Like clockwork, whenever a new Call of Duty game gets released, there’s a mad rush within the playerbase to be the first (or one of the first) to reach level fifty-five and “prestige,” effectively resetting your progress to gain a cool emblem that you can then show off to other players.
That emblem, especially during the game’s earliest days, shows your opponents (and teammates) that you’re extremely skilled at the game.
But this isn’t exclusively a player-driven tradition. Activision Blizzard is well aware of this race to the top and is using it to drive donations toward a charity that directly helps veterans find employment after service. Right now, you can watch the greatest players duke it out as they strive to be the first to prestige while simultaneously supporting the Call of Duty Endowment.
It’s called the #CODNation Challenge.
“The #CODNATION Challenge is an incredible and unique way for the gaming community to come together each year, have fun, and support our veterans in their transition back to civilian life,” said Dan Goldenberg, Executive Director of the Call of Duty Endowment.
The race to the top first officially began today at 9:00 am PST, but you haven’t missed out just yet — it’s expected to be a full 24-hour gaming marathon. The #CODNATION Challenge has partnered with ELEAGUE, the premiere esports and live tournament brand, to showcase each gamer in the running on Twitch.
To watch their live stream, check out the video below:
Every cent donated through the event is directly given to the Call of Duty Endowment. With it, the charity helps place veterans in high-paying, high-quality jobs — and things are going amazingly well.
The Call of Duty Endowment first set out to place 25,000 veterans in great jobs by the end of 2018, but they’ve nearly doubled that goal already, managing to aid 47,000 veterans hone their skills and get jobs that they can be proud of. They’ve since revised their goal. Now, they want to place another 50,000 veterans by the end of 2019.
So check out the steam, toss in a few bits, and enjoy watching the very best of the new Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, which launches tomorrow, Oct 12, 2018.
As consumers, we all want the best games to be available for the systems we own. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case when a game first launches. Due to prohibitive development costs and publisher agreements, we eager gamers often have to wait months or years for our most-anticipated titles to reach our controller of choice — to be “ported” to a console we own.
In some cases, it’s worth the wait, but others have gone so horribly wrong that it makes us cringe.
Dragon Quest XI
(Square Enix Co., Ltd.)
For a port to be considered “good,” in my opinion, it must include everything its predecessor had, improve graphically if moving to PC, or be as playable as possible if moving from a more powerful system to something like the Nintendo Switch or mobile platforms.
Dragon Quest XI is a prime example of a great port. Localized and ported to PC from PS4, it’s truly worthy of the 10/10 scores and positive reviews it’s getting. When a game is ported to the PC, there are certain set of expectations — players want access to graphical settings and expect increased performance. SquareEnix, while being known for poor ports, really nailed it this time.
Epic Games’ Fortnite is another shining example of a port done well. For a while, the title was available only on PS4, Xbox, and PC — leaving gamers with just a Nintendo Switch or phone out to dry. Now, the battle royale juggernaut is available on nearly every current-generation platform available, with some of them even allowing cross-platform play. Honestly, I can’t think of any other title that has ambitiously moved onto as many systems in such a short span.
Honorable mentions include Dark Souls Remastered (and only the Remastered edition), Final Fantasy XII XV, and Terarria.
Monster Hunter: World
Bad ports are the ones from which we expected much, only to receive so little. Somehow, in the process of swapping to a new platform, these titles lost content found in the originals or introduced game-breaking, crippling bugs.
Monster Hunter: World got some fantastic reviews when it initially launched on PS4, but the later PC port fell short. Supposedly, Denuvo, an included digital rights management software, is causing massive server stability issues. Then, if you manage to get past the vast array of connection problems, you might run into an almost-laughably sadistic bug that corrupts your save file at the final boss, eradicating 40 to 60 hours of progress — which is a blink in time compared to how long many gamers anticipated the PC port.
Another port that fell extremely short of expectations was Secret of Mana on the PC. It takes all of your nostalgia for the wonderful classic, shines it up with new graphics, and then grinds your hopes for a good time into dust with bugs, rampant crashes, and save file corruptions.
Moving on to the disasters. These are the ports that were so egregiously bad that buyers demanded refunds.
The top of the list is easily Arkham Knight for PC. The initial release was so bad, in fact, that digital sales were suspended and angry videos swarmed the internet. You wouldn’t know it by looking at today’s reviews, but it took years for the developer to acknowledge and fix the many issues. It has a dark history much like Batman himself.
Saints Row 2 had a similar story — they made grand promises of pristine performance only to deliver a bad joke with an uninstall punchline. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die edition fell to its own meme and died. When gamers have to download user-created mods for a game just to get it playable… something is seriously wrong. From Software admitted it was rushed and eventually released a solid remastered version — for which players had to fork out cash.
The silver lining here is that, in general, ports are being handled better today than ever. Developers are paying more attention to the nuances of each system and are exceeding players’ expectations left and right. Some are even fixing their mistakes.
Nintendo’s Switch is opening the floodgates to bring in more older titles. PC gamers can enjoy some of the best new mobile games and mobile gamers are getting tons of classics.
Troops go through seemingly endless amounts of training that can be expensive, boring, and even dangerous. In an effort to make training cheaper, safer, and more effective, the service branches have turned increasingly to video games and simulators.
