Video game players. Are they really prepared for the apocalypse?

Podcast Episode 031721
Published on March 17th, 2021

Here in the depths of the Alaskan winter, there are several things that can be counted on. The first is that the Alaska Outlaw homestead here in South-central Alaska is prepared. We are prepared for earthquakes, as well as many other natural disasters of many kinds, all the time. The second is that Saturday nights here are filled with whiskey, and great company while enjoying the third. Video games over the internet. While I need to be sure I say that we are all accomplished men and women, and simply enjoy bullshitting and talking smack while engaging in complete fantasy, a video game about some type of combat. Whether it be the Gears of War series, Halo series, or Call of Duty Black ops, we all here know, very well the reality of engaging in conflict, and simply play as a backdrop to the socialization time. I can honestly say that all of us know that the games are fantasy, and simply use them to occupy our hands while conversing about endeavors. While these newer generations place more importance on the culture of video gaming, I am comfortable in knowing my kids clearly know what video games are for.

Greetings friends, family members, fellow Alaskans, and those of you fellow Americans, wherever you are. Welcome to the Alaska Outlaw podcast, I am the Alaska Outlaw, and today I’d like to take you on a journey of understanding training versus the social media threads about being a “gamer”. In today’s episode, I want to talk about the level of preparedness that can be obtained by the use of “first-person shooter” type video games. What is this “first-person shooter” concept? What does it mean? A first-person shooter is when the screen of the video game is framed in such a way that the viewer is looking from the shooter’s eyes. This creates a psychological attachment between the video game shooter and the player playing the game. Although modern video games continue to improve the video rendering, creating a pseudo believable crime scene, which does create a semi-tolerance of the faked violence of the screen.

Let’s talk about the readiness encouraged by the modern video game world. Talk about the people who jam out to the Call of Duty game late at night after a day of work? Are they being accurately being trained for combat? As I mentioned before I’d like to talk about the “preparedness” that many of these men and women are thinking they might be getting, but alas, are not. Ultimately the fantasy world of video games falls into three distinct player types:

  1. Those men and women who test the extremes of the game. They understand the limitations and seek to exceed them with secret handshakes, or treasures throughout the game. These folks know it is a video game, and although they are beating Call of Duty this week, by next week it’s something totally different.
  2. This next group is the “wannabes”. They assume that because they are good at their controller, somehow they are being educated in the art of strategic combat. They incorrectly assume that their experience within the game somehow prepares them for actual combat. In many cases, this group has become the butt of many jokes and ridicule, as they may have a false impression of being trained in some art in which they aren’t.
  3. The final category is where many individuals fall into. This group realizes video games are nothing more than something to do while possibly socializing, or ingesting our favorite liquor. This category recognizes video games as fantasy preoccupations that can be used in socialization and bullshitting sessions.

The days of pre-teen boys gathered around a small dual-colored screen watch super-simplistic motion being played out on the screen based on basic moves of some type of controller, are long gone. They have been replaced with high-speed, interactive, virtual reality, where realism takes leaps and bounds every release. Gone too are the days when proper firearm handling and civics were taught in public schools. The balance between those two couldn’t be any further apart if we tried, however, many in the social media circuses, and sometimes mainstream media, attempt to link this modern-day youth violence on the impact of these video games. Two things there: they’re your kids, stop it, and if not teach them what it means. I mean really, grow a spine and say no. Problem solved.

Ultimately the video game genre has produced many video games that are incredibly detailed, leaving very little to the imagination, however even with the up and coming world of virtual reality, there remains a large disconnect between the game-world, and the real-world. Primarily, the reality of physical exertion and general Newtonian physics is the single largest argument against the video game training scenario. The problem is that many parents aren’t standing up and being accounted for in this discussion. Teaching the children the finer points of what is happening, and more importantly, why society doesn’t need any more lunatics.

This leads us to the major source of discourse, and that is the idea of the adaption, and adoption of video games by some different groups (such as the US Army, some law enforcement groups) to provide a level of training. However, this identifies a possible beneficial aspect of video games which technically can allow for some mental exercise, in a repeatable fashion, in such exercises as “shoot-don’t shoot” immediate decision-type exercises. This decision matrix within the mind is ripe for the use of video games for this type of exercise. One has to keep in mind the nature of the exercise, we’re now more interested in the appropriate action in a snap decision, rather than the overall body count. So, to say that there is absolutely no value in these high-speed, quick action types of video games would be a disservice to the games throughout the industry. The lack of physics, exertion, and emotional carnage caused by these types of conflicts are horribly lacking, as many of these games are designed to follow an expected path, with generally accepted outcomes, with as many do-overs as necessary to complete the next objective. Which then separates it further from reality.

Reality. The reality of readiness of emergency preparedness instructed by these games is absolutely nil. Nothing. Because of the physics involved, the translation of a game controller, and the ability to carry the unlimited tools and supply for endless hours of play, create a huge chasm between reality and gameplay. So, as witnessed multiple times throughout everyday news of ANTIFA, video gaming and playing street warrior are very different. In addition, we witnessed time and time again where the basic operational understanding of real-world firearm usage is sadly lacking on some of these guys who were claiming to be COD soldiers.

In conclusion, I’m here to say that, if used properly, video games can offer a level of training for certain necessary skills. The ability to think clearly under a perceived pressure can provide a good foundation. However, the critical key to understanding here, is that there are three other crucial factors that need to complete the picture. Logistics is a big one, exertion and exhaustion another critical factor, and the biggest one that underlines them all, physics. While there is some value that can be obtained from straining one’s mind to the tests of immediate acts, however, when conversing about weaponry and the movements of modern urban combat, video games will never replace the need for physical training. In addition, the need for additional resources will remain constant, and it is up to each of us to get physical training to ensure our skills stay sharp.

As always my friends, thank you so much for spending this time with me. I am deeply humbled that you have carved some time out of your schedule and spent it with me. I deeply appreciate you and ask that you remember to stay safe, stay ready, keep your head on a swivel… Peace.

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