Army shuts down war game
Officials defend exhibit at festival
By RAQUEL RUTLEDGE
Posted: July 1, 2008
At the request of Summerfest officials, the U.S. Army on Tuesday removed a virtual urban warfare game that allowed fest-goers as young as 13 to hop into a Humvee simulator and fire machine guns at life-size people on a computer screen.
“We’re determining it’s probably not something that we want to have shown at Summerfest,” John Boler, vice president of sales and marketing, said before the decision was made to request removal of the game, called Virtual Army Experience.
The game drew criticism from Peace Action Wisconsin, which called it “totally inappropriate and offensive.”
“War games should NOT be presented as entertainment,” the group wrote in a press release. “War is NOT a game. Summerfest is meant to bring people together for a good time in peace, not to present opportunities to practice shooting people.”
Summerfest officials received a handful of complaints and first requested the Army raise the minimum age of the players to 18 and to stop giving out a DVD of a similar virtual experience. But officials later reconsidered the whole game.