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Islamic Militant Recruitment 'Serious Game' Existence Queried

Islamic Militant Recruitment 'Serious Game' Existence Queried

May 8, 2006 | By Simon Carless

Last week, Reuters published a story by David Morgan which claimed that: "Tech-savvy militants from Al Qaeda and other groups have modified video war games so that U.S. troops play the role of bad guys in running gunfights against heavily armed Islamic radical heroes."

Effectively, experts contended, this was an extreme Islamic version of the America's Army U.S. recruitment video games: "What we have seen is that any video game that comes out ... they'll modify it and change the game for their needs," said Dan Devlin, a Defense Department public diplomacy specialist cited in the Reuters piece.

However, the EA-published Battlefield 2 was cited in the article as a prime example of this, with the writer explaining: "Battlefield 2 ordinarily shows U.S. troops engaging forces from China or a united Middle East coalition. But in a modified video trailer posted on Islamic Web sites and shown to lawmakers, the game depicts a man in Arab headdress carrying an automatic weapon into combat with U.S. invaders."

However, serious games site Water Cooler Games has pointed out that "the video turns out to have been created by a player of Battlefield 2 using the stock Special Forces add-on", and that tongue-in-cheek quotes from the movie Team America also appeared in it, suggesting that it was not necessarily the propaganda game depicted.

[UPDATE - Water Cooler Games has clarified that it is now believed that this video was shown to members of the U.S. government as an example of Islamic recruitment, and was not picked as an example by the Reuters agency.]

In addition, the creator of the video has appeared to explain himself, suggesting: "Nah now srieously that vid I made was just 4 fun , no propaganda or what so ever....for god sake the video begins with a team america the hell can they take this isshhhh seriously?????"

He continues: "And the rest is just ingame footage from SF, no selfmade mod at all...cant get even my own freakin' computer to work..." Reuters has yet to update or dispute its story, and it is unclear whether there are other quantities of Islamic-modified games that actually exist, as opposed to this apparently misreported instance.

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