America's Army is one of those video games that many claim has crossed a certain line into a grey area that is seldom explored. The game itself is a hyper-real simulation of becoming a part of the US war arsenal. It's a sophisticated first person shooter that puts the player into supposed real world scenarios. And it's free.
The US military funds the development of this game and uses it as a recruiting tool. I've tried it out a few times in the past, it's a good game, especially at zero cost. It does tend to glorify combat as any video game does but certainly not to the degree that Call of Duty or Battlefield do. Whether you support this method of recruitment or not it seems there may be an ounce of goodness hidden in this game. Part of your training involves the option to become a medic. In these training sessions you sit in a classroom and watch slides about first aid and are later tested on the material.
Seems a real world accident put Paxton Galvanek's medic training to the test. After seeing an SUV flip over he proceeded to apply things he remembered from the game to help the accident victims by priortizing aid and controlling blood flow. Having been through several different types of first aid training myself and knowing how dry and boring it can be sometimes I can't help but wonder if there is something more to this idea of putting medical training into a format such as video games where the learner is more engaged and more apt to retain the information.
Some of my earliest knowledge about human biology came from a simulation on my Coco3 (if you happen to remember the name of this game please post it in the comments) that tasked the user with travelling through the human body in a microscopic research lab, piloting your way through arteries on your way to organs where you'd administer medical care. It's a shame we don't see more of this kind of stuff today really. In case you're wondering, no, Trauma Center: Second Opinion on the Wii doesn't cut it for this purpose. Although in the news this week was a report suggesting that playing the Wii before surgery is proving to be a good warm-up for surgeons so maybe the Wii is on to something here.
Check out the press release about this incident for more details.