Government Pushes Propaganda Through Video Games

George Washington's picture

 Government Pushes Propaganda Through Video Games

We documented yesterday that American movies, television and news are dominated by the CIA and other government agencies.

The government also spreads propaganda through video games.

By way of example, former CIA director William Colby went to work for a video game company after he retired, and a former United States marine allegedly confessed to working at a video game company which was really a CIA front to create a game to drum up support for war against Iran.

The Guardian reports:

“For decades the military has been using video-game technology,” says Nina Huntemann, associate professor of communication and journalism at Suffolk University in Boston and a computer games specialist. “Every branch of the US armed forces and many, many police departments are using retooled video games to train their personnel.”


Like much of early computing, nascent digital gaming benefited from military spending. The prototype for the first home video games console, the 1972 Magnavox Odyssey, was developed by Sanders Associates, a US defence contractor. Meanwhile, pre-digital electronic flight simulators, for use in both military and civilian training, date back to at least the second world war.


Later, the games industry began to repay its debts. Many insiders note how instruments in British Challenger 2 tanks, introduced in 1994, look uncannily like the PlayStation’s controllers, one of the most popular consoles of that year. Indeed, warfare’s use of digital war games soared towards the end of the 20th century.


“By the late 1990s,” says Nick Turse, an American journalist, historian and author of The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives, “the [US] army was pouring tens of millions of dollars into a centre at the University of Southern California – the Institute of Creative Technologies – specifically to build partnerships with the gaming industry and Hollywood.” [The Washington Times reports on the link as well.]


It’s a toxic relationship in Turse’s opinion, since gaming leads to a reliance on remote-controlled warfare, and this in turn makes combat more palatable.


“Last year,” says Turse, “the US conducted combat missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. There are a great many factors that led to this astonishing number of simultaneous wars, but the increasing use of drones, and thus a lower number of US military casualties that result, no doubt contributed to it.”

The Christian Science Monitor noted in 2009:

In 1999, the military had its worst recruiting year in 30, and Congress called for “aggressive, innovative” new approaches. Private-sector specialists were brought in, including the top advertising agency Leo Burnett, and the Army Marketing Brand Group was formed. A key aim of the new recruitment strategy was to ensure long-term success by cultivating the allegiance of teenage Americans.


Part of the new campaign, helping the post-9/11 recruiting bump, was the free video game America’s Army. Since its release, different versions of the war game have been downloaded more than 40 million times, enough to put it in the Guinness book of world records. According to a 2008 study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “the game had more impact on recruits than all other forms of Army advertising combined.”




That these efforts are unfaithful to war’s reality has not gone unnoticed. Protesting the Army Experience Center in Philadelphia, Sgt. Jesse Hamilton, who served two tours in Iraq and nine total in the military, expressed disgust that the Army has “resorted to such a deceiving recruitment strategy.”


It’s an approach that could have detrimental long-term effects. “The video game generation is worse at distorting the reality” of war, according to one Air Force colonel. Although they may be more talented at operating predator drones, the colonel told the Brookings Institution, “They don’t have that sense of what [is] really going on.”

NBC News reported in 2003:

Video games are increasingly viewed by top brass as a way to get teenagers interested in enlisting.


Games such as “America’s Army,” developed and published by the Army, and “Guard Force,” which the Army National Guard developed with Alexandria, Va.-based Rival Interactive, can be downloaded or picked up at recruitment offices.

“America’s Army” has been a hit online since its July 2002 release, attaining 1.5 million registered users who endure a basic training regiment complete with barbed-wire obstacle courses and target practice.


“Guard Force” has been less successful. Released last year, it features bland synth-rock music that blares in the background. Between video commercials touting the thrills of enlisting in the Army National Guard, gamers pluck flood victims from rooftops or defend a snowy base. In the training mission, gamers deploy helicopters, even tanks, to rescue skiers trapped in an avalanche.

Foreign Policy argued last year:

Video games would seem to be ideal propaganda tools. Where comic books and newsreels once enthralled the Greatest Generation, today’s millennials are in love with video games. American consumers, for example, spent $25 billion on games in 2010, while gamers worldwide play 3 billion hours a week. Games also offer advantages over traditional propaganda mediums like television or newspapers: They are interactive and immersive, they and deliver challenge, competition, and the hands-on triumph of personally gunning down enemies.




