July 6, 2004

Language (Video) Games for the Military

by Scott Rettberg · , 10:14 pm

In “Virtual Camp Trains Soldiers in Arabic,” the Times reports on a video game being developed at the University of Southern California’s School of Engineering as a tool for teaching soldiers to speak Arabic. The game also uses AI, giving characters such as patrons of a Lebanese cafe “arousal levels” to let soldiers in training see if their use of Arabic and non-verbal cues is effective or not. I think this type of military video game sounds much more useful (and less bigbrotherishly frightening) than first-person shooter recruiting games designed to turn mall rats into soldiers.

2 Responses to “Language (Video) Games for the Military”

  1. Gonzalo Says:

    I just wonder why the US soldiers need to learn Arabic in the first place? I mean, it is not the official language in the US (that’s Spanish, in case you didn’t know it). The nearest Arabic-speaking country is thousands of miles away, so, why this urge? Aaah, I love the smell of sarcasm in the morning.

  2. Allen Says:

    Good article…

    Im a little in awe of Gonalo’s suggestion that soldiers dont need Arabic, especially when the majority of soliders in the US are deployed in the Middle East! Learning a new language is always beneficial, I got some immersion arabic language training from tolearnarabic.com and was quite pleased. Im not a master, but I feel more comfortable in country. Whether or not video games can give the same experience as talented teachers in a real (not “realistic”) enviroment is another question…


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