Possibly the most immersive system in use today, the VIRTSIM system from Raytheon allows users to operate in an open area the size of a basketball court. Trainees wear a set of sensors and feedback gear that records their every action and feeds it into the simulator. Virtual reality goggles show them a simulated world that they move through as a team.
Similarly, the Army’s Dismounted Soldier Training System allows troops to train as a squad in virtual reality. The system allows for customizable missions and incorporates all of a trainee’s movements except for actually walking. Because of the high cost of treadmills, each soldier stands on a rubber pad and moves through the environment with a controller mounted on their weapon, meaning they can’t train the muscle memory of leaping to cover or learn as well to operate with muscle fatigue.
Still, the DSTS provides the chance for soldiers to respond to a mortar attack, react to a near ambush, or any number of dangerous situations that are impossible to train on in the real world.
One of the older simulators, the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000, has even more limitations. Troops are confined to a room and can’t move their character through the simulation at all. Instead of looking through goggles to see the virtual world, a projection of the simulated battle is displayed on one or more walls and trainees engage targets in it.
The EST 2000 does have weapons that closely simulate actual M4s, M9s, and other commons systems. The weapons keep track of how the soldier aims and fires, catching even small actions like trigger squeeze. This allows marksmanship trainers to collect detailed information about what a service member is doing right or wrong.
The military branches use simulators similar to the ESTS 2000 to train pilots and vehicle crew members. While not being able to walk limits training opportunities for ground troops, people in vehicles don’t have to worry about that. Warrior Hall at Fort Rucker allows new Army pilots to train on different helicopter airframes. The Navy and Air Force have similar programs for jet pilots.
While the simulators are great, the goal isn’t to replace the standard training but to augment. Troops can use the simulator to practice rifle fundamentals before heading to the range, experience hitting a building with their squad before their first visit to a shoot house.
And the military still has even more ambitious plans for simulations. The Future Holistic Training Environment Live Synthetic program would tie together different simulations and allow players to participate in massive exercises. Pilots training in New Mexico could fly support for infantrymen training in California while battle staff commanded from North Carolina.
Can a video game help the U.S. Navy find future operators for its remotely operated, unmanned vehicles (UxV), popularly called drones?
To find out, the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute and Adaptive Immersion Technologies, a software company, are developing a computer game to identify individuals with the right skills to be UxV operators. The project, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), is called StealthAdapt.
“The Navy currently doesn’t have a test like this to predict who might excel as UxV operators,” said Lt. Cmdr. Peter Walker, a program officer in ONR’s Warfighter Performance Department. “This fast-paced, realistic computer simulation of UxV missions could be an effective recruitment tool.”
Since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began, UxV have played ever-larger roles in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and other missions. Consequently, there’s an increasing need for well-trained UxV operators.
In recent years, the Air Force established its own formal screening process for remotely piloted aircraft operators, and the Marine Corps designated an unmanned aviation systems (UAS) career path for its ranks.
The Navy, however, doesn’t have an official selection and training pipeline specifically for its UxV operators, who face challenges unique to the service. For UAS duty, the Navy has taken aviators who already earned their wings; provided on-the-job, UAS-specific training; and placed them in temporary positions.
However, this presents challenges. It’s costly and time-consuming to add more training hours, and it takes aviators away from their manned aircraft duties. Finally, the cognitive skills needed for successful manned aviation can vary from those needed for unmanned operators.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)
StealthAdapt is designed to address this issue. It consists of a cognitive test, personality assessment, and biographical history assessment. The cognitive exam actually is the game-based component of the system and takes the form of a search-and-rescue mission. Each player’s assignment is to rescue as many stranded friendly forces as possible, within a pre-set time limit, while avoiding fire from hostile forces.
If that’s not stressful enough, players must simultaneously monitor chat-based communications, make sure they have enough fuel and battery power to complete missions, memorize and enter authentication codes required for safe rescue of friendlies, decode encrypted information, and maintain situational awareness.
“We’re trying to see how well players respond under pressure, which is critical for success as an unmanned operator,” said Dr. Phillip Mangos, president and chief scientist at Adaptive Immersion Technologies. “We’re looking for attention to detail, the ability to multitask and prioritize, and a talent for strategic planning — thinking 10 moves ahead of your adversary.”
To maintain this pressure, players complete multiple 5- to 10-minute missions in an hour. Each scenario changes, with different weather, terrain, number of friendlies and hostiles, and potential communication breakdowns.
After finishing the game portion, participants answer questions focusing on personality and biographical history. Mangos’ team then crunches this data with game-performance metrics to create a comprehensive operator evaluation.
In 2017, over 400 civilian and military volunteers participated as StealthAdapt research subjects at various Navy and Air Force training centers. Mangos and his research team currently are reviewing the results and designing an updated system for validation by prospective Navy and Air Force unmanned operators. It will be ready for fleet implementation in 2018
Mangos envisions StealthAdapt serving as a stand-alone testing and recruitment tool, or as part of a larger screening process such as the Selection for UAS Personnel, also known as SUPer. SUPer is an ONR-sponsored series of specialized tests that assesses cognitive abilities and personality traits of aspiring UxV operators.
