The field of 'edutainment' in the gaming industry is a growing sub-market and CultureShock: Afghanistan proves with stunning detail the extent to which video games can provide ample professional training.
Years from now, when joining a new company, your corporate training won't take place in the supply room or in front of a boring, low-budget trainee video. Instead, you'll pick up a game pad and battle your way to the coveted employee of the month accolade. The military is well-aware of this and has begun preparing Kabul-bound marines with an online game called CultureShock: Afghanistan. The simulation was developed by the Army Engineer School and puts players into the moccasins of an Afghani tribal leader, complete with the responsibilities, pressures and demands of the position. The marines negotiate social and military quagmires using an in-game encyclopedia chalk-full of important facts and details.
The hope is to rear a generation of culturally-aware, temperate soldiers; a mounting demand in a war plagued by misconceptions and xenophobia.