The U.S. Army has spent $12 million on a new facility in Philadelphia that abandons the use of recruiters selling the Army life in favor of video games and loud rock music, according to a Reuters report.
Dubbed the U.S. Army Experience Center, the facility at the Franklin Mills shopping mall in Philadelphia sports 60 computers preloaded with military video games, 19 Xbox 360 controllers, and video displays that "describe military bases and career options in great detail," Reuters reports.
Visitors to the center can play games that allow them to fire on enemy combatants from a Humvee or engage in helicopter missions where the player is firing on the enemy from an Apache or Black Hawk helicopter.
The center first opened in August as the first step in what is a two-year experiment on the part of the Army to recruit more service people. So far, the experiment has proven successful: Reuters reports that 33 full-time soldiers and 5 reservists have have joined the U.S. Army since its inception. More importantly, that recruitment tally bests the five "traditional" recruiting centers it replaced.
For its part, the Army says it's not necessarily trying to recruit young soldiers. Instead, it says the Experience Center is being used as a way to inform the public.
"What we are doing here is reaching out to Americans, giving them the opportunity to understand their Army," Maj. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, head of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, said in a statement. "Oftentimes, people have a negative perception of the Army, but the negatives are a very small part. Our soldiers are well-trained, well-equipped, and serving a great mission."
That's an interesting take, but one that deserves some more contemplation. Is the U.S. Army Experience Center really just a place to teach people about the "real" Army? Or is it a place to coax people into joining through video games?… Read more