Could hardcore military video games influence you on an actual battlefield if you had no prior training?

First of all, I am not asking if video games can come anywhere close to formal military training, since obviously they can’t, I am asking if they can maybe teach you at least some things that could help you out in a battlefield if you were thrown into it without any training (can’t happen in America, but it can happen in other parts of the world).

Also, I am not talking about popular FPS shooters like CoD and Battlefield where people run and jump around, I am talking about complex games and simulators with a steep learning curve and one shot to kill system, like Squad, Arma 3, the Combat mission battle sim and so on.

So in short, if you had two 20 year old gamers that are exactly the same by body shape, strength, mental and psychological strength and so on, but one that plays only the most extreme and realistic military simulators, while the other plays other types of games, would the first guy have any advantage?

For example some militaries actually use Arma 3 for training, but a more pro version called VBS4, as well as a vehicle simulator called Steel beasts pro, which is used by the Danish army for simulating the CV90 IFV.

well, you sort of answered your own question.
I’ll add that in the US Army, the folks that crew armored combat vehicles (tanks, bradleys etc) do much of their training in simulators, very much like a video game in truth(not exactly the same, but close)

I have a vague half-memory of seeing a documentary years ago where the British Army was trying to sell their proprietary FPS simulation training software to a games publisher.

A professional equipment simulator in no way resembles a game simulator.

The simple answer is it depends on how realistic it is. Something that is PlayStation quality probably not.

I’m several years out of the game. When I was in tanks we had something called CCTT which was a big video game. But you weren’t sitting in front of a tv with a controller in your hand. You sat in something that looked like the inside of a tank. You moved within the game with your unit who were in their own tanks. This was helpful because there were few places where you can do full scale tank maneuvers since it does so much damage to everything.

Was that a reply to my comment directly above yours? If so, that was kind of the point. IIRC the idea was that there was small, niche market of people who would want to play with the same tools the pros use, and there wasn’t (isn’t?) anything like that around.

If not, never mind :grinning:

Just a general comment from someone that trained to work on flight simulators in the U.S.A.F. way back when.

They probably wouldn’t help you with what to do. But they might help you not to panic, which has always been the biggest thing you get from military training.

I can’t say what the simulators for tanks and bradleys is like now, twenty years ago the video game simulators were just as good, possibly better. The thing the military had was the total immersive thing. You got in and it was the inside of your vehicle. whether you were in the drivers seat or turret, that’s how it was built, small cramped hard to get in and out of etc. The “game play”, the software was not as good as a game of the day, visually

I’d imagine the big advantages to something like ARMA would be that they make you aware of things that you might not otherwise be aware of - like where ambushes might come from, where cover is, how to pick a good route between places, etc… Stuff that a soldier might otherwise not know about until after being in the thick of things.

I’m sure that even then it’s no substitute for actual combat experience, but it’s certainly better than nothing, as long as it’s realistic enough to not teach the wrong lessons.

I’m mainly asking about regular soldiers, paramilitaries,etc and thus video games in which you are in the role of a regular soldier, since, while tank simulators could teach you a lot, no one will just give you a tank without prior training, but on the other hand they might give you a rifle with little to no training if it’s a heavy situtation, if an enemy is coming to your hometown and officials mobilize everyone that can move and so on.

It may cause one to take unnecessary chances while subconsciously thinking, if something goes wrong, I’ll just respawn.

This long ago post from @Stranger_On_A_Train seems apropos:

What, you don’t get powerups and stimpacks in real combat? :wink: Nah, video games are nothing like combat. Except for Tetris. That’s exactly like being under fire.

I’m not really into shooters but I was surprised to find ‘Army of Two’ used actual firefight tactics.

One person sprays rounds into the air to distract/intimidate the enemy while their partner moves to a better position then they swap roles. I’m not military but I believe I read somewhere this is how US troops are trained; most of their rounds are spent on distraction/suppression vs an attempted kill shot.

I’d imagine just the opposite. I can see learning the proper way to breach and enter a room from a video game, or how to carry out a flanking maneuver on a hardened position, but I can’t see a video game preparing you for the shock of, “That was a real bullet that just went past my head, and I don’t get extra lives here.”

I imagine something like ArmA or even Battlefield and Call of Duty might give you a superficial understanding of military terms, equipment, vehicles, and concepts (like cover vs concealment or the difference between an enfilade and a defilade). Maybe even aid in planning out some small-unit ops. But it won’t take the place of the physical and mental conditioning that comes with spending thousands of hours practicing with a weapon while running around with a hundred pounds of crap on your back.

I guess I look at it like this. Playing ArmA would clue me in to how fucked my unit would be if we wandered into a valley where a trained sniper with an AS50 .50 cal anti-material rife held a concealed an elevated position. It would not help me to become said sniper.

Y’know, this would make for an interesting tv series-taking top-notch gamers and seeing how they handle real-world situations they computer trained for.

I recall references about the use of simulators, and later in the form of video games, in order to encourage armed infantrymen to open fire, and how that propensity increased from WW2 to the Vietnam war.

For an anecdote, I also recall firing weapons for the first time with the family in a firing range a few years ago. For the first time, I fired a couple of rounds from a 9 mm at the standard distance and hit the bulls eye several times. The same thing happened for my nephew who had never handled a gun in his life. Everyone else in the family didn’t do as well.

The instructor said, “Let me guess: both of you play those first person shooter video games.” We both nodded.