It’s 1 a.m. again, and I’m wearily crawling into bed hours after my partner.
This is the effect of “Apex Legends” on my life — the latest major Battle Royale game to demand the attention of tens of millions of players. Since “Apex Legends” arrived in early February 2019, it’s become the standard background game in my life.
Unlike “Fortnite” or “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” “Apex Legends” has its hooks in me deep and I don’t foresee them letting go anytime soon. Here’s why:
There are ziplines in “Apex Legends” that defy the laws of physics in delightful ways.
1. “Apex Legends” feels better to play, from gunplay to movement to strategy, than any other Battle Royale game available.
Everything about the act of playing “Apex Legends” feels good, and the more I dig into the game, the more I find to love.
The simple act of moving around is so thoroughly, thoughtfully detailed that it bears praising.
Here’s a very basic overview: Every character moves at the same speed, whether walking or running. While running, you can push the crouch button to slide — this offers you a minor speed boost if you’re on flat or sloping ground. Every character can jump, and if you hold jump while leaping into a wall you’ll clamber up the wall.
It’s a very simple set of rules, but the way that “Apex Legends” makes all movement feel so fluid and smooth is remarkable. It’s perhaps the most impressive aspect of “Apex Legends”: The game simply feels good to move around in. The same can’t be said for any other Battle Royale game.
2. It’s a tremendously detailed game, despite being straightforward and accessible to anyone.
Allow me an example: For the first few weeks, I rarely used hip-fire (shooting without aiming down the sights). Why would I do that if I could aim more carefully by aiming with a sight?
It turns out there’s a massive benefit to using hip-fire shooting in “Apex Legends,” and blending your shooting between aimed shots and hip-fire is a crucial component to successful play. Due to the relatively accurate spread of fire, hip-firing is critical for winning close-quarter fights with most weapons in “Apex Legends.”
That’s one tiny detail of myriad tiny details that make every little thing you do in “Apex Legends” feel so good. It’s actually my favorite component of the game: I’m still learning finer nuances of each specific weapon, of how to move through the environment more swiftly, of how to reach a place I didn’t know I could.
It’s a game that still feels remarkably fresh to me even after dozens of hours played.
The full “Apex Legends” island.
(“Apex Legends”/Electronic Arts)
3. The way players can interact with the extremely detailed world in “Apex Legends” is a testament to its excellent world design.
On our way to the next circle, my friend pinged a location for me to see — a tiny little hole he’d discovered that could be used to sneakily get away in a desperate Skull Town fight.
It was the most recent discovery he’d made after over 100 hours spent running, sliding, and shooting through the single map in “Apex Legends.”
There are dozens of these little quirks to the map, and it’s clear that an absurd amount of attention was given to exactly how each area of the map was laid out. There are always more angles to take, or ways to flank enemies, or a carefully placed boulder that’ll have to serve as cover — the hands of the game’s development team are all over the map if you look close enough.
“Fortnite” recently added a bus that acts a lot like the Respawn Beacons in “Apex Legends.”
4. “Apex Legends” is the evolution of Battle Royale — every other game in the genre feels old by comparison.
Watching a video recently of a popular Twitch streamer playing “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” I was struck by how stiff it was. Movement had no sense of weight to it, and the sound of the player running made it look like they were tiptoe-running across a field.
Frankly, it looked outdated and unpolished compared to “Apex Legends.”
The closest any Battle Royale game gets, in terms of movement and gunplay and feel, is “Call of Duty: Blackout.” It’s quick, and has solid gunplay, and there are some interesting gameplay twists that make it unique. But it is inherently a “Call of Duty” Battle Royale mode, with all the baggage that comes with — movement isn’t very fluid, and guns mostly sound like toys.
And that’s before we start talking about the respawn system, or ziplines, or the pinging system, or dropships, or care packages, or the jumpmaster system, or any of the other dozen innovations that “Apex Legends” brings to the Battle Royale genre. It adds so much new stuff that it feels like a full step forward past every other game in the genre.
Level 1 Shield here!
5. The ping system!
It’s hard to overstate how impressive the ping system is in “Apex Legends.” It should be the number one takeaway for any game developer working on a new multiplayer shooter.
The idea is simple: See an enemy? Tap the right bumper on your gamepad, and your character will call out those enemies and even mark their last movement for your teammates. See ammo your teammate needs? Tap the right bumper! It’s a brilliant, robust system for “spotting” various things — from items to enemies.
Smarter still, that system is contextual. If you’re looking at a level-three helmet and “spot” it, your character shouts out, “Level-three helmet here!” and marks it for your teammates. It’s this system that enables teammates to communicate a wealth of information without having to literally speak to strangers.
The spotting system cannot be overstated in its importance — it’s such a smart innovation that I outright expect it to show up in most multiplayer shooters going forward. It better!
Even with a sight, shooting someone from this distance with an Alternator is a tricky proposition.
6. It’s the best shooter of any Battle Royale game — shooting specifically.
The team behind “Apex Legends” has a serious pedigree behind it, having created the “Call of Duty” series and the “Titanfall” series.
It’s no surprise, then, that the shooting in “Apex Legends” feels so good — it’s from developers who more or less set the standard in video-game shooting.
