Is there a place for computer games in training for war?

Bret R at CIMSEC says so.

The age of Fourth Generation Gaming is upon us.  With the launch of the PlayStation 4 this week and the Xbox One next week, the younger side of me emerges from its shell with interest.  As we step into this new age of gaming, one has to wonder if these new sophisticated gaming devices have the potential to contribute to professional military training and education in an age of fiscal austerity.  This article argues that specific video games provide users the opportunity to practice ground and naval warfare tactics in addition to leadership skills.

By the way, he links to this review of Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations. I’ve been on Harpoon ‘97 since… well, 1997.

If any of you feel like a donation toward my purchase of Command, I’m more than willing to accept! You can Paypal at the email in the Contact page.



7 responses to “Is there a place for computer games in training for war?

  1. Not with a console…it takes serious processing to deal with all the variables in a large scenario. The other thing is consoles won’t let you deal with large areas, nor do they allow you to speed the game play up so you don’t fall asleep. Brad, did you ever try a game called “TACOPS”? Its the Harpoon of land warfare.


    • Bryon,

      I’m going to have to disagree with you on the consoles aspect. Consoles are actually capable of running large environments. Developers actually say that the reason we don’t see very many large, complex games on consoles is because A) their market is already on the PCs and B) re-configuring a complex game for a simple controller is difficult. It’s possible for developers to tweak their server architecture for large environments, but none have done so yet because they don’t think they’ll profit in the long run. Consoles can process a lot of variables (I assume you mean the resource-heavy scripts)–it just depends on what specifically you’re trying to do. My point: I would not be surprised if we some attempt towards a simulator on 4th generation consoles.

      TACOPS is a lot of fun and will always be a classic and good tool, but I think it fails to create that dynamic, immersive feeling. That’s why I chose Arma–if you’re leading a platoon on a patrol through a hostile urban environment, you have to deal not only with the command challenges, but also making these decisions while observing the environment from a first person perspective (for example, a Dshk may be roaring in your ears, causing you to slow/adjust your battle plan to a crawl because you are overestimating the enemy resistance).

      The guide with TACOPS is a good addition to the digital bookshelf though.


    • ultimaratioregis

      I have pissed away many hours playing TACOPS.

      What was the old sim they would use in the Navy Global game back in the 70s and mid-80s?


    • Well, as soon as I tackle the learning curve, we’ll have to play.


    • I don’t think I ever even heard of TACOPS. Got a link?


  2. Stormy

    Found something for the Christmas list!