Who could blame a CIA spymaster for pondering whether games could be used to demonize Iran or vilify Venezuela?

Michael Bauch writes:

Governments are increasingly trying to twist the [video game] business into a brainwashing machine to promote their agendas, just as has been done with the movie industry.


Why are video games such a perfect tool for governments and why are governments stepping up their usage of them? Because the Internet generation now have easy access to all information and points of view. Governments don’t want kids using the Internet to learn about these things. So governments need to keep kids distracted and under constant brainwashing. A typical American kid might go to school all morning learning about how great America is and how dangerous the rest of the world is, then come home and play some video games like Strategy 2012.


This game was free during the Presidential campaign and tells you who you should vote for and how political campaigns are run (or at least how the government would like you to think it’s done). This is the official game description: “Help Mitt Romney win the Nomination by beating his conservative rivals. Then choose Romney or Obama and fight for the presidency in Ohio.”




Not only are government-developed games spreading propaganda. Game developers are now accepting the norms set by the government like in Scribblenaughts where the game set’s a puzzle for you to solve by conjuring items. In one puzzle you get a mission called “Peacefully break up the Rioters!” What would a sane person try first? Well, I tried “Diplomat” and “Peacekeeper”. Neither had any effect. So I tried “Tear Gas” and had the crowd crying and disbursing in seconds, immediately earning a gold star just as you would in school when you have done something right! You can watch the video … of me playing the mission.




Now that the gaming industry have been infected by government propaganda they are now constantly sending the information they want to your kids.

You might assume that only foreigners are depicted as enemy targets in the propaganda video games.  But remember that peaceful protest and any criticism of the government is now considered potential terrorism.

As such, it should not be entirely surprising that the enemy target in the most popular video game series, Call of Duty – which is more popular than virtually any movie or musical album – is a Julian Assange like character who is the “leader of the 99%”.

And see this and this


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LadyEconomist's picture

Mr. George Washington, you must be a twin brother of Alex Jones. Conspiracy theories only all the time from you.

blindman's picture

some day you may think this thought ...
" civilisation and culture are nothing more
than a well worn, ubiquitous and unconscious conspiracy."
if and when that happens know i wish you luck and the best,
as always. ( "anonymous" citizen of the mind, blindman )
that which is identified as "conspiracy" is just alternate
hypothesis of incoherent main stream contextualisation
of lies so deeply and widely disseminated as to be beyond
critical analysis and cognition. that is, the facts must
be massaged and in some cases invented to fit into and
satisfy the presumed context which is beyond the station
of the individual perspective, thinker or person.
all collective systems require normalisation and conformity
even if they happen to be insane, wrong and destructive.
as you see there are systems in place that require one to
remain ignorant or ignore information that does not
comport or support the over reaching collective consciousness
and conclusions thereof.
the tongue trips on it as the tongue and breath are the
stuff of communicating con-spiracy(breathing together).
the mind alone, the individual mind is the only thing
that can sort it out. hence we have seen the fields of
ethics, morality and spirituality(not religion) emerge
throughout the ages, not so much of interest lately.

lakecity55's picture

Talk about programming...

You should see this George W.

The Year: 2077. After the financial collapse of governments, Corporations rule the world. Terrorists wanting Freedom and Liberty blow up a world Corporate HQ. Upon convicton, they escape into the past, where instead of fighting Corporatists, they become HiTech AQ, killing cops and robbing banks.

Corporatism: There is No Escape.

dolph9's picture

More to the point, video games are part of our planned obsolence economy where you have to keep on buying "updated" shit to replace your 1 or 2 year old shit which is now somehow behind the times.

Video game artistry has been declining since the early 2000s but we're too dim witted to notice anymore.  A new release comes out, it gets stellar reviews, everybody goes out to buy it, then it's in the landfill in 6 months and nobody remembers it.

shovelhead's picture

I wish those damn aliens would finally show up to face the wrath of my 'Space Invaders' finger.

I'm pretty sure the Pentagon had me training to beat the Yellow Menace with Pong.

The only person I ever almost killed with my 'Rifleman' round loop Winchester was myself by doing the old Lucas McCain 'spin and cock' lever action.

*Sigh*...I might be a bit behind the current trends in gaming.

laomei's picture

If you think that this is as far as it goes, you are sadly sadly sadly mistaken.

