Ed Halter – From Sun Tzu to Xbox, War and Video Games

Ed Halter

Thunder’s Mouth Press, ISBN 1560256818
In the controversial debate about the videogame role in social acceptance of violence, the military power avid interest in the field is not anymore a secret. Furthermore the mediatic videogame-like aesthetic debuted during the Gulf War in early nineties has become the norm, and pushes in every new conflict the bloodless screen-based interface of a real human mass murdering. Ed Halter wrote this documented book letting the reader navigate through the slim territories of the elegant game attack strategies’ genesis and the invasive subtle marketing of the senseless murders and destructions’ institutions. It’s an enlightened path carved on the thin line that separates refined smartness from (ir)repressible aggressiveness. The signals reported in the text are proving the definitive fusion between the real military and videogame war-based contents (the US Army recruitment game coding and the Kuma product marketing are amongst the most bright examples). To frame them many precious less-known scenarios were reported in the context, like the ones occurred in the obscure proto-web multiuser network named PLATO, or the operation Igloo White that implemented 20.000 advanced sensors in Vietnam during the U.S. war (soon hacked in various low-tech ways by the local population). Moreover a comprehensive selection of political digital art works on the theme is commented, scattered in different part of the book. In the end this is an estimable work, a milestone of research in videogame studies, that should be even more useful contributing to fill the lack of awareness in the current media-induced absence of distinction between wars appearing on the screen and wars taking place in reality.