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Prince Harry: Xbox helps me shoot Afghan insurgents

Britain's not-next-in-line-to-the-throne Prince declares he's very, very good at EA's FIFA game and that his expert thumbs help make him a fine real-life warrior.

2 min read
The Xboxer with the killer punch. ABC News Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When you're a British royal, thumbs are not for sucking. They're for beating your buddies at FIFA 2012. They're for being a monster at PlayStation and Xbox.

Oh, and they come in handy for killing some Afghan insurgents.

How can I possibly know this? Because the most fun-loving of the British Royal Family, Prince Harry, has given an interview in which he suggested that his gaming expertise has helped him be a very fine killer of enemy forces.

In an extensive interview published by the Daily Mail, the prince -- known to his army comrades as Captain Wales -- said he wasn't very good at school, but you don't mess with his gaming skills.

"You can ask the guys: I thrash them at FIFA the whole time," he said.

Is there anything more humiliating than a right royal thrashing?

The prince co-pilots an attack helicopter. And he quite happily admits that this, together with gaming, is more enjoyable for him than more mundane earthly basics: "Kicking a ball around or playing PlayStation -- or flying -- I do generally find a little bit easier than walking, sometimes."

The prince's gaming skills seem to foster an additional sprightliness in him. "It's a joy for me because I'm one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox, so with my thumbs I like to think that I'm probably quite useful," he said.

When he said "useful," he seemed to mean shooting in real life.

He was asked, you see, whether he'd actually killed anyone during his two tours of duty in Afghanistan.

He replied: "Yeah, so lots of people have." He also added: "Take a life to save a life."

Some observers have wondered whether the prince was wise to offer his views in such a manifestly open way.

He surely cannot agree with Ralph Nader that video game companies are "electronic child molesters."

But he's the shooter on the helicopter. That's what he's supposed to do. So if he feels that gaming helps to keep his shooting more accurate, why argue?

And it can't exactly be a coincidence that the NRA has shooting games too. The NRA wants people to be good shooters, not bad ones.

Technology hasn't always been kind to the prince. Last year, an unscrupulous lady decided to film him on her cell phone, while he was partying without clothes.

He did manage to offer one positive about not having a cell phone in Afghanistan -- at least the Sun newspaper, he said, couldn't eavesdrop on his phone.

As for his gaming, the media, however, did turn to the Taliban to ask for its view.

Agence France-Presse reported that a Taliban spokesman offered that the prince "has probably developed a mental problem."

It's probable, though, that the Taliban doesn't have so many gamers. For the spokesman continued: "There are 49 countries with their powerful military failing in the fight against the Mujahideen, and now this prince comes and compares this war with his games, PlayStation or whatever he calls it."

The Taliban hasn't heard of PlayStation? This is troubling.