The CIA/Government has fingers in essentially all media pies in the US.  It's pure propaganda, be it tv shows, movies, games, what have you.  

blindman's picture

america is a clown colony meant for breeding bi-polar
killers for international finance. look around for
a human soul, little eichmanns doing their jobs with
no human integration as the financial system de-selects
against it in the later stages of ponzi collapse.
it is a survival thing and a destruction thing

steve from virginia's picture


I thought for a minute that all movies and video games were designed to get people to drink Coke.

The Alarmist's picture

I'm Shocked! Shocked to hear their is propaganda going on in modern entertainment!

are we there yet's picture

American youth are well trained on defending our motherland against zombies, and other monsters. Zombie banks, and vampire lobbiests are still winning though.

de3de8's picture

Don't forget the added benefit of back dooming the 2nd amendment. Two birds with one deception.

The Heart's picture

Hey Brother George,

A good and interesting report that you might consider taking on is, who owns all the gun and ammunition companies, the puppet soterobama, the MK-ultra mind controlled clowns program, and how could this all have been crafted so they all profited? One would surly place an emphasis on how many of the front companies are owned by the bush and company.

And another thing, could it possibly be that they do not care about how many guns are in American's hands because they KNOW something else looms from OUT THERE, or maybe some foreign chinese army is getting ready to invade after a surprise race-specific biological or chemical attack leaving over 95% of the Americans dead after this surprise attack?

Multidimensional thinking...go figure!

Blessings on all your good works.

Spastica Rex's picture

Open Your Eyes


Video games train the kids for war. Army chic in high-fashion

stores. Law and order's done their job. Prisons filled while

the rich still rob. Assassination politics. Violence rules

within' our nation's midst. Well ignorance is their power tool.

You'll only know what they want you to know. The television

cannot lie. Controlling media with smokescreen eyes. Nuclear

politicians picture show. The acting's lousy but the blind don't

know. They scare us all with threats of war. So we forget

just how bad things are. You taste the fear when you're all

alone. They gonna git'cha when you're on your own. The silence

of conspiracy. Slaughtered on the altar of apathy. You gotta

wake up from your sleep. 'Cause meek inherits earth...six feet



Open your eyes see the lies right in front of ya.

Open your eyes.....



SmittyinLA's picture

I think gamers might actually have a higher reverence for human life than non-gamers, video games actually deter (subconsciously) military recruitment and real murder and killing.

Every game "player" no matter how good has been "whacked" in the first 5 seconds of a "game"-hundreds of times.

Gamers know in the real world there is no "respawn" and no "instant health perk" and will naturally avoid "playing war" in the real world because they know there is no respawn.  

Join the US__________, no respawn* lurks in the back of the mind of every gamer.

The Call of Duty players are "hip", they know what war is all about, as game sales go up recruitment goes down. 

I'm not saying gamers aren't getting military training, they are.

The only "video game players" that the military is getting are ones they should probably turn away, they're getting people that don't read history or understand "respawn". 

They need to recruit from a pool of clueless people that DON'T read history or have access to TV or video games.

I think they're pushing the "Osprey" in Black Ops 2, (uh no,  the video game version works) 

miro1a's picture

Gamers and recreational shooters should try a few rounds of paintball. As goofy as it may sound, it quickly humbles you into realizing how shitty your chances are of survival in close quarters combat.

Got_Nukes's picture

Set up Tac Ball (rubber balls instead of paint ball) for a bunch of high schoolers.  Should have heard the gamers bragin about how they were going to take out the other team.  The gamers were down quick.  Guess their skills don't transfer to real life. 

Spastica Rex's picture

"video games actually deter (subconsciously) military recruitment and real murder and killing."

That's a pretty dubious hypothesis, although I'm not against violent video games: my kid plays them.

However, to think that video games as mass media wouldn't be used by TPTB to further their agenda is a bit credulous, IMO.

AnAnonymous's picture

Great new effort by this 'american' propagandist author.

Nice escalation from the last one.

DogSlime's picture

I used to love playing America's Army (version 2).  I didn't like version 3 as much, so stopped playing.  It sure as hell didn't make me want to be in a real firefight, though - no respawns in reality :P

When I was a kid in the '70s, all the children played "army" and "cops and robbers" in the playground - they were pretending to kill each other - and this was long before any of the FPS games.  Games are games, surely?

