U.S. Army builds Web game to promote military life

The U.S. is back to focusing on gaming to attract servicepeople. The company has developed Race for Strength to deliver augmented reality--and some military-life promotion.

Creating further proof that the U.S. Army plans to use video games to attract gamers, the organization has announced the launch of its Race for Strength online game.

To play the game, users must print out a "palm card" from the site. After printing it out, they need to start up their Webcams and point it at themselves. As the game starts, they control the Nascar car in the game with the palm card, which they move like a steering wheel in front of their Webcam to control the action on-screen.

The goal of the game, the U.S. Army claims, is to test the gamer's racing ability against real Army vehicles. The gamer needs to control the car as it works its way through Mine Resistant Ambush Protected and Stryker AV vehicles.

The U.S. Army touted Race for Strength as one of the first titles showcasing an "augmented reality," a technology that combines "real-world activities with computer-generated graphic situations."

But like just about anything gaming-related that the U.S. Army releases, its real intentions have little to do with showcasing new technologies. In reality, the armed-service branch wants to recruit new soldiers .

"The computer game is another extension of the U.S. Army's continuing effort to showcase its high-tech skills training and the many options and opportunities it offers," the organization wrote in a statement.

U.S. Army Colonel Derik W. Crotts, director of strategic marketing and outreach at the Army's Accessions Command, echoed that sentiment. He believes the game does a fine job of detailing the U.S. Army's value to gamers.

"Many young Americans may not be aware of the wide variety of opportunities available to them in the U.S. Army," Col. Crotts said in a statement. "Education, high-tech training, and leadership development are just a few of the options available in the Army. This new computer technology will allow today's youth to experience the diverse elements of the Army, and demonstrate the elite technology and training used to develop our Army-strong soldiers."

The launch of Race for Strength comes on the heels of a recent U.S. Naval Research study that found gamers might make better soldiers than non-gamers.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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