The Michigan Army National Guard has revealed they’re using games and football as part of a new project to reach potential recruits.
The annual face-off between the Michigan State University Spartans and the University of Michigan Wolverines will be held on October 9th in Ann Arbor – and the National Guard tent will be there, packed to the brim with video games, ranging from golfing and skateboarding all the way up to the newly-released Halo: Reach. (No mention of the FPS that was actually designed as a recruitment tool for the US armed forces – America’s Army… would that make it too obvious?)
The current head of Michigan Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion is Major Lavetta Bennett – herself a gamer (she likes Madden), with sons who also enjoy gaming. She explains that “This is one of those creative ways for us to be in conversation with them, especially in a video game age.”
A Californian company, Interactive Game Experience, are running the event after being contacted when the National Guard found out about similar events being held around the US that were attracting their key demographic: people aged 17-42 – exactly those people who’d attend football matches.
So, while you’re in Michigan enjoying your free game of virtual golf or running around with a bunch of Master Chief lookalikes, don’t be surprised if a recruiter sallies up next to you and strikes up a conversation. While he might be impressed by your skillz with virtual weaponry, he’s probably more interested in helping you get a better understanding of the Guard and finding out if you’d be interested in signing up.
They’re quick to point out, however, that there are no obligations or requirements at the tent – if you want to just play games, that’s your choice – and that while you may be asked to fill out an information card, you’re able to refuse to receive more information about the organisation.
But still. YVAN EHT NIOJ.