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Assignment for New Media New Citizenship
New Media and Digital Culture, Faculty of Arts, Utrecht University

April 8th, 2003

Justin Beck (0136239), Sean Storey (0142263), Ruud Oud (0013943), Jeroen Steeman (0014001)

Preface

In 2002 the American Army launched a first person shooter named America's Army: Operations (AA:O). This website bundles four articles about America's Army written by students New Media and Digital Culture at Utrecht University. These four articles all cover another element of America's Army, hoping to offer a broad view over this phenomenon.

Although all articles are readable in different order, we have a preferred order in which the articles will be understood best. To begin with we offer our readers a short introduction and impression of America's Army: Operations through a description and some images. If you're not familiar with computer games we recommend you read this part first. () After that all articles should be understandable.

Sean Storey - America's Exclusion: Operations
In his article, Sean describes the practise of inclusion and exclusion inside the game. He tells a lot about the game AA:O itself, wondering if this game is 'really open for everyone'.
"This was their moment supreme, this virtual recruitment tool would revolutionize recruitment, no more recruitment offices, no more visiting schools, no. It would be like the beginning of world war one, when every able body enthusiastically enrolled themselves for honour, loyalty and not to forget adventure!"

Justin Beck - The message is the game, or is it?
On the other hand, Justin analyses the practise of inclusion and exclusion of the outside of the game. He focuses on the game as an advertising tool to recruit soldiers for the American Army.
"The game America's Army, the propagame as I will call it, is unique in its being. However it is also unique in its communication strategies. America's Army enfolds the game concept as has never been seen before on the Internet."

Ruud Oud - Virtual Dictators, Real Exclusion
Ruud writes about groups of people playing together, clans. In his articles he interviews a clan leader of an America's Army clan. In his analysis he focuses on the practise of community forming in such a clan.
"As a result of this sudden change gamers did what every human does when encountered with a collective sphere: they began to form groups in which they felt 'save'. And behold, clans were born."

Jeroen Steeman - Empower yourself, defend freedom
In his article, Jeroen compares America's Army: Operations with another popular first person shooter: Counterstrike. He focuses on empowerment of the players in both games and their opportunities to shape and reshape their community.
"The main difference however between Counterstrike and AA:O is the structure of power. Where Counterstrike emerged as a modification, developed by Gooseman and his community of active gamers/developers, America's Army: Operations is completely developed by the American Army, not leaving options for a community to co-develop the game."

The use of icons on this website
To facilitate the reading on this website, we created a few icons that link to specific information on this site.
For references we will use this icon: . Clicking on it will transfer you to the list with elaborate references. When we refer to a section inside this website we will use the link icon (), clicking on it will link you to the refered section. Links leading outside this site will be indicated with this icon: , these will always open in a new window.

© 2003
Sean Storey, Justin Beck, Ruud Oud, Jeroen Steeman
Utrecht University