To this end, bullets fall appropriately over a distance. Gunshot sounds are directional. Headshots feel substantial, and submachine guns feel like high-powered BB guns.
The shooting looks, feels, and sounds as good or better than the best shooting games, from the latest “Call of Duty” to “Destiny 2.”
This may sound obvious but, in the most popular Battle Royale games, the shooting is pretty terrible. “Fortnite” has notoriously lackluster shooting mechanics. The only great Battle Royale shooter is “Call of Duty: Blackout,” and that shooting is held back by the relatively stiff movement of the game.
7. Since each Legend has their own abilities, learning how to mix those abilities with your friends is a blast.
In “Fortnite,” every character you play as has the same abilities. It’s a third-person shooter with building mechanics, and every avatar — visuals aside — is identical.
The same can be said for “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” and the Battle Royale mode in “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.”
But in “Apex Legends,” each player has unique abilities. There are various “classes” of characters — soldiers, tanks, healers, etc. — and various specialties within each class. In this way, “Apex Legends” is more similar to “Overwatch” than its direct competition.
And blending those characters into a team made up of complementary players is part of the delight of “Apex Legends.” Better yet: The game’s developer, Respawn Entertainment, has already added one new character, Octane. And more are promised for the future.
So, what are these powers? They range from the ability to conjure a healing drone that can heal multiple teammates at once, to a grappling hook for reaching high places, to the ability to deploy noxious-gas containers. Using Bangalore’s smoke grenade combined with Gibraltar’s air strike ultimate is one combination I’ve been particularly enjoying.
Since it’s still early days for “Apex Legends,” many of the best ways to use various abilities are still shaking out. And that’s thrilling! There’s a “meta” to “Apex Legends” that is deeper and smarter than games like “Fortnite.” It feels like there are many ways to win, with a variety of different team setups, rather than a “best” way to win. And that leads to the kind of experimentation that keeps the game fresh.
Picking up wins with friends is absolutely delightful.
8. Playing with friends is critical, and makes the game so much more enjoyable.
I’ve had lots of good matches of “Apex Legends” with total strangers. I’ve won many games where my teammates and I never spoke a word, using only the in-game pinging system to communicate while moving from fight to fight. It is entirely possible to play this game with strangers and have a blast.
But nothing is better than playing with friends, using both your voice and the game’s pinging system to detail your words. Saying “Enemies right here” and pinging the location at the same time is a great way to immediately convey complex information to your teammates. Even better is the tactical planning you convey to each other afterward as you head into battle. “I’ll take left flank,” for instance, or “Getting height” — common refrains while sneaking up on an opposing squad.
Better still, you learn each other’s strengths and compliment each other’s chosen character. You laugh at each other’s faults and call out items you know friends are looking for — yes, I’m always looking for an R-301. Thank you for remembering!
It’s why I’ve been staying up way past my normal bedtime almost every day to play more “Apex Legends.” It’s the best game that’s come out this year by a longshot, and by far the best Battle Royale game available.
The most recent trend to take the gaming world by storm is the advent of massively multiplayer battle royale games that pit around 100 players against each other. The gameplay is simple: The player lands in a random location, picks up whatever weapons they can manage, and fights others to be the last player standing.
While there are plenty of game mechanics that counter the tips on this list, it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine what it would take to emerge victorious should a battle royale actually happen. Who knows, maybe these real-life tactics will even help you win a game or two.
Dropping into Pleasant Park might not be the best idea…
The beginning of every match has the players make a mad rush in search of randomly placed weapons. Players can generally assume that larger locations have better gear because there are more locations in which for gear to appear.
Assuming the real-life situation is similar and gear is placed without rhyme or reason, there’d simply be no reason to pick a popular place to start. The last situation you want to find yourself in is one where you’re without weapons or protection among people who have both.
Maybe hide in a bunker. No one ever bothers to check the bunkers.
(Bluehole Studio, Inc.)
Most battle royale games constrict the field of play as the game goes on, preventing players from hiding in one spot the entire time instead of, you know, actually playing the game.
In real life, however, where isn’t any time limit, look for a place where you can watch only one avenue of approach and wait things out while the enemies dwindle.
“Don’t mind me. I’m just an aggressive bush. A very aggressive bush.”
The focus of the game is to outlive everyone. This also means that the last two players will need to duke it out (or let the other player die on their own) for there to be a single winner.
You want your enemy to be focusing on the other 98 enemies around them. If you need supplies, keep a low profile. Do not draw attention to yourself. Find some way to blend into the environment so that any enemy looking for you instead looks right past you.
Because everything actually is a trap.
Slow, methodical pace
Much of what separates the games from any real-life, hypothetical scenario is the pace. If you run around having fun and you die in the game… Cool. On to the next round. Meanwhile, in real life, we’ve started wars over the question of whether there is indeed a “next round after death.”
In real life, you’ll need to take the time to think every action through. If your current position is in more danger than another, move without drawing attention to yourself. Believe every step you take is into a trap and plan accordingly.
There are inherent dangers involved with a combat deployment. Even if you don’t have first-hand knowledge, you probably have a pretty solid understanding of what troops go through on a near-daily basis in a country that few can even point to on a globe. Our troops are up against a hostile environment filled with potentially hostile actors that hide behind civilian masks. But one thing that’s never really discussed is downtime — the rest period, the time between missions.
