Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mainstreaming games in the media

Interesting gaming reference in a mainstream magazine this month. An article in Armed Forces Journal uses the example of Leeroy Jenkins, a legendary character from a YouTube about an incident in World of Warcraft" video game that ended up going viral. It appears that a character called Leeroy Jenkins charged in recklessly, disrupting the carefully laid plans of a party and resulting in that party getting wiped out.

The character became so famous he got his own card in the collectible card edition of World of Warcraft, shown above.

The whole incident in the hook for a story about reforming the way the U.S. military approaches the adviser mission in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Capt. Robert M. Chamberlain's point is that the U.S. approach to advisor missions has been too U.S.-centric and not focused on local needs and realities. The go-it-alone and can-do attitudes of US troops mean they're not being as effective advising local units as they need to be. Chamberlain proposes reforms to address this.

Still, it's interesting that Chamberlain selected a popular game venue to capture his readers' attention. It suggest that for his peers and immediate supervisors, this kind of example would resonate. Juts as in an earlier era a writer might have used a poker or chess analogy to make a point, it now seems that popular games like World of Warcraft are embedded enough in the culture to be for a similar role.

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