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ISIS is using video games to recruit new soldiers
A player-created Arma 3 mod was co-opted by ISIS.
The Islamic State (ISIS) is using a military simulator prized for its realism and attention to detail in an attempt to raise morale for its soldiers and attract new recruits.
Arma 3 is the latest release in a series of games that prioritize accuracy of arms and vehicles over the pure entertainment presented by military shooters such as Call of Duty. Arma enthusiasts sometimes create custom mods that include new uniform skins, among other additions, to represent military forces from nations not represented in the commercial version of the game. An ISIS mod is the basis for the Islamic State’s recruitment video-game tool.
When Arma players gather online to play the game, it’s often akin to military maneuvers, with communications discipline and strict chain-of-command. The desire to create custom scenarios that reflect real-world, current conflicts makes perfect sense in this culture of military simulation. This ISIS add-on for Arma 3, for example, is publicly available for download.
This is video from another, different mod includes skins for Iraqi army, Kurdish peshmerga, and Islamic State soldiers to allow recreations of the current battles being waged against Islamic State in the Middle East.
Islamic State militants can get their hands on these sorts of mods, of course, and use them to its advantage. That’s precisely what has taken place. The Inquisitr has reported that Egyptian news media discovered Islamic State using the Arma 3 mod to increase troop morale and recruit children into the Islamic State forces.
This is reportedly not the first time Islamic State, which has seized control of portions of Iraq and Syria, has used video games for its purposes. This YouTube clip purports to shows Grand Theft Auto V being co-opted as the basis for a propaganda video.
Dennis Scimeca was the Daily Dot's gaming reporter until 2016. He loves first-person shooters, role-playing games, and massively multiplayer online games. His work has appeared in Salon, NPR, Ars Technica, Kotaku, Polygon, Gamasutra, GamesBeat, Paste, and Mic.