Military and terrorist video games

By DERRIK J. LANG, Associated Press (ASAP) © September 25, 2006 A new first-person shooter video game circulating on Islamist Web sites, titled "Night of Bush Capturing," allows players to assume the role of a terrorist, gun down U.S. troops and -- in the game's final level -- assassinate President Bush.
It's just another click click, bang bang in a line of gun-totin' games intended to spur interest and even recruitment for militants in the Middle East. (See Hezbollah Central Internet Bureau's "Special Force" or the pro-Palestinian "Under Siege.") According to a viral ad for "Night of Bush Capturing," the game is intended for "terrorist children."

"You're never going to get 100 percent turnover or transformation or enlistment from these endeavors, but I don't think the creators solely saw it as that," says Joshua S. Fouts, executive director of University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy. "They probably saw it as yet another way to engage people in a venue that is popular."
Four years ago, so did the U.S. Army, who created the game "America's Army" in order to recruit and educate gamers about the military. The free first-person shooter offers both single-player and online battle modes. And it was updated last week with new content.
asap downloaded both "America's Army: Special Forces (Overmatch)" and "Night of Bush Capturing" to see how they matched up.

"America's Army": Gamers can get "America's Army" from Army recruiters or by downloading it from various video gaming sites like Gameworld Network or 3D Gamers. The 2.5 gigabyte-sized game is often included with computer systems from Dell and other hardware manufacturers like video card maker NVIDIA.
"Night of Bush Capturing": This one is a little tougher to find. The 28 megabyte shooter has primarily been distributed on Islamist Web sites. But since news of the game hit the English-speaking world, bloggers have uploaded "Night of Bush Capturing" to file-sharing services such as RapidShare and MegaShare.
"America's Army": Col. Casey Wardynski told The Associated Press the Army spends about $2.5 million annually on the free PC game, developed by the MOVES Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School. All versions of the game have utilized the Unreal engine.
"Night of Bush Capturing": The video game says it was produced by the Global Islamic Media Front, which is described by the Search for International Terrorist Entities Institute as "a jihadist mouthpiece organization." It appears to be a modded version of the game "Quest for Saddam" from Petrilla Entertainment.
"America's Army": The game originally featured nameless combatants. But in the most recent update, the digital likenesses of eight real soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been added to a "virtual recruitment station." They can't virtually fight or die, though. And there's no Osama bin Laden to hunt -- the targets are anonymous bad guys.
"Night of Bush Capturing": The shooter controlled by the player of this game isn't supposed to be anyone in particular. But as for the targets: It's all about Bush. The soldiers in six levels of the game resemble President Bush, while a seventh mission requires players to kill President Bush. Posters of Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and other leaders cover walls throughout the game.
"America's Army": Players can train and fire a variety of weaponry from an M-246 machine gun to an M-203 grenade launcher to an M-82 semiautomatic rifle. There are also smoke grenades, and fragmentation and vehicle-mounted armaments.
"Night of Bush Capturing": The weaponry in "Night of Bush Capturing" is a little less advanced. Players begin armed solely with a generic assault rifle. Throughout the game, other weapons such as shotguns, grenade launchers and machine guns are available.
"America's Army": The locales in "America's Army" are completely generic. You won't find any mention of virtually traveling to Iraq, Afghanistan or North Korea to do battle. Missions take place in such locales as "insurgent camp," "river basin," "border," "water treatment facility" and "farm."
"Night of Bush Capturing": Same goes for this game. In the first mission, the player begins in what appears to be a U.S. military camp. Subsequent missions take place in desert settings with mission names such as "American's Hell," "Jihad Beginning," "A Day at the Desert

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