Like many families, my grandson wanted the new PS4 for Christmas. The video game industry has come a long way from Pong to todays high resolution and realistic games. Many of the most popular games depict the US military fighting battles from WWII to the War on Terror. The battle scenes are realistic down to the smallest detail.
So who is behind the design of these games?
RECOIL magazine’s Peter Suciu did a column titled “It’s All Gun and Games: How Firearms Experts Keep Video Games Realistic so You Keep Your Eyeballs on the Screen.” Suciu writes, “[Video] Games have indeed come a long way since the days of Pong and Pac Man – they’ve even come a long way just in the last couple of years. Today’s first-person-shooter games often feature characters wielding small arms that look, operate, and sound just like the real deal. This takes more than just thumbing through books or scanning an airsoft replica to get it right.”
“Just as many filmmakers know that specific expertise is required, today’s game producers know that to make a blockbuster action game, calling in experts is key to authenticity,” notes Suciu.
Who are these “experts” called in to advise on the newest video games? Many are former military.
There are a number of firms providing the real life input to the video gaming industry. “One such firm is MUSA Military Entertainment Consulting, which is headed by Brian Chung, a retired U.S. Army Captain and combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He worked on the Medal of Honor series, and more recently consulted on the design of the recently released Battlefield 4,” reports Suciu.
Others who have made video games more realistic include Dale Dye, Retired US Marine Corps Captain and Vietnam veteran, founder of Warriors, Inc. “There have been some interesting attempts at Vietnam War video games, but I have yet to see one based on the Korean War,” says Dye, recipient of the Bronze Star with Valor and three Purple Hearts during combat tours in Vietnam and Lebanon.
Suciu notes, “[W]hile games may seem to make war ‘fun,’ the consultants know that combat is deadly serious and [they] hope their attention to detail means that the players will appreciate the sacrifices that the soldiers paid in the field – oftentimes with their lives.”
Brian Chung states, “Games give a glimpse of being in combat, but without the danger of it. The carrying of the weight, the carrying of the ammo, the lack of sleep – none of that is in the game. Games are about those high-adrenaline moments, but getting it right for me is showing a level of respect for those who served and who are serving.”