If you want a military shooter that makes you question the politics more than most of them, I would strongly recommend Specops - The Line.  It has a much darker take on the morality of military action, military shooter games etc.  Left me feeling quite conflicted, which is not something that normally happens when I play games.  Play the single player campaign, though - the multiplayer sucks and the game really is about the story and the morality.

AnAnonymous's picture

It takes an 'american' to outdo an 'american'

Nice escalation from the last.

A bit failed. 'Americans' are all honky donky when it comes to shift the blame on the big, bad government, but it has to be limited to some distant elite and others.

In all likelihood, a number of 'americans' reading the blog play video games and it makes it personal.

When you come around claiming sheeple in others, free mindedness, awareness and all, suddenly, stuff like that grows touchy.

Terminus C's picture

Honky donky... nice, I am adding that one to the list.

Don't piss 'em off Anan... dey comin at choo wit der dronze.

Bastiat's picture

I used to like all kinds of combat flight sims.   Back during Desert Storm, I had an A10 sim and was playing when a friend dropped over. He was a German post-doc engineer.  He watched for a few minutes then said: "No wonder you Americans are so good at this--you practice it in your homes."  It was not a complement.  Never forgot that. 

From Germany With Love's picture

So is Grand Theft Auto a recruiting tool for the mafia then?

SmittyinLA's picture

GTA is political party recruitment, BTW GTA San Andreas is now available for download on the PS3

Sanksion's picture

Being quite a hardcore FPS player, I felt something was missing in most wargames, the civilians killed when fleeing a building, and those staying inside the buildings getting destroyed. With the wives and children.

And even if I am well above the median FPS player, I was killed enough not to sign up. 

Video wargames are just technological chessboards. Wargames always existed. 

Terminus C's picture


Anyone with half a brain will realize when playing fps that their survival chances in a real battle are slim to none...  I suppose we can all be Rambo...

The main thing that pisses me off about real war is the respawn rate.

Temporalist's picture

Many of these videogames also have enlisted soldiers to voip with "prospects" and weed out the prime targets for recruitment. Once they know someone is potentially military grade cannon fodder they will regale the mark with the wonders of military life and battlefield heroics and insist that everyone gets to fly an F-22.

Peter Pan's picture

Is it any wonder that such games and entertinment can cause misuse of guns by making guns part of any nutcase's solution? It's almost like a Pavlov's dog reaction. I am only hazarding a guess but I feel I am right because it is only since the advent of violent games and movies that the explosion in gun misuse has manifested itself. Can someone tell me if and why I am wrong?

robnume's picture

So young, so stupid. As a former psychology graduate, I noticed the trend of militarizing video games 20 years ago. Where the hell have you people been? Why do you think that the status quo keeps young Americans unemployed? So that they have no choice but to join the military; these video game propagandists have done their job well. I can't think of a better system of indoctrination and acceptance of violence as a way of life. These games are literally brainwashing youngsters into believing the "Great Lie"; that American hegemony is inevitable and is the "normal", "proper" worldview. The next step is, of course, to turn these brainwashed folk into accepting that the American people themselves - at least those who seek real change in the staus quo - are the enemy of their own government. Well done, guys. Well done. As Rage Against the Machine once said in their great protest song "Sleep Now in the Fire", "...We're deep inside your children; they'll betray you in my name...".

ebear's picture

"I can't think of a better system of indoctrination and acceptance of violence as a way of life."


willwork4food's picture

Hey, now don't go messin' with my football!!! Go SAN FRANCISCO!

Goldilocks's picture

Football (or whatever sport) offers the illusion of rules... life, not so much.

Winston of Oceania's picture

My ATARI had two games, pong and tank battle, so I guess they have been in since the ground floor.

Stoploss's picture

In the last 100 years of the Roman empire, they did the exact same thing.

In order to recruit soldiers, the military was heavily glamorized just like today, same theme different time.

The children were given all the "little" war implements to play with thereby indoctrinating them into the military mindset.

This time is not different.

Rome finally fell due to the lack of intrest from the citizens, as they thought that the "government" had everything under control. So they did not need to act.

One last fatal mistake..

RafterManFMJ's picture

Untrue. Rome fell due to currency debasement, imperial overreach, and taxing their citizens so heavily that they preferred being under the rule of 'barbarians.'