As bizarre as it sounds, it’s often the nothingness that can be most exhausting. At a certain point during a deployment, you adapt to the pressures of war and missions, but being left with nothing to do, without any real outlet to help you escape your surroundings and calm down for a moment, is what gets to some troops most.
So, it’s not unusual for troops to pick up some sort of hobby to pass the time. Some troops take up drawing or learn to play the guitar. Others head to the MWR tent to watch the same late-90s sitcom for the 80th time. Many others pass the time by picking up a controller and playing a video game with their friends.
But the luxury of popping the latest game into an X-Box simply isn’t afforded to all troops — and that’s where care packages from a loved one — or organizations like OSD — come in.
The reason OSD is so in sync with what troops want and need is because many members of the organization are veterans themselves.
OSD has been filling in those gaps of nothingness with a wide assortment of highly-desired goods. Once the OSD team gets a hold of a deployed unit, that unit can usually expect a massive care package filled with entertainment. OSD shipped over 450 such “Supply Drops” in 2017, containing everything from video games to game consoles and televisions to coffee, junk food, and everything else troops might miss from back home.
Troops who are in outlaying bases, like the soldiers of the 101st Aviation Regiment, will now have something to look forward to when their shifts are over.
And that’s just their flagship program. OSD also provides mentorship and resources for veterans seeking employment opportunities through their Heroic Forces program, they assist wounded veterans throughout their recovery processes through Respawn, and they sponsor nominated veterans via Thank You Deployment, a program that celebrates service by giving individuals the day of a lifetime.
Because one care package really can change a deployment for the better.
This October, OSD is running their third annual Vetober, a charity donation drive that helps fuel all of the awesome programs above and more. You can donate the conventional way, but OSD is also staying true to their roots in gaming culture by introducing competition to the mix. Form or join a team, raise cash for veterans, and see if you can come out on top!
Every dollar donated goes to benefit the hundreds of thousands of troops and veterans. 0 raised means a new supply drop goes out to troops who desperately need some entertainment. 0 helps mentor veterans seeking employment. 0 sponsors events in veteran communities across the country. 00 helps OSD grow, allowing them to continue changing thousands of service members’ lives for the better.
Help us break the monotony of deployments and keep our troops happy and healthy. Whether you want to donate directly, help spread the word, organize a fundraising team, or join someone else’s team, you can help make a difference!
On a more personal level, I cannot recommend OSD highly enough. Not only do they hold a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, so you know they’re trustworthy, they also personally impacted my life.
My unit received a supply drop from OSD when we were deployed and, man, was it a welcomed sight. We opened a care package only to find, basically, everything we’ve ever wanted. For the first time in a while, we played games and relaxed. It helped give us a chance to come together as a platoon and take our minds off everything.
Military games are awesome. They often have lots of explosions and gunplay, and the best ones take some care to honestly represent military life, imposing a moral cost for decisions or making you feel the loss of comrades in fighting. But it’s always a sweet bonus if you, as the player, are able to step in the shoes of warriors from history.
So these are five games that let you do just that, either commanding important missions from history or stepping into the boots of a participant. A quick admin note, though: These are games that let you play in a historical mission. They aren’t necessarily the most historically accurate, meaning the creators might have taken some liberties with details.
Medal of Honor
The 2010 game Medal of Honor is set during the invasion of Afghanistan with a prologue that includes clearing Bagram Airfield and a main campaign centered on special operators in the Shahikot Valley. Eagle-eyed historians will recognize the story as a (loose) interpretation of Operation Anaconda, the largest battle of the invasion of Afghanistan complete with dozens of special operators, thousands of friendly soldiers, and about 1,000 guerrilla fighters.
While the names of individuals and units have all been changed, a lot of the key moments and terrain features from the actual battle are represented like when a SEAL is lost on Takur Ghar or the many times that members of Delta Force called in airstrikes on enemy forces.
(As a bonus, some versions of this game come with the 2002 Medal of Honor: Frontline which has some stunning depictions of real battles like the D-Day landings and Operation Market Garden, though even the remastered version has quaint graphics by modern standards.)
Call of Duty 2
To be honest, there are really too many World War II shooters to list all of the ones with real missions, even if we dedicated an entire list to World War II. We went with Call of Duty 2 for this list. It features missions in North Africa, lets you play with the Rangers on Ponte du Hoc on D-Day, and a variety of other real missions besides.
The original Call of Duty has other World War II missions like the defense of “Pavlov’s House” in Stalingrad and the final assault on Berlin.
But don’t learn your history from Call of Duty games. The “Operation Pegasus” mission in the game has nothing to do with the actual World War II mission of the same name. And the commando assault on Eder Dam in the game is a far cry from the true “Dambusters” of history.
Battlefield Vietnam is a well-received game about the Vietnam War (duh) originally released in 2004. The game is a little arcade-y with lots of run-and-gun action in settings like the Ho Chi Ming Trail, the Siege of Hue, and missions like Operation Flaming Dart.
Players can get behind the controls of lots of vehicles from the era including the iconic Patrol Boat-Riverine.
