US Army to sponsor gaming league; Destructoid moves to the moon

The US Army, as seen in Pauly Shore’s seminal masterpiece In The Army Now*, has always been on the forefront of the effort to convince trigger-happy, emotionally unbalanced gamers to enlist, and to that end, they have devised many pixel-based strategies; from the creation of the America’s Army FPS, to their newest venture, a government-sponsored partnership with the Global Gaming League, they have excelled mightily in the realm of spending tax-payer’s money to fill our barracks, at home and abroad, with the same people who spend their days on Xbox LIVE calling each other f*gn****rs, and overdosing on Mountain Dew.

Hit the jump for the latest in the Army’s efforts to recruit psuedo-adults via the lure of sexy, sexy video games.

Game Almighty brings us word of the sponsorship deal the Army has set up with the Global Gaming League, and the quotes within the piece are enough to convince me to move to Canada. For instance;

The Global Gaming League is a gaming community site that blends game news and play. Founder Ted Owen describes it as “ESPN meets MySpace for gamers. Video gaming is a culture. The Army has been a very forward thinker. They get it.”

Starting this June, the Army will sponsor a “national gaming” area as a way to tap into the site’s 9.2 million players per month of everything from shooter games to pro baseball. The goal of the sponsorship deal is to find potential candidates for recruitment among the prime 17 to 24 year-old male demographic that makes up roughly 80 percent of the gamers on the site.

“The consumer model for traditional media is changing,” said Gary Bishop, deputy director of strategic outreach for the U.S. Army. “We’re grappling with the challenge of how do we better use new media to tell the Army story. Online is probably the best way.”

According to Bishop, the new sponsorship deal presents an opportunity “to tell the Army story. It’s not all about combat. Being in the Army is about driving trucks, welding, nurses and computers. If we have an opportunity to tell the Army story, we may have better influence.”

“ESPN meets MySpace for gamers”? I’m amazed he couldn’t work the terms “synergy”, or “proactive” into that statement. I don’t think I’ve seen marketing-speak this thick since that night I got drunk and fell into the grave of Theodore Levitt!

Absolutely no one is going to understand that joke, so don’t strain yourself trying to.

I do concur with Mr. Owen on one point: the army has a rich history, and a detailed story that should be told, remembered and revered by all the people who have benefited from the sacrifices made by soldiers throughout the history of the US. I get the feeling, though, that any efforts the Army is making to tell that story through video games are going to leave out all the parts about having your head blown off by an Iraqi sniper, or the fact that you very rarely get to respawn after you die. 

In the end, this is a very thinly veiled attempt to convince children, who aren’t even old enough to drink whiskey, that they ought to risk their lives for their country. I’m not one to say that they should or they shouldn’t, but I have a gigantic soapbox, and that soapbox told me last night that these underhanded recruiting tactics are really creepy. After reading this whole thing, I felt like I had to go take a shower.

In lye. 

(* — I only bring that movie up to point out that Lori Petty is amazingly sexy, and I would like to have all of her babies. What can I say? I’m into strong chicks.)

Earnest Cavalli
I'm Nex. I used to work here but my love of cash led me to take a gig with Wired. I still keep an eye on the 'toid, but to see what I'm really up to, you should either hit up my Vox or go have a look at the Wired media empire.