Targeting the Player

Open access


The historical roots of the technology and design of computer games can be found in Pentagon-supported research in 1960s. Many computer games had their origin as simulators and training equipment for the armed forces. It can be argued that the content of computer games concerning real wars reflects the ideological interest of the military-industrial complex or the military-entertainment complex, as Robin Andersen has redefined it. Selected games such as ’America’s Army’, ‘Army of Two’’ and companies such as ‘Kuma War’ are analysed critically within the framework of the fight for ideological hegemony in the Global War on Terror. It is argued that when computer game are read as text, they can also be read as propaganda.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Andersen Robin (2005) ‘The Military Entertainment News Complex: War as Video Game’ in Phillips Peter (ed.) Censored 2006. The Top 25 Censored Stories. New York: Seven Stories Press.

  • Andersen Robin (2006) A Century of Media. A Century of War. New York: Peter Lang.

  • Artz Lee & Kamalipour Yaha R. (eds.) (2005) Bring ‘Em On. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

  • Bagdikian Ben H. (2004) The New Media Monopoly. Boston: Beacon Press.

  • BBC (2006) Story from BBC NEWS: Published: 2006/10/18 07:34:26 GMT

  • Burston Jonathan (2003) ‘War and Entertainment Industries: New research Priorities in an Era of Cyber-Patriotism’ in Thussu Daya Kishan & Freedman Des (eds.) War and the Media. London: Sage Publications.

  • Cassell Justine & Jenkins Henry (eds.) (1998) From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games. Cambridge: MIT Press.

  • Csikszentmihalyi Mihaly (1991) Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: HarperCollins.

  • Eisenhower Dwight D. (1960) Military-Industrial Complex. Speech. Public Papers of the President.

  • Frasca Gonzalo (2003) Ludologists Love Stories Too: Notes from a Debate that Never Took Place. Proceedings of Digital Games Research Conference. and DiGRA Digital Library

  • Galtung Johan (1990) ‘Cultural Violence’ Journal of Peace Research Vol. 27 No. 3 August pp. 291-305.

  • Galtung Johan (2002) ‘Peace Journalism – A Challenge’ in Kempf Wilhelm & Loustarinen Heikki (eds.) Journalism and the New World OrderVol.2. Studying the War and the Media. Gothenburg: Nordicom.

  • Gombrich E.H. (1961) Art and Illusion: A Study in Psychology of Pictorial Representation. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

  • Greenfield Patricia (1984) Media and the Mind of the Child. From Print to Television Videogames and Computers. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

  • Haddon Leslie (1999) ‘The Development of Interactive Games’ in Mackay Hugh & O’ Sullivan Tim (eds.) The Media Reader: Continuity and Transformation. London: Sage.

  • Held David (2000) A Globalizing World? Culture Economics Politics. London: Routledge.

  • Herbst Claudia (2005) ‘Shock and Awe. Virtual Females and the Sexing of War’ Feminist Media Studies Vol. 5 No. 3

  • Herman Leonard (1997) The Fall and Rise of Videogames. 2nd ed. New Jersey: Rolenta Press.

  • Holen Øyvind (2006) Redder verden med joystick Ny Tid No. 26 7. juli 2006.

  • Karlsen Faltin (1998) Dataspill og vold. En kvalitativ analyse av voldsbruk i dataspill. Statens Filmtilsyn.

  • Kinder Marsha (1993) Playing with Power in Movies Television and Videogames from Muppet Babies to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

  • Lenoir Tim (2000) ‘All but War is Simulation: The Military-Industrial Complex’ Configurations 8. The John Hopkins University Press and the Society for Literature and Science.

  • Lloyd Maugan (1998) ‘Screen Violence and Aggressive Behaviour: An Illustration of the Difficulty in Statistical Verification of a Possible Causal Link’. MS thesis Edinburgh University.

  • Loftus Geoffrey R. & Lofthus Elisabeth F. (1983) Mind and Play: The Psychology of Videogames. New York: Basic Books.

  • Løvlie Anders Sundnes (2007) ‘The Rhetoric of Persuasive Games. Freedom and Discipline in America’s Army’. Master thesis in media science Deprtment of Media and Communication University of Oslo.

  • Matera Angelo (2005) ‘Into Iraq With “Generation Kill”: An Interview with Evan Wright. God Spy 30 December.…

  • Miller Toby (2006) ‘Gaming for Beginners’ Games and Culture Vol. 1 No. 1 2006.

  • Mortensen Toril Elvira (2003) Pleasures of the Player: Flow and Control in Online Games. Doctoral Thesis Department of Humanistics University of Bergen and Faculty of Media and Journalism Volda University College.

  • Mortensen Toril Elvira (2006) ‘WoW is the New MUD: Social Gaming from Text to Video’ Games and Culture No. 1 2006.

  • Nieborg David B. (2006) ‘We Want the Whole World to Know How Great the U.S. Army Is!”– Computer Games and Propaganda’ in Manthos Santorineos (ed.) : Gaming Realities – A Challenge for Digital Culture. Athens: Fournos.

  • Nohrstedt Stig A. & Ottosen Rune (2005) (eds.) Global War – Local News. Media Images of the Iraq War. Gothenburg: Nordicom.

  • Ottosen Rune (2007) ‘Emphasising images in peace journalism: Theory and practice in the case of Norway’s biggest newspaper’ Conflict & Communication Online no. 2 Spring 2007.

  • Ottosen Rune (2008) ‘Video games as War Propaganda. Can Peace Journalism offer an Alternative’ Approach. Peace and Policy no 1 2008.

  • Ottosen Rune & Wærnes Daniel (2008) ‘Analysis of Army of Two EA Games Montreal’ Workingpaper (unpublished).

  • Ottosen Rune & Wærnes Daniel (2008b) ‘Kuma Reality Games: Kuma\War’. Workingpaper (unpublished).

  • Petemeyer Kelli (2004) Online Army Recruiting Reaches Top 5 List. Army News Service.

  • Pilet Stephane (2003) ‘Dataspill som propagandavåpen’. Le Monde diplomatique (Norwegian edition) September 2003.

  • Poole Steven (2004) Trigger Happy. Videogames and the Entertainment Revolution. New York: Arcade Publishing.

  • Scahill Jeremy (2007) Blackwater. The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. New York: Nation Books.

  • Schumacher Gerald (2006) A Bloody Business. America’s War Zone Contractors and the Occupation of Iraq. St. Paul: Zenith Press.

  • Stordal Hans Ivar (2006) ‘Fantasi som vekstøkonomi’ Ny Tid 20 1 june 2006.

  • Thomas Tanja & Virchow (2005) ‘Banal Militarism and the Culture of War’ in Artz Lee & Kamalipour Yaha R. (eds.) Bring ‘Em On. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

  • Tronstad Ragnhild (2003) ‘Defining a Tubmud Ludology’ in

  • Turse Nick (2008) The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives. New York:Metropolitan Books.

  • Wright Evan (2004) Generation Kill. New York: Putnam.

  • Wright Evan (2004b) ‘Dead-Check in Falluja. Embedded with the Marines in Iraq The Village Voice November 24-30 2004.

  • Aarseth Espen (2001) ‘Computer Games Studies Year One’ Game Studies. The International Journal of Computer Game Research 1: 1.

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 0.54

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.223
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.270

Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 140 103 14
PDF Downloads 68 54 1