Company of Heroes
This is a real-time strategy game set in the American campaign to land at Normandy and then drive to Berlin. Company of Heroes sees the player commanding companies of soldiers in the 1st Infantry Division and 101st Airborne Division at battles from Carentan to Hill 192 to St. Lo.
The game doesn’t actually limit the player to what a company commander could do in the war. It gives players the options to upgrade all of their units and allows them to control armor, infantry, engineering, and other soldiers. But the maps feel different based on what battle is playing out, and they’re all destructible so you can fight house to house in St. Fromond or create chokepoints to slaughter German troops as they come through the village.
Ultimate General: Civil War
This Civil War strategy game has *checks notes*, all of the Civil War battles. There’s a Union campaign and a Confederate one, and each features dozens of battles and missions. These include both battles of Bull Run, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chickamauga Creek, Cold Harbor, and much, much, more.
The size of the player’s force is decided by how well they do in each fight. So while you get to play all sorts of historical battles, realize that the actual forces at each fight are decided according to your performance, not according to historical accuracy. So be prepared for a Gettysburg where the Confederacy has three times the troops and wins.
One of the most entertaining video game franchises to make waves in last decade has got to be Fallout. It’s a quirky take on the nuclear apocalypse that shows us a world in which the 1950s marked the last cultural shift before the world’s end. Each game leaves the player to survive in nuclear-wasteland versions of formerly beautiful locales, like Washington D.C., Las Vegas, and Boston.
The game’s critical acclaim is largely due to the fun, engaging gameplay mechanics, but the game developers did their homework to make sure the objectives and the little details required by enduring the aftermath of the “Great War” are actually legitimate pieces of nuclear-apocalypse survival advice.
Should you ever awaken in a fallout shelter only to emerge and see naught but hellish landscape, you can actually use some of the things you learned while gaming.
It couldn’t hurt to start saving bottle caps now. If the apocalypse doesn’t happen, you can still use them for art… or something.
(Know Your Meme)
Currency will change
Instead of using regular greenbacks as you would in the normal world, bottle caps are the new, post-apocalyptic currency. The in-game reason given is that the caps on Nuka-Cola bottles were plenty and there’s no way to accurately recreate them. So, everyone essentially agreed that they had intrinsic value.
That’s actually the exact way our real-life monetary system works. Shy of the copper found in older pennies, the money we use today only has value because we all agree it has value. Without a Federal Reserve to enforce that value, people in a post-apocalyptic world may use something else, like bullets, gold, or maybe even bottle caps.
You don’t have to go as far as to clean ALL the water — just enough to survive.
(Bethesda Game Studios)
Find clean water
The main objective of Fallout 3 is to establish a clean water system for the city of Washington D.C. because most sources have become highly contaminated. Throughout the game, you seldom find purified water. For the most part, you’re going to poison yourself (to a degree) trying to stay hydrated.
If there’s any advice that all survivalists can agree on it’s that everyone’s first goal should be to find drinkable, poison- and nuclear-contamination-free water. Your body can only survive a few days without it, but you won’t be able to function properly in a high-stakes environment for more than a day.
Mutated rabbit… yum…
(Bethesda Game Studios)
Food packaged before the apocalypse is best
A quick and easy way to heal in the game is by eating food. Everyone needs food to survive and the extra calories gives you the edge you need to fight off mutated freaks. You can eat whatever you want (and even endeavor in cannibalism if you feel the urge), but the most efficient food is stuff from before the apocalypse.
For very obvious reasons, you don’t want to be eating poison. Finding clean food isn’t all that difficult if you know where to look. Sealed environments, like the game’s “vaults,” are often veritable supermarkets, but even packaged food that was deep underwater before the blasts went off have been proven to be clean. Just look at the wine bottles from shipwrecks, for instance.
It doesn’t need to be as fancy as a Pip-Boy but you can find one at most universities.
(Bethesda Game Studios)
Get a Geiger counter
Like other games, you’ll be reminded of several factors: your health points, any injuries sustained, how much ammo you have, etc. It will also tell you about the radiations levels of anywhere you’re going.
Nuclear radiation doesn’t exactly glow as pop culture would have you believe. Unassisted, it’s impossible to detect. The only way you’re going to know for sure that you’re not being irradiated is by using a Geiger counter.
What is it with lawless societies and their affinity with wearing spikes? I can’t imagine that’d be comfortable at all.
(Bethesda Game Studios)
Not all survivors are friendly
Because it’s still a fun action game, enemies are plenty. Irradiated beasts, mutant freaks, roaming hordes of bandits, and, of course, just regular survivors looking to protect what’s theirs.
Think about how brutal some people towards each other during Black Friday. If people are willing to maim and kill each other to take 25 percent off of a toy’s price tag, imagine what they’d do in a world where laws no longer exist and they need to make sure their children survive.
Last week, Bethesda Softworks dropped the announcement trailer for the newest installment in the exceedingly popular Fallout series, Fallout 76. Immediately, gamers across the internet set out to decipher every little bit of information they could about what’s in store. Recently, at Bethesda’s E3 Showcase in Los Angeles, we got a glimpse of what’s to come and we’re more excited now than ever for the game’s release on November 14th, 2018.
Previous installments in the Fallout series have been set roughly two hundred years after the nuclear apocalypse in various American landscapes. This time around, players will take the reins just 25 years after the bombs destroyed pretty much everything. Much to the delight of John Denver, the game will be set in West Virginia.
