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Games Don't Kill

Games Don't Kill, nor do they teach players to kill, but they still provide some lessons which could prove lethal in the wrong kind of hands.

[This is a repost from the latest article on my blog: Games Don't Kill]

The enemy was holed up in a small wooden bunker and our squad had to flush them out.  None of our 6 men squad had much experience in bunker assault and we were pretty nervous.  Before we moved out i briefed the men: we would move in pairs, each pair attacking the bunker from the left, center and right.

In each pair, one soldier could only move when another provides suppressive fire, in the hope of pinning the enemy down until one pair would get close enough to drop a grenade into the bunker.  At my signal we moved out, frog leaping forward with guns blazing. 

Peter and me covered the right flank and while moving forward we noticed some enemy troops sprinting out of the bunker.  We fired simultaneously, pinning the soldier behind a log until one of us got the kill shot.

In the meantime the two other pairs had managed to get up close to the bunker, but we reached a stalemate.  We could not go any further and the soldiers occupying the bunker could not get out, although one made a vain attempt to take up a firing position in front of the bunker, where he met his timely end.

Realizing we would soon run out of ammunition, we instinctively started pouring fire on the bunker.  Our bullets might not penetrate the wooden walls, but the impacts of bullets would certainly rattle its occupants.  Then one of us saw a break and made a mad dash towards the bunker, throwing grenade inside.

Then the umpire whistled to mark the end of our paint ball match.

Afterwards, while enjoying a cold beer with our competitors, I realized that during the match I had instinctively followed the lessons learned to each soldier in the field:

Find the enemy
Fix the enemy (with suppressive fire)
Flank the enemy
Finish him.

Yet I have never served in my countries armed forces, all the training I got for this fight came from a single game: Brothers in Arms.  For the first time in my life I realized that something learned from within a game was of direct use in the real world.

Beforehand I had always dismissed the claims as games teach children to kill as rantings from misinformed parents and educators.  But seeing how in game experience helped me accomplish my goals on the paint ball battlefield forced me to reconsider my opinion.

Sure, there is still no game that will teach how to proper handle and maintain a M-16 rifle, (the necessary army manuals can be downloaded of the web) yet games like brothers in arms, America's Army and many other shooters, provide players with training tools to learn and hone tactics. 

So the next time an idiot goes on a killing spree and accusations start flying towards video games, we should use other arguments then it's just a game.  Because games don't kill, neither do they train to kill, but they do train firefight survival.

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