Tactical Surveillance: How It Relates to Gaming
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PRIMARY MATERIALS

The question at hand is how exactly video games are impacting and impacted by the real world, in terms of surveillance. In itself, the nature of the question is vague, but it does leave room for adventure. Primarily, the studies I have performed thus far have been into the Ghost Recon series, primarily the most recent installment, Future Soldier. Future Soldier, a video game about a group of special forces operatives called ‘Ghosts’, is a tactical action game with loads of unique equipment and skills. Keeping true to my research, I took time to play through the game and keep track of several things I noticed as a demonstration of tactical surveillance.
In Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, there is a whole host of unique tools and gadgets to keep an eye on any potential terrorists or to spot them for the rest of the team. Tactical sensors are rubber grenades that bounce around the area thrown in until deployed, when they turn rigid and map the area for the team, highlighting enemies on the HUD. The Cross-Com Tactical Field network is a built-in series of sensors, cameras, and light filters (including night vision and thermal goggles). The Cross-Com also has a compact visual system called ‘Mag-Vision’, which lets the player see through thin cover and mark enemies and civilians as alive or dead. On top of all these features, the Cross-Com allows the Ghosts to use cameras and vehicles to maintain direct line of sight on enemies through complex vehicles, such as the Quad-rotor MUAV and WarHound, two machines designed to incapacitate, kill, or watch enemies to stay safe or retrieve information on the mission.
Gadgets aside, the Ghosts are also capable of intelligently concealing themselves in various situations, and are also skilled in following and taking notes on the behaviors of those that they watch. For instance, it is expected at one point in the campaign for the player (or players) to strategically place the members of the team around a small village in Russia and hide to avoid contact with an incoming group of soldiers until the Ghosts can gain enough data on the opposing team to effectively neutralize them and continue the mission.
The primary material itself didn’t fully answer my questions, so when I went looking for more information, I found similarities between the technology in Ghost Recon and a weapons and technology-based television show called Future Weapons (Discovery). In the television show, there were a series of episodes about the growing repertoire of gadgets and armor that is available to special forces operatives in the United States and other countries, including a series of sensors (sticky cameras, remote control cameras, and bouncing grenades that thermally image rooms), a fully real-time updating computer system (which allows for full field thermal scanning, portable on-field computing, tactical communications, and even camera and GPS support from a distance), and a remotely controlled war machine that carries and deploys munitions for soldiers, or for anti-personnel tactics.

So What?

Most people don’t see a problem with these two industries coming together and borrowing off of each other, but of all things that are good coming from this, there are indeed a myriad of potentially bad things, as well. To start, these industries are exposed in a very non-exclusive manner by the media, where those that are developing this kind of technology are showing it off to people the world over. Special Forces is, of itself, based solely upon plausible deniability, or the idea that it is entirely possible that anything they are involved with is either potentially not existing, or not affiliated with that group. When the United States shows shiny new body armor on an international program, foreign enemies are made aware of this advancement, and can adjust accordingly. However, on the other hand, it is also dangerous that a government, with stability issues as coarse as any countries’ lately, has this kind of technology, and can hide it from public sight to later abuse for personal gain.
From the video game side, it is also a potential security issue if people are made to believe that if some of these tools are available, that all of them might be available, and that could create either false hope, or false panic, which are both dangerous to the general populace. On any front of this predicament, there are negatives, but seeing as simply eliminating games from the market is fairly impossible, it would do people well to learn more about these developments.

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