Government Pushes Propaganda Through Video Games

Military Recruits Young People Through Misleading Games

We documented yesterday that American movies, television and news are dominated by the CIA and other government agencies.

The government also spreads propaganda through video games.

By way of example, former CIA director William Colby went to work for a video game company after he retired, and a former United States marine allegedly confessed to working at a video game company which was really a CIA front to create a game to drum up support for war against Iran.

The Guardian reports:

“For decades the military has been using video-game technology,” says Nina Huntemann, associate professor of communication and journalism at Suffolk University in Boston and a computer games specialist. “Every branch of the US armed forces and many, many police departments are using retooled video games to train their personnel.”

Like much of early computing, nascent digital gaming benefited from military spending. The prototype for the first home video games console, the 1972 Magnavox Odyssey, was developed by Sanders Associates, a US defence contractor. Meanwhile, pre-digital electronic flight simulators, for use in both military and civilian training, date back to at least the second world war.

Later, the games industry began to repay its debts. Many insiders note how instruments in British Challenger 2 tanks, introduced in 1994, look uncannily like the PlayStation’s controllers, one of the most popular consoles of that year. Indeed, warfare’s use of digital war games soared towards the end of the 20th century.

“By the late 1990s,” says Nick Turse, an American journalist, historian and author of The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives, “the [US] army was pouring tens of millions of dollars into a centre at the University of Southern California – the Institute of Creative Technologies – specifically to build partnerships with the gaming industry and Hollywood.” [The Washington Times reports on the link as well.]

It’s a toxic relationship in Turse’s opinion, since gaming leads to a reliance on remote-controlled warfare, and this in turn makes combat more palatable.

“Last year,” says Turse, “the US conducted combat missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. There are a great many factors that led to this astonishing number of simultaneous wars, but the increasing use of drones, and thus a lower number of US military casualties that result, no doubt contributed to it.”

The Christian Science Monitor noted in 2009:

In 1999, the military had its worst recruiting year in 30, and Congress called for “aggressive, innovative” new approaches. Private-sector specialists were brought in, including the top advertising agency Leo Burnett, and the Army Marketing Brand Group was formed. A key aim of the new recruitment strategy was to ensure long-term success by cultivating the allegiance of teenage Americans.

Part of the new campaign, helping the post-9/11 recruiting bump, was the free video game America’s Army. Since its release, different versions of the war game have been downloaded more than 40 million times, enough to put it in the Guinness book of world records. According to a 2008 study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “the game had more impact on recruits than all other forms of Army advertising combined.”


That these efforts are unfaithful to war’s reality has not gone unnoticed. Protesting the Army Experience Center in Philadelphia, Sgt. Jesse Hamilton, who served two tours in Iraq and nine total in the military, expressed disgust that the Army has “resorted to such a deceiving recruitment strategy.”

It’s an approach that could have detrimental long-term effects. “The video game generation is worse at distorting the reality” of war, according to one Air Force colonel. Although they may be more talented at operating predator drones, the colonel told the Brookings Institution, “They don’t have that sense of what [is] really going on.”

NBC News reported in 2003:

Video games are increasingly viewed by top brass as a way to get teenagers interested in enlisting.

Games such as “America’s Army,” developed and published by the Army, and “Guard Force,” which the Army National Guard developed with Alexandria, Va.-based Rival Interactive, can be downloaded or picked up at recruitment offices.

“America’s Army” has been a hit online since its July 2002 release, attaining 1.5 million registered users who endure a basic training regiment complete with barbed-wire obstacle courses and target practice.

“Guard Force” has been less successful. Released last year, it features bland synth-rock music that blares in the background. Between video commercials touting the thrills of enlisting in the Army National Guard, gamers pluck flood victims from rooftops or defend a snowy base. In the training mission, gamers deploy helicopters, even tanks, to rescue skiers trapped in an avalanche.

Foreign Policy argued last year:

Video games would seem to be ideal propaganda tools. Where comic books and newsreels once enthralled the Greatest Generation, today’s millennials are in love with video games. American consumers, for example, spent $25 billion on games in 2010, while gamers worldwide play 3 billion hours a week. Games also offer advantages over traditional propaganda mediums like television or newspapers: They are interactive and immersive, they and deliver challenge, competition, and the hands-on triumph of personally gunning down enemies.


Who could blame a CIA spymaster for pondering whether games could be used to demonize Iran or vilify Venezuela?

Michael Bauch writes:

Governments are increasingly trying to twist the business into a brainwashing machine to promote their agendas, just as has been done with the movie industry.

Why are video games such a perfect tool for governments and why are governments stepping up their usage of them? Because the Internet generation now have easy access to all information and points of view. Governments don’t want kids using the Internet to learn about these things. So governments need to keep kids distracted and under constant brainwashing. A typical American kid might go to school all morning learning about how great America is and how dangerous the rest of the world is, then come home and play some video games like Strategy 2012.

This game was free during the Presidential campaign and tells you who you should vote for and how political campaigns are run (or at least how the government would like you to think it’s done). This is the official game description: “Help Mitt Romney win the Nomination by beating his conservative rivals. Then choose Romney or Obama and fight for the presidency in Ohio.”