Before Bethesda’s recent showcase, there was much speculation about the title’s gameplay, but now we’ve got a lot more detail. It’s shaping up to be that same RPG experience you love, but now, Fallout is going online.
If you decide to get in on the multiplayer fun, that means that every human character you meet on your post-apocalyptic jaunt will potentially be another player. Befriend them, build a new civilization together, betray them and take all their stuff, raid other player’s villages, or hijack a nuclear warhead and destroy something someone spent hours making because you’ve stopped pretending you’re anything but an as*hole — the sky’s the limit!
Even the tiny details in the game are going to be amazing. The map of the game is said to be four times bigger than Fallout 4‘s 111km² map, making it the sixth largest world in gaming.
With all-new graphics, lighting and landscape technology we’re bringing to life the largest, most dynamic world ever created in the Fallout universe.
The superfans out there likely won’t settle for the regular edition of the game, especially when the $200 collector’s edition, called the “Power Armor Edition,” comes with an iconic, functioning power armor helmet. This is perfect if you were one of the lucky bastards few to get the Fallout 4 Pip-boy.
Plenty more details will be announced before the game is release in November, and we’re eager to feast on them.
To watch the official trailer, check out the video below!
The World Health Organization is a powerful, specialized agency within the United Nations that raises concerns over global health issues. Throughout their history, they’ve eradicated small pox, lead the effort in developing HIV/AIDS treatments, and reduced infant mortality rates to the lowest mankind has ever seen.
Now they’ve set their sights on the next devastating health risk that is plaguing our world: people who play video games too much.
The 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases, an official document that classifies and categorizes diseases, disorders, and injuries, includes what they’re calling a “gaming disorder” — a disorder that exhibits addictive behaviors. According to the document, it may even be linked to hazardous gaming, which is when someone neglects the real world in favor of playing video games to the point that they risk physical or mental harm.
This has been getting headlines from readers who assume their hobby is under fire — it’s not. It’s referring to extreme cases.
We’re talking about cases of addiction where someone dies after playing video games for three-days straight — and the people playing games next to his corpse don’t notice for ten hours. Or the case in which a couple that let their real-life child die because they were too busy playing video games (ironically enough, the game they were playing was a family-life simulator in which they had a virtual kid together).
(Photo by Irais Esparza)
These are all very isolated and very extreme incidents. Still, a “gaming disorder” is listed under a section entitled “disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviors.” Included under this same category are addictions to hard drugs, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and gambling.
However, there’s a very important factors missing from the classification — root cause. Video games by themselves are fun and that little shot of dopamine that your brain gives you for achieving something (in game or in any other aspect of life) can cause people to form a gaming habit.
The problem is that the WHO’s classifications of gaming disorders and hazardous gaming are independent from nearly every other mental disorder.
(South Park Studios)
According to the WHO, gaming addictions are linked to Bipolar type I and Bipolar type II. This link is established on the assumption that addicted gamers feel euphoria in the virtual world and depression in the real one.
This much is true: Gaming offers emotional security to the players. A player may be feel like a failure in the real world, but as soon as they get online, they’re a mighty paladin. There could be nothing going right in someone’s life, but they’re always able to save the princess in a video game. The village elder is just happy to see the hero who saved the day — he’s not pressing you on due dates or responsibilities.
Anyone can pick up a controller for a few hours and enjoy disconnecting for a time. Someone who feels compelled to escape the challenges of the real world entirely is a disorder.
(Photo by Katherine Belcher)
Gaming can be a problem for some people — but it isn’t addictive by itself. There are no physical withdrawals. If you want to treat it as a health concern, look into what’s causing someone to reject the world in favor of a game.
Gaming addiction is a symptom or a coping mechanism — not an affliction.
For as long as video games have existed, there have been fed-up mothers yelling at their kids to put down the controller and get back to their homework. As mom loves to remind us, “no one will ever pay you to play video games!” Well, we hate to disappoint you, ma, but for the last decade or so, there have been plenty of gamers who make a living enjoying their hobby.
As foreign as it may sound to some, there are people who are so good at video games that others will tune in (and even pay) regularly to see them compete, just like a traditional sports player. Today, we refer to this competitive gaming as “eSports.” This concept is slowly gaining traction, but just like any other idea, it’s been met with criticism from people who don’t understand that if enough are willing to pay money for something, it’s a feasible business model.
Now, the world of eSports may have just gotten the validation it needs from a brand people trust. Cloud9’s Counter Strike: Global Operations team has been officially sponsored by the United States Air Force.
Red Bull has made a huge impact in the eSports world. Seeing as nearly every gamer is addicted to energy drinks, that’s an easy win.
Video game tournaments are nothing new. Way back in 1972, students at Stanford University competed to see who could get the highest score at Spacewar. In the 90s, Quake tournaments gained recognition around the world and, by 2015, a League of Legends tournament drew in 27 million viewers — seven million more than the highest viewership average of the NBA finals.
But, in a big way, there’s one thing missing from eSports: sponsorship from outside the gaming world. The biggest sponsors of eSports have always been AMD, Intel, and, typical, the company responsible for whichever game is being played. Occasionally, you’d find a sponsor from outside the hardware/software realm, including soft-drink companies, a certain adult-entertainment company, and even Audi — but these are typically outliers.
