Why are there so many war games? They exploded in popularity post 9/11. Maybe you’ve played some of them. Or all of them. SOCOM: US Navy Seals. Call of Duty. Battlefield. Splinter Cell—and the entire deep library of Tom Clancy games. There’s plenty more, too. This ain’t just a story about the free market and our own proclivities—it’s the state. Games have a long history of being developed by, with, and for the military. From the earliest DARPA-funded projects at public universities, to today’s DOD-subsidized military/corporate partnerships. This week on Darts and Letters, Tanner Mirrlees, associate professor in the Communication and Digital Media Studies Program at Ontario Tech University and author of Hearts and Mines: The US Empire’s Culture Industry, joins us as we plunge headlong into the history of the militainment industrial complex, to understand the militarization of gaming and the gamification of war.
——————-FURTHER READING AND LISTENING——————
- Visit Tanner Mirrlees’ academic page and scroll through his research, including his piece on Medal of Honor, his article on Socom: Navy Seals, and his look at the depiction of Muslims in post-9/11 wargames. Also, check out his 2013 book Global Entertainment Media: Between Cultural Imperialism and Cultural Globalization.
- For more, see his work for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on Power, Privilege and Resistance in the Digital Age.
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This is a production of Cited Media. And we are backed by academic grants that support mobilizing research and democratizing the concept of public intellectualism. The founding academic advisor of the program is Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia. This episode was also part of a wider series looking at the politics of video games, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and housed at the University of British Columbia and Waterloo University.
Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples.