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From Sun Tzu to Xbox: War and Video Games

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Part of an industry that now earns more yearly than the Hollywood box office, video games have entered the forefront of the militarization of popular culture. How did this once-innocent pastime become a key player in America’s entry into global warfare? And is this blurring of reality changing the way we think about war? Stretching from 3000 BC to today, this book investig Part of an industry that now earns more yearly than the Hollywood box office, video games have entered the forefront of the militarization of popular culture. How did this once-innocent pastime become a key player in America’s entry into global warfare? And is this blurring of reality changing the way we think about war? Stretching from 3000 BC to today, this book investigates how military cultures and the evolution of games have been closely linked, from video gaming’s ancestors like chess and go, to the popularization of the 19th century Kriegspiel, to the development of computers for use during World War II and the invention of video games by Defense Department-funded scientists. Readers will discover how war fantasies played out from the early arcade years to the rise of online gaming, how the military began working with companies like Nintendo, Atari and Microsoft to produce training devices, and how today’s generals hope to sell recruitment to a new generation of joystick warriors.


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Part of an industry that now earns more yearly than the Hollywood box office, video games have entered the forefront of the militarization of popular culture. How did this once-innocent pastime become a key player in America’s entry into global warfare? And is this blurring of reality changing the way we think about war? Stretching from 3000 BC to today, this book investig Part of an industry that now earns more yearly than the Hollywood box office, video games have entered the forefront of the militarization of popular culture. How did this once-innocent pastime become a key player in America’s entry into global warfare? And is this blurring of reality changing the way we think about war? Stretching from 3000 BC to today, this book investigates how military cultures and the evolution of games have been closely linked, from video gaming’s ancestors like chess and go, to the popularization of the 19th century Kriegspiel, to the development of computers for use during World War II and the invention of video games by Defense Department-funded scientists. Readers will discover how war fantasies played out from the early arcade years to the rise of online gaming, how the military began working with companies like Nintendo, Atari and Microsoft to produce training devices, and how today’s generals hope to sell recruitment to a new generation of joystick warriors.

53 review for From Sun Tzu to Xbox: War and Video Games

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sheehan

    Very straightforward easy to read exploration of the relationship between the practice war making and the advent of video games as a natural outgrowth of a long history of simulation and strategy gaming. The best parts of the book are the early chapters which tie thousands of years of non-video games to the tradition of play which eventually led to a government funded effort to use computers for more dynamic war-making. Now, I may not advocate all the work personally, but it is clear so much of t Very straightforward easy to read exploration of the relationship between the practice war making and the advent of video games as a natural outgrowth of a long history of simulation and strategy gaming. The best parts of the book are the early chapters which tie thousands of years of non-video games to the tradition of play which eventually led to a government funded effort to use computers for more dynamic war-making. Now, I may not advocate all the work personally, but it is clear so much of the current advance in computing, networking and visualization of environments stemmed from research during WWII and the cold war. I also really liked how none of the players in the evolution of gaming were stereotypically billigerant or peacenik-y, many scientists were hippy-hackers at heart and many generals were trying to mitigate wars by role-playing means to finish them as quickly as possible; so that was cool.

  2. 4 out of 5

    James

    A very good survey of the intersection of video games, military training, and the American culture's treatment of warfare. The author also looks at differing views in other cultures, especially in the Moslem world, and at ways that some game designers are trying to use the medium to teach children and adolescents that there are better solutions than war to many problems. I would have given this five stars, except that the author neglected to look into the psychological consequences of people lea A very good survey of the intersection of video games, military training, and the American culture's treatment of warfare. The author also looks at differing views in other cultures, especially in the Moslem world, and at ways that some game designers are trying to use the medium to teach children and adolescents that there are better solutions than war to many problems. I would have given this five stars, except that the author neglected to look into the psychological consequences of people learning to fight and kill via virtual reality, and that he didn't mention some important people and influences I wish he'd cited.

  3. 5 out of 5

    xd Bryanhiga

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jo Miller-Gamble

  5. 4 out of 5

    Enes Çağlar

  6. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

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    Killerkobra

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    Atıl

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    Jonathan Sutak

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    Alexia M.

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    Aaron

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    Emre Ergin

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    Cek virabey

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    Eric Hasselfeld

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    PrivateHQ

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    James

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    Bryan Wendorf

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    Camilo Montoya

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    Caitlin

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    Huan-hua

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    Ryan Winston

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    Luc_k Kim

  40. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

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    Thomas

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    Andrea Tabor

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  45. 4 out of 5

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  50. 4 out of 5

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  51. 5 out of 5

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  52. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Barlow

  53. 5 out of 5

    Rik Eberhardt

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