Tuesday, September 7, 2010

From Gameboy to Armageddon

accompanying pictureThis fascinating programme on BBC Radio 3 is a repeat of an earlier broadcast in February 2010.

The programme discusses the use of gaming technology in warfare, combat training, and even recovery and recuperation. The phrase "military entertainment complex" nicely captures the scope of the programme. (According to Tim Lenoir, All But War is Simulation [see footnote #4 on page 292], the phrase (which is a re-working of "military-industrial complex" which refers, literally, to the business of killing people) was, apparently, first used by Bruce Sterling in "War is Virtual Hell" in the first issue of Wired magazine (March/April 1993). While Sterling certainly discusses the developing synergy between the military and gaming technology, he doesn't quite coin that wonderful phrase.)

There is some discussion of the morality of gameplay--for example, having to kill "wounded" opponents or bots to win Full Spectrum Warrior--but interestingly, while the media often raises questions about the morality of videogames, the question of the morality of warfare per se doesn't even appear as a blip on the programme's radar screen.

It hasn't yet hit the BBC iPlayer, but will appear shortly: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00qps1j. Alternatively, the marvellous RadioDownloader offers a convenient way of grabbing radio programmes that might otherwise be missed.

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