War Games: The Army’s Teen Arsenal

“America’s Army” and more government shooter game lures.

Illustration: Courtesy America's Army

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1 in 4: Proportion of males between 13 and 24 who have played America’s Army, the 7-year-old shooter game that launched its 3rd version in June. The free download has 10 million registered users; players are 29% more likely to be interested in military service.

14,500 square feet: Size of the Army Experience Center, an arcade with banks of shooter games, Black Hawk and Humvee simulators, and free wifi that opened in a Philadelphia mall in August 2008. Staffed by 20 Army recruiters, some in civvies, it’s open to visitors of all ages.

$1.3 million: Amount the Army spent to sponsor the hit Xbox game Halo 3. At a launch event at a New Hampshire gaming store, an Air Force recruiter explained, “Our target market is identical to that of video game stores.”

5 miles: Amount of data cable inside the Virtual Army Experience, a “virtual test drive of the United States Army” that tours fairs and festivals around the country. Visitors can participate in a simulated attack on a “genocidal faction in the notional city of Nradreg,” all under a giant inflatable dome.

145,000: Questions per month answered by Sgt. Star, GoArmy.com’s virtual tour guide. Asked about his taste in music, the camo-clad avatar replies, “I like everything from the classics to hip-hop to the occasional show tune.”

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In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

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