Freddie's picture

Plus a corrupt Senate.   The Roman Senate kept their army outside of Rome so the Senate could loot ROme. Sound familiar?  It is a shame the Romans did not hang a few dozen senators from aquaducts.  Mussolini-style.

willwork4food's picture

As it is a shame we don't hang a few dozen senators from billboards. Michael Jorden-style.

Freddie's picture

Video Game Industry = Hollywood = TV = Govt = CIA/NWO = IMF/BIS/UN

Mrmojorisin515's picture

so the movie toys was right

Neethgie's picture

Americas army is a shit game anyway, Zelda is miles better, i guess thats the japaneese telling me to ice ganondorf

Neethgie's picture

Americas army is a shit game anyway, Zelda is miles better, i guess thats the japaneese telling me to ice ganondorf

the grateful unemployed's picture

the best recruiting incentive is to create a form of asymmetrical warfare, in which one side inflicts casualities and damage with little if any risk to themselves. the German blitzkreig was a great incentive to fight for the Reich, as those early campaigns met no resistance. America has created its own series of brush wars. Korea and Vietnam were huge failures at propagandizing young people in order to make them fight and die for the empire. Later wars, such as Iraq were initially successfull, but when the occupation was mishandled they became such posters against the war that Bush stopped allowing pictures of the flag draped bodies coming home. Drone attacks restore the onesidedness of war and make it popular again, and video games help train young voters to accept this strategy. (after all who is getting hurt, only the enemy)

without young people, who are being recruited to support war though video games, Obama wouldn't have been reelected.(you could say that the Diebold gaming machine kept Bush in office for a second term.) but equally dangerous is the high definition revolution, because HD reinforces the cult of Realism.

to my own thinking i cannot imagine putting a huge HD screen in my living room, and then projecting scenes of horror, and violence. i don't know why the CIA wouldn't want to promote peaceful images to keep everyone in line. load up the bong, and watch images of fish swimming in an aquarium. cool, why isn't that what they want?

steve from virginia's picture



"the best recruiting incentive is to create a form of asymmetrical warfare, in which one side inflicts casualities and damage with little if any risk to themselves. the German blitzkreig was a great incentive to fight for the Reich, as those early campaigns met no resistance."


That is incorrect, Poland and France armies caused Germany to suffer enormous casualties:


 - Conventional estimates of Polish campaign cost +20,000 w/ 40,000 wounded. (Muller-Hillebrand suggests 76,000 KIA in Poland in 1939-40.)

 - Estimates for Low Countries-France 1940 campaign cost 50,000 KIA with others (Muller) suggesting 140,000 (including Battle of Britain losses).

 - Per Overmans suggests that total Western Front deaths up to D-Day (excluding Italian campaign and North Africa) + 340k, adds Polish campaign casualties to Eastern Front military deaths (2.7 million). Germans doctrine was wasteful of manpower, which ultimately led to German defeat.  See also Telford Taylor and Basil Liddell-Hart regarding German casualties during the first campaigns of European war.


Neither Polish nor French were cowardly, they did not update their doctrines to exploit vulnerability of gasoline powered vehicles to interruption of fuel supply.


Had the Polish ignored the panzers and concentrated their efforts toward destroying German gasoline tanker trucks and fuel depots the Wehrmacht would have been defeated, same with the French in 1940.


Germans loved Hitler but became less certain about his war as empty chairs started appearing in German households. Germans resorted to conscription in 1930s so recruitment was not a problem. Toward the end of the war, the Germans had many in uniform but very few of these were effectives.




Navymugsy's picture

I was watching the Armed Forces channels yesterday and I noticed a report with a bunch of Marines in a gym running around and firing "nerf" guns at grammar school kids. They did a two minute segment on this and everybody thought it was great.

Being a former Navy recruiter my first thought was: "Holy shit! They're starting to breed them young!"

otto skorzeny's picture

armed forces recruiters are at ALL public gatherings anymore-letting kids climb all over humvees and other bullshit. noticeably absent are the guys with limbs blown off or all PTSDed up

RafterManFMJ's picture

Guys without limbs cannot climb. Most likely, their at their local VA hospital lying in a pool of thier own piss while rats gnaw on their enervative toes.  But this image won' sell kidz on the glories of blowing families apart with drone missels.

Now back to some Red Orchestra II.