Gamers Not Great At Finding Explosives

Soldiers who grew up in the burbs playing video games instead of shooting varmints in the country, or avoiding trouble in a bad neighbourhood, are singled out by Army research as particularly poor at spotting roadside bombs.

Writes the Los Angeles Times:

Military researchers have found that two groups of personnel are particularly good at spotting anomalies: those with hunting backgrounds, who traipsed through the woods as youths looking to bag a deer or turkey; and those who grew up in tough urban neighborhoods, where it is often important to know what gang controls which block.

Personnel who fit neither category, often young men who grew up in the suburbs and developed a liking for video games, do not seem to have the depth perception and peripheral vision of the others, even if their eyesight is 20/20.

Note, this isn't explosive ordnance disposal, they're talking about riding in a humvee and picking up details that someone might have buried explosives in the road. This is important because, of bombs discovered before they went off, like 90 percent of them were found because someone's spidey-sense went off.

The story quotes a sergeant major who finds the research fits with his own observations. "The gamers are very focused on the screen rather than the whole surrounding," he said. Country boys and hood rats have a more finely-tuned radar - that head on a swivel mentality when you're potentially in a dangerous situation.

Some Troops Have a Sixth Sense for Bombs [Los Angeles Times via Game Politics]


    The bomb is always at site A or B, CS:Source taught be that.

      or ita not armed somehwere in between

      nah much easier in COD S&D the bomb is where the giant RED ARROW SAYING DEFUSE IS

      at least CSS doesnt tell you where the bombs been planted

    They should repeat this study in 5-10 years. Games have come a long way in realism and I know that I've gotten good at spotting an AT mine in the shade while dodging rockets whizzing along in a jeep in BF2.

    Other than that, it just says that hunters and hoodlums are better than most. What about basketball player or surfers? Gamers were just an example.

    Makes sense that the people who would be best at spotting something wrong would be the lads who've grown up honing that particular skillset.

    Do they mean ACTUAL gamers or is this just a sweeping generalisation that middle-class kids in their suburbs do nothing but 'play the x-box'?

    Either way, I can't imagine finding roarside bombs that hard, what with the flashing navpoints above them and everything.

      Hahaha! seriously though, i think they've just come to the conclusion that gamers didn't grow up in life/death situations. That's what this article suggests. They are pretty much saying that only the people who were raised to fend for themselves with an "every man for himself" mentality will be much more alert of deadly situations rather than people like us gamers who are too used to "starting over again".
      How many people have you seen in a game just run into a fight gun's a-blazing with absolutely no worry of personal safety? They are too used to this attitude, and that's what the army is worried about in my opinion

    Errr you do realise it takes a lifetime of experience to become a bomb expert.

    Yeah, but gamers are still their first choice for killing villagers by radio controlled UAV's. Some even use adapted Xbox 360 controllers...

    "Yo DAWG I seen a bomb on da road yo!"
    "Oh thanks man, I have no peripherals past the size of my television because I play games instead of looking out for people carrying drugs and weapons"

    What? Bombs on the field dont have spining arrows or pulsating lights on top of them? Go figure.

    Perhaps those going "videogames are training our kids to kill!" should pay attention. Oh, wait, they never will.

      The bombs in real life are also not giant garish red-painted oil drums with the words 'explosive' written on them while being situated exactly where the enemy has announced their presence.

        Everybody knows that all explosive barrels must be red. Its an universal law. I refuse to believe otherwise

    Uh... yeah. I don't see where games should come into this at all, unless the army was -expecting- that gaming would increase that type of situational awareness.

    Unless they're just now realising you can't use games to train every aspect of soldiering, which seems unlikely, this is kind of a non-story.

    Slow outrage week?

    who the fuck makes a habit of spotting roadside explosives in the first place, jesus christ cakes

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