Violent Video Games Recruit American Youth

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Article Summary and Rhetorical Analysis

“Violent Video Games Recruit American Youth” by William Lugo discusses impact of video games on military recruitment. The United States Army has developed their own video game to aid in the recruiting process. The game, America’s Army, has been seen as successful in aiding in recruiting as well as cutting recruitment costs for the Army. While most commercial video games attempt to reduce load times, America’s Army has many relatively long load times during which the Soldier’s Creed is displayed. Another game entitled Full Spectrum Warrior is not owned by the military but is based on a training simulator developed by the United States Army. It was originally designed to be an accurate simulation of urban combat, however in the game there are no innocent civilians and therefore no risk of collateral damage. In many video games there is nothing to stop players from killing civilians but in Full Spectrum Warrior military jargon is used to refer to the enemy, possibly in an attempt to reduce the realization that players are killing people. However because of the success that the Army has had in increasing recruitment through the use of video games other branches of the military are developing their own video games.

There is much evidence in the article of Lugo’s opinion of the use of video games in recruitment, his style and techniques he uses in his writing, as well as the audience that he is attempting to appeal to. It is evident in the style and techniques that Lugo uses that he does not support the use of video games as a tool to recruit America’s youth. The article is in a journal that is likely read by parents whose children are affected by these video games.

There are many parts of the article where Lugo either directly or indirectly states his opinion against the use of video games in military recruitment. Lugo directly states his opinion in the last paragraph of the article. In the first sentence of the final paragraph of the article Lugo says “…while using video games to recruit youth is unethical, it is also brilliant.” Although Lugo agrees that video games are an effective strategy in recruiting when he states that it is unethical that gives evidence to his opinion that it should not be used as a recruiting tool. More evidence of his disapproval of the use of video games in recruiting comes near the end of the final paragraph when he says, “And, if all goes as planned, reality and fiction will become blurred, gamers will not know the difference, nor will they even understand how they ended up in the middle of the desert, fighting an enemy they know nothing about.” This supports Lugo’s claim that the use of video games are an unethical way to increase recruitment. There is also evidence of Lugo’s opinion in the style of writing and techniques that he uses in the article.

Lugo’s techniques and style in this article provoke thought in the reader. Lugo uses an abundance of questions throughout the article. The questions that Lugo asks in the article cause the reader to think about the intent behind the way these games are created and the effect that they have on youth. One question that Lugo proposes asks why the levels are much easier and do not have the consequences that they would in real life. As an answer Lugo suggests that if the game makes life in the Army seem easy then those playing the game will be less hesitant to join. Lugo also questions the lack of civilians in a game that is supposed to simulate urban combat and the use of military terminology when addressing the enemies. Lugo suggests that this could be an attempt to prevent players from thinking of it as killing actual people and to prevent them from having to make ethical decisions in a war zone filled with civilians. Lugo also compares America’s Army to commercial video games to illustrate the tactics used to attempt to encourage players to join the military. One comparison made involves the use of long load times displaying the Soldier’s Creed when most commercial video games attempt to remove load times.

This article is likely directed towards the parents of children who would be playing these games. The article appears in Reclaiming Children and Youth which is a journal that provides insight into issues surrounding today’s youth. Parents would be interested in this article because it may help them to prevent their children from being subconsciously recruited by the American military. The article could also interest researchers studying the impact of video games on youth. There is even a chance that the article could interest military officials that are in charge of recruiting. The article could convince parents of potential recruits that it would be bad for their children to join the military because of the use of unethical recruiting methods. This would be the last thing that a military official involved in recruiting would want to happen so the article could cause them to rethink their recruitment process and the strategies that they use to gain more recruits.

In the article Lugo states his disapproval of the use of video game to recruit America’s youth to serve in the military. Lugo uses techniques in this article that make the reader think about the issue being addressed. The article may draw interest from multiple audiences. However the main audience is parents of the youth that are being affected by the video games.

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