Chinese Army's New Video Game Aims to Turn Geeks into GI's

Just call 'em GI Zhou. New recruits to China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) will soon be able to toss out their dubbed and subtitled versions of Call of Duty, thanks to the PLA's first homegrown military training video game, “Mission of Honor.”

The game (NOT at left), currently in the final stages of development and debugging, will give certain aspects of PLA training a Chinese accent, as it were, as the game is designed to appeal to domestic video gamers' senses and sensibilities. Homegrown military video games are expected to supplant traditional games of strategy such as chess when it comes to both training and entertainment. 

Though the exact scenarios that comprise “Mission of Honor” have not been released, generally speaking the game revolves around a PLA soldier's life at an army base. Successful completion of a series of increasingly challenging missions will lead the soldier to his final mission: completing a large-scale military drill.

The game is structured in three ascending modules: basic training, individual missions and team combat. As players progress through the game modules they will virtually grow from raw rookies to battle-hardened veterans. No telling if the game includes a Chinese version of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman to give “encouragement” in Mandarin as needed... one can only hope.

Development of “Mission of Honor” began two years ago, after the PLA's Nanjing Command contracted with the Wuxi Giant Interactive Group Inc. The latter is a PRC-registered online game research and development company established in December of 1999.

Recent advances in gaming technology, computer generated imaging and CADCAM modeling will allow the PLA to more accurately simulate battlefield scenarios their planners have always prepared for. Developing these types of games in-house, moreover, will help avoid the problem of Chinese army officers and soldiers being confused and/or mislead by differing social, cultural and military values inherent in foreign-developed games.

Soldiers involved with testing the game reported that it plays much like a simple military textbook featuring professional combat skills and command passwords... and they were quoted as saying that it is “quite fun”. As Gunnery Sergeant Hartman might reply, “You will not laugh! You will not cry! You will learn by the numbers. I will teach you!” Good luck, PLA soldiers. (via China Daily)