This pattern makes good sense in a way. It’s easy for sponsors to use gaming events to promote products that are directly applicable to eSports. Do you want to play like these guys? Buy this mouse and keyboard. Do you want to enhance your reaction times? Buy these goofy, yellow-tinted glasses. Do you want to practice late into the night? Chug some of this energy drink.
The sponsors have almost always directly related to gaming — not to a generally huge audience. That is, until the recent sponsorship deal of the Los Angeles-based Cloud9 by the United States Air Force.
“By developing a dynamic partnership with the Air Force, we will be able to deliver extraordinary content that will show fans a totally different side of the team. No one else in the world can put our team into a jet and let our fans watch the sheer thrill come over their faces. It’s going to be amazing.” says Cloud9 owner and CEO, Jack Etienne.
Starting this week, at the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2018, the Cloud9 uniforms will now proudly sport the U.S. Air Force logo.
“Join the Air Force! Do all the awesome stuff you see in the video games! Totally!”
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Peter Reft)
The details of the partnership aren’t known — but it can be assumed that the USAF has spent more money on getting branded pens dumped into cups at recruitment centers than they did in putting the USAF logo on the t-shirt sleeves of four gamers. Money aside, this is huge news. This means that the United States Air Force has recognized the recruitment possibility in getting exposure in a new, emerging venue.
This offers legitimacy to the world of eSports. This means that a branch of the United States Armed Forces sees the possibility to attract potential recruits out of the pool of people watching eSports events. All jokes about the Air Force aside, younger, nerdy adults are kind of the Air Force’s target demographic — and they have been looking into many different avenues to meet recruitment numbers.
Since the Air Force has been pushing heavily for the cyber fields, this partnership makes absolute sense.
Video games are a much-enjoyed pastime for younger generations. It just so happens that a lot of troops today come from this video-game-loving generation. While they’re not out physically training for their upcoming deployment, they’re probably back in their barracks room “training.”
No, it’s not because they’re working to be 110% prepared. It’s because these games are also pretty fun.
6. America’s Army: Proving Ground
To be absolutely fair to every other game, this one was made by the U.S. Army. It serves as both a fun training aid for troops and an enjoyable recruitment tool for civilians.
While going through the training missions, a helpful Drill Sergeant will give you sound advice, for both the gaming world and the real thing.
5. SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs
SOCOM is an oldie, but it still holds up — and has a huge place in gaming history. It laid the groundwork for many of the games on this list.
Sure, the graphics don’t hold up and you can find a more accurate video game on the shelves today, but this game brought a new dynamic to the industry. It was the first game to make use of the PlayStation’s microphone in a shooter and one of the first overall to use it successfully.
4. Rainbow Six: Siege
Siege is fast-paced game that pits a team of six attackers against six defenders. Players must then chose an operator based on many real-world Counterterrorist units, each with a special trait based off of real technology.
Communication and breaching are key elements to making Rainbow Six: Siege work. If you know the enemy is guarding the door, blow out the walls. If you know the enemy barricaded the walls, blow out the roof. If you know they booby-trapped that entrance, flash bang your way through to the objective.
3. Sniper Elite 4
If there’s one defining trait of real-life snipers, it’s their ability to wait for hours on end to get the perfect shot. While the waiting part isn’t the most alluring element of Sniper Elite, it definitely makes delivering that single, precise bullet all the more satisfying.
This game needs to be played slowly, methodically, and relaxed. And then you can sit back and enjoy as the game gives you a satisfying x-ray of the damage you’ve inflicted on the enemy.
2. Battlefield 1
The entire Battlefield series is beloved by troops for its slower pace (compared to the running and gunning of Call of Duty). The games also take a more logical approach to capturing objectives.
Players need to think through large 64-player vs 64-player battlefields. You can’t just run into a room, spin 360 degrees, and headshot someone with a sniper rifle without looking through the scope.
…unless you’re good.
1. Arma 3
There’s no game on the marketplace quite like Arma 3. Yes, there are single-player missions that require a basic level of thought, but what sets this game at the top is the deep multiplayer element.
Teamwork and coordination are keys to victory in this game. Everyone needs a microphone to communicate properly. You clear houses, just like real life. You man checkpoints, just like real life. And you even have support troops, just like real life. This game’s community is so well-versed in tactics to the point that actual service-members who play are often praised and asked to lead the civilians on missions.
*Bonus* Six Days in Fallujah
This game is left with just an honorable mention because it was never released. Originally created by Atomic Games, Six Days in Fallujah would have been the first of it’s kind. The developers wanted to deliver an experience that would require the player to use an extreme amount of military tactics in every level and accurately depict the Second Battle of Fallujah in what would have been almost an interactive documentary. It aimed to put the player in the psychological mindset of Marines that were actually there.
The game was said to have depicted the good, the bad, and the unfortunate sides of the very real war. You would have followed the actual 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines who took part in the battle. The objectives and conditions were exactly like those of real-life. The real Marines who died in the battle would have died in the game, too. It was scrapped in 2009 because of a severe backlash against the publisher for “trivializing” the severity of the Iraq War.