPhunkT

Games are fun and all. But there is a big difference between video games and real life situations. Some may be biting off more than they can chew.

Avatar image for ColdfireTrilogy

"players have to escape enemy tunnels from a first-person perspective, find the parts to make a bomb in an enemy stronghold, and answer multiple-choice questions" boy that sounds like some super exciting fun, answering multiple choice !!!! alright!

Avatar image for SteveOwl

As a Uk parent, I am slightly concerned by this, comparing life in the armed forces with playing games isn't right... Me and my son's having a Halo fest or playing Modern Warfare is a whole lot different to them being posted to Afghanistan... Don't get me wrong, I have two close friends in the services, 1 in the desert right now, and I'll stick up for our boys (and gals!) anytime... but they wanted to be in the forces as a career choice from when they were youngsters, they didn't go in on a whim because they were good @ GOW and thought they could kick-arse real RasutoSSAikou points out, there are no re-spawns in real life , just holes in the ground - and you're in them for a very long time...

Avatar image for Kh1ndjal

there is no way i am going to run both Americas Army and British Army on the same comp; what if there's friendly fire? also, i think i would like to blame future killing sprees on these violent games

Avatar image for PsychoBear

a good way to recruit, it's not a full game like American Army but it does show you if you have the potential to join the army.

Avatar image for thenephariouson


Avatar image for otanikun

Cool, using video games against gamers to recruit them into the army, that's just both lazy and creative at the same time. Too bad when you're in the army you can't respawn, it's game over, period.

Avatar image for The_Wolf22

Nice. A very short and small version of America's Army? I imagine they could call it Britain's Army.

Avatar image for mikees1

its nothing to do with fitness at all, these games are purley to test mental apptitude (along with the ones they make you sit in the recruitment office,i know,iv done one!) and its to see if mentaly and phscologicaly you are up to the task.Fitness comes latter when these test have been sat and passed.

Avatar image for cloudy14

Surely if you get shot in the army you cant restart/respawn, and i think a lot of people will realise that

Avatar image for picklesrocks

thats stupid, you cant compare a game to real life

Avatar image for agent517

True this is a bad idea because you can not compare a video game to real life. You have to be fit for the army meaning physical and mental work out. You can not expect anyone that sits around all day, and burns there eyes out in front of a screen to be fit for the army.

Avatar image for Mr_Versipellis

Thought this'd happen. I really don't see how this'll help you fight better though. Shooters show nothing of the horrors of war. I'll give it as go though!

Avatar image for deactivated-57fce817a4cf5

Plus there is the constant fear of being killed, the horror of seeing your friends and colleauges get their heads blown off in front of your eyes and the psychological disorders that affect you even after you return to civilian life, IF you return. I mean of course I am only referring to those in the field, like the boys on GOW, not the grunts that sit around in barracks all day whilst real soldiers are out there putting their lives on the line. Actually I would like to speak to a soldier that has returned from Afghanistan and ask them whether they would compare it to a few goes on COD4 or something.

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