If I told you a game cast you in the role of a US soldier in Iraq, would you simply assume you'd be spending your time shooting? You probably would. Which is why I like this game.

The "Tactical Language Series" have been developed by Alelo for the US military, which seeks to train soldiers "visual literacy and cultural knowledge for the geographical and linguistic areas in which they will serve". In other words, how to understand and get along with people whose country you're in, holding a gun.


It stems from most soldier's inability to understand the customs and nuances of the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, which at best can lead to stunted cooperation, and at worst can be deadly.

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The game teaches both language and customs at once by presenting a virtual battlefield, though in this one, there's no shooting. You can only interact with civilians, and have to not only communicate with them verbally, but try and understand things like facial gestures and hand movements whose meaning may differ greatly from those used in the West.


Makes you wish this program had been around in 2001, and again in 2003. Might have saved us all a lot of trouble.

How the military improved its language education [Boing Boing]