Wednesday, July 2, 2008

SUMMERFEST Shuts Down U.S. Army Game

UPDATE, JULY 3, 2008: "Summerfest statement on Army exhibit"

Summerfest has the utmost respect and honor for our armed forces. In no way did Summerfest intend any disrespect to our country's past and current cherished servicemen and women and their families with the recent modifications that were made to the virtual reality activity within the U.S. Army exhibit at Summerfest...

Summerfest cannot claim to have the utmost respect and honor for our armed forces when they take the side of anti-military, anti-war extremists and choose to censor the exhibit rather than stand with the U.S. Army.

More, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Army shuts down war game."

Technically, I guess that's true.


Actually, the Army agreed to shut down the game when SUMMERFEST officials requested that it be pulled. It was Summerfest that initiated the action.
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.

“We don’t have an issue with their physical presence,” Boler said of the Army’s full exhibit that includes a pull-up bar and recruiters gathering data and answering questions. “It’s the digital content.”

...An Army spokeswoman said the game isn’t meant to teach people how to shoot, but rather educate them on the life of a soldier.

“It gives them a glimpse into what it’s like to really be a soldier,” said Pat Grobschmidt, a public affairs officer.

Grobschmidt said the game is one component of a larger game that is extremely popular with more than 8 million registered users. More than 500 Summerfest goers played the game on opening day, she said.

It was displayed at a concert in Madison and an air show in Janesville last year and did not get any complaints, she said.

Charlie Sykes links to the Virtual Army Experience.

It's described as providing "participants with a virtual test drive of the United States Army. Participants employ teamwork, rules of engagement, leadership and high-tech equipment as they take part in a virtual U.S. Army mission."

Learn more. Read the Virtual Army Experience Fact Sheet.

The VAE page also has a list of "upcoming missions."

Notice that the Virtual Army Experience will be appearing at Six Flags Great America. From July 10-20, visitors to Great America will have the opportunity to see the Army's exhibit. Later in the summer, the VAE will be at the Great Indiana State Fair, the West Texas Fair, and other fairs.

Do you think of Six Flags and state fairs as places of warmongering?

I think of them as family-friendly places. They're places "meant to bring people together for a good time in peace," right?

The U.S. Army's exhibit is welcome at those happy places.

Nonetheless, Summerfest officials chose to side with Peace Action Wisconsin after receiving a "handful of complaints."

It's interesting that Summerfest officials agreed that the festival was no place for the Army's virtual reality game considering it hosts video games with violent content purely for the purpose of entertainment. Where is the outrage from Peace Action Wisconsin over those games?

The group and its Leftist supporters are quite selective in their outrage, quite anti-military. Their agenda is clear.

Imagine. Summerfest officials, land of beer-a-plenty and the accompanying drunkenness and sometimes rather lewd behavior on display for all to see, couldn't stomach a virtual reality game within the U.S. Army's exhibit.

Anti-military Lefties put in a few calls and got Summerfest to capitulate. Pundit Nation offered the phone number and talking points:

Milwaukee is a city struggling with violent crime, yet as Peace Action Wisconsin is pointing out, Summerfest and the US Army are collaborating on an exhibit that encourages visitors to the event to practice shooting people. The organization is encouraging complaint calls to the Summerfest switchboard at 414-273-2690. Points to make including noting that war is not a game, and that Summerfest shouldn’t be hosting war games as part of its exhibits this year.

Did you get that number?


Are you troubled that Summerfest would target the U.S. Army, asking that part of its exhibit be shut down?

If Summerfest is going to be consistent, ALL games with any violent content should be removed. While we're at it, let's make sure that all musical performances are free of any violent, graphic lyrics. Oh, and I saw those bubble guns all over the Summerfest grounds on Monday, in the hands of CHILDREN. YES, CHILDREN WITH GUNS! Get rid of those, too.

Of course, the anti-military extremists would complain about the military exhibit, but why did Summerfest permit the extremists to pull its strings rather than backing the Army? No one was exposed to the game without volunteering. It was a choice, not forced on anyone.

Call Summerfest. Let your voice be heard.


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