Not only are government-developed games spreading propaganda. Game developers are now accepting the norms set by the government like in Scribblenaughts where the game set’s a puzzle for you to solve by conjuring items. In one puzzle you get a mission called “Peacefully break up the Rioters!” What would a sane person try first? Well, I tried “Diplomat” and “Peacekeeper”. Neither had any effect. So I tried “Tear Gas” and had the crowd crying and disbursing in seconds, immediately earning a gold star just as you would in school when you have done something right! You can watch the video … of me playing the mission.


Now that the gaming industry have been infected by government propaganda they are now constantly sending the information they want to your kids.

You might assume that only foreigners are depicted as enemy targets in the propaganda video games.  But remember that peaceful protest and any criticism of the government is now considered potential terrorism.

As such, it should not be entirely surprising that the enemy target in the most popular video game series, Call of Duty – which is more popular than virtually any movie or musical album – is a Julian Assange like character who is the “leader of the 99%”.

And see this and this.  

This entry was posted in Politics / World News. Bookmark the permalink.
  • ShankyS

    I get what you are saying and that for the multitude of children left to raise themselves, yes, the above is 100% correct. Then there are the gun respecting/literate, COD playing kids like mine that go see Act of Valor and such that get what and why cause they have parents that takes the time to explain it all to them. (they don’t want to see Zero D30 cause they know it is crap). Parents that engage and educate, parents not afraid to live in reality and address the truth have kids that get it. I find positive qualities can be rendered from these games and proper use of firearms. Qualities that can prove irreplaceable in nightmarish situations (say … tyrannic). I’m just making the point that not all is bad and some good can be gleaned if proper mindset is taken.

    • InnerCynic

      Leaving kids, in an intellectual and moral vacuum, will produce what the elites desire: robotic janissaries all to eager to kill and ask questions later… much later or never. AOV is no less a piece of propaganda than ZD. One “glorifies” the militaristic elite while the other glorifies torture… all in service to the empire. Notice that none of these goons ever says “no”.

  • George Boosh

    A video game called America’s Army was promoted by the USA Armed forces and sent out to children of recruiting age in the late 2002. This game provided Army basic training, marksmen training, tactical simulations and real life terror and combat similations. The game was initially provided for FREE to men and women under the age of 24 (I believe that was the cut off.).

    • InnerCynic

      It was, and is, pure propaganda. The “good guys” were always, regardless of which “side” you chose, the US, while the “terrorists” were those darker shaded characters. Clearly they were sending a message from the beginning. Recruiting tool? Hell yes!

  • gozounlimited

    Carl, I don’t know if I will be back ….so …. just want to leave you with some thoughts….you can draw your own conclusions.

    Weather Control – China ‘s Perfect Weapon

    What if todays crazy weather patterns devastating countries, crops and
    people are not as a result of global warming? What if it’s more sinister
    – the perfect weapon.
    Not content to push the edge in cloning,
    architecture and geological engineering, China’s also leaving the rest
    of the world behind when it comes to controlling the weather.
    They’re training young scientists and pilots;
    they’ve just gone crazy there. It’s the epicenter of all weather modification activity. They’re pushing hard.

    see here:

    China’s holdings of U.S. government securities were $1.164
    trillion as of June, according to Treasury Department data
    released Aug. 15. China has increased its holdings this year, as
    the American economy stalled and Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis

    ‘Side Issue’

    While the total size of the U.S. debt “and trend of the
    debt is a national security risk,” China’s holdings “are a
    side issue,” Derek Scissors, a China analyst for the Heritage
    Foundation in Washington, said in an e-mail.

    Still, “if deterrence breaks down and a conflict starts,
    China is going to attack the U.S. bond market and accept the
    ensuing financial losses,” he said.

    Read more:
    The Chinese interest in eliminating American guns is obvious. Even
    though they are trading partners, China’s communist government still
    harbors ambitions of taking over the United States, economically or
    militarily. Getting rid of our guns would make the latter option a lot
    more feasible.

    Read more:


    And back to the Ethernet. The Ethernet, (if you know physics), mimics the properties of the Either that exists all around and within us, a natural net. Mythology and Religion hold this property to be Sacred, encapsulating the power of God, the Universe, and relationship to life. The two strongest influences on either is Love and Hate. Without providing the exhaustive evidence that supports the Physics, Mythology, and Religion…..I am asking you to take my word for it that the Ethernet mimics the Either with the same consequences and rewards.

    Love you guys, thank you for your Love.

  • Jonah Winters

    Don’t miss the last article Gary Webb wrote before his suicide (from 2 gunshots to the head, no less), on this topic: . Some have said — I don’t know if there’s evidence for this, haven’t looked — that he was working on expanding this story, exposing the video game / Army / CIA connection, at the time of his death.

  • Roger Richard

    Thanks for posting such latest information. This is awesome….Sell Video Games

  • Inconsistencies

    Can’t target kids for marketing cigarettes, but war propoganda is ok?