Tag Archives: military

Polygon: ‘How gaming in wartime connected soldiers, a father and a son’

Richard Grisham, host of Press Row Podcast, writes for Polygon:

Modern communication technology has made the hardship of deployment easier both for soldier and family, but the close connection in the field still can create an awkward burden. One night, Fields called back to his family at “kind of an emotional time.

“I heard my son talk in the background and he said ‘Dad, I can’t wait for you to come home and be safe’,” Fields said. “It was his concerned voice that told me he was reaching out to try and make a link.

Fields felt the need to “meet him halfway.” He thought back to Call of Duty, and if he could play it with his son when— or if — he returned home.

“I immediately walked up to the battalion aid station because I knew …there was a young kid, one of those guys that wasn’t that guy who’s gonna be in the gym lifting 300 pounds and chewing tobacco, and a ‘man’s man’; he is a little soft-spoken and a lot of people thought that he was a kinda odd,” Fields said.

Still, this odd kid, Spec. Jameson Lindskog, was well known for his skill at Call of Duty. Fields, a 20-year veteran and command sergeant major, approached him.

“I said ‘Lindskog, your job is to teach me this game,'” Fields remembered.

Connection between two soldiers; connection between father and son. Powerful story. One hell of a read.

Grisham:

The story of Fields and his unit is depicted in the documentary The Hornet’s Nest, which premiered in theaters on Friday.

Operation Supply Drop:

For more on the military and gaming, read/watch Polygon’s feature on Operation Supply Drop; a charity committed to sending video games to troops in the field.

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Launching Operation Supply Drop

Launching Operation Supply Drop
Polygon

What helps soldiers? Food? Toiletries? Video Games?

Machuga knows a guy, his Stryker driver in Iraq, who didn’t make the transition. He got out of the military in 2005, then spent the next five years trying to reintegrate and failing. He reenlisted, got sent to Afghanistan.

“Anybody who’s been out of the military has that point in their life where they’re kind of floating,” Machiga says. “They’re just like, they’re not happy with civilian life, because there’s nothing like the military out there. You find yourself driving past enlistment stations and thinking, ‘I should just stop by. I’m not actually going to do it. I’m just going to go inside and see what’s going on.’ And he fell into that trap.”

Machuga wanted to send his buddy something to help him pass the time, so he put together a care package of video games. With help from Activision’s Dan Amrich, he scraped together a set of Guitar Hero and DJ Hero games and shipped them out as a standard 20x20x20, under 70-pound care package, plenty to keep a soldier occupied. His driver loved it. And it got the other soldiers talking.

“Suddenly a dozen guys from his unit start going, ‘Hey, this is great, we could use some love too!’ I was like, ‘Oh shit, what have I started?'” says Machuga. “So I started packing up what was left and sent that as well. That’s what snowballed the whole thing.”

– Russ PItts, Polygon

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Russian government wants to help produce patriotic games

Russian government wants to help produce patriotic games
Polygon

Interested to see how this pans out. Propaganda or educational?

“A video game has to have not only an entertainment value, but it also has to teach and be conducive to patriotic education,” Arseny Mironov, an aide to Russian culture minister Vladimir Medinsky, who heads the Russian Military History Society, told the Russian newspaper Izvestiya.

– Polygon

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