Having come a long way since Duck Hunt and Tetris, video games have grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. Video games depict a wide variety of worlds and many of them try to replicate real life. Video games can make you a criminal, cop, chef, guerilla, and of course, a soldier. Some of these crazy video games can be realistic. Others can be more silly and fun. Video game makers aren’t stupid, and when they design a realistic video game, they often consult with experts in the field. Given the popularity of military video games, creators rightly consult with the men who’ve been there and done that.

So, today, we’ve gathered five of the crazy video games that veterans have had direct input on.


1) Close Combat – First to Fight

I loved this game as a kid. As someone who wanted to be a Marine, this game put me in the shoes of a fireteam leader armed with an M16A4, an Acog, and an M203 and let me fight a fictional war in Lebanon. I ordered my teammates, set suppressive fire, and dropped grenades and three-round bursts on tons of bad guys. It wasn’t a crazy video game involving fighting for nuclear weapon codes. It was just a game about a lance corporal on the ground doing his job.

Close Combat - First to Fight

Marines from 3/1, fresh out of Fallujah and Operation Phantom Fury, advised Destineer studios on the game. They helped craft a realistic experience for Xbox and PC. The creators made a game in which smart decision-making was rewarded.

I played this game to death, and when I was a Marine, my squad leader happened to be one of the many who had advised on the game’s creation.


2) Medal of Honor Warfighter

Medal of Honor Warfighter was a sequel to the Medal of Honor series’ reboot. The game took place during the early days of the Afghanistan invasion and placed you in the shoes of a special operator destined to save the world! Okay, it wasn’t a Tom Clancy game, but it did deviate into the world of spies and black operations. Input from guys like former Delta operative Larry Vickers added a level of realism.

Medal of Honor Warfighter
(Electronic Arts)

Sometimes the military consents and allows troops to advise and provide input into a video game. However, sometimes people go a little rogue, and that’s exactly what seven SEAL Team Six operators did. They advised on the creation of the game and revealed some classified equipment to the developers. This lead to punitive measures being taken against the SEALs.


3) America’s Army

America’s Army and its various sequels are an easy inclusion. These games aimed to realistically show military life and experiences. They would be a recruiting tool and, therefore, were distributed for free through various platforms. The games put the player in the virtual shoes of numerous jobs. From an infantryman to a sniper, and machine gunner to a special operative the player had many options.

America's Army Video game

When the Army makes a game, you’ll surely see the input of a wide variety of veterans to help make the game educational and realistic.

America’s Army and its numerous sequels aren’t crazy video games because of how they play; it’s just crazy that the U.S. Army made a video game in the first place.


Are Video Games Really Good for Soldiers?

Read Next: Are Video Games Really Good for Soldiers?

4) Full Spectrum Warrior

Another game from my childhood. Unlike most of the video games on this list, Full Spectrum Warrior isn’t a first-person shooter but a strategy game. It put you in the role of a squad leader commanding two teams with a total of eight men. You have to lay down suppressive fire, utilize your grenades wisely, and use cover. The game rewards smart decisions and punishes poor ones harshly.

Full Spectrum Warrior video game
(Good Old Games)

Full Spectrum Warrior was a joint project with the U.S. Army. The Army didn’t want a game to boost recruiting efforts but to be a training device. Full Spectrum Warrior allowed soldiers to practice decision-making and using proper squad tactics. Soldiers from the Army helped develop the game realistically, with proper equipment, tactics, and maneuvers being key.


5) Call of Duty Games

The Call of Duty series includes tons of games ranging from World War II shooters to futuristic affairs with soldiers wearing exoskeletons and running along walls. The series’s entries are a mixed bag and it’s hard to see where vets could have had some input, but you’d be surprised. In games like Black Ops 2, the story and setting came from the stories of Oliver North as told to game developers.

Tu Lam Call of Duty
Green Beret Tu Lam modeling using a motion capture suit for Call of Duty. (Activision)

In the game Modern Warfare (2019) and Warzone, the makers teamed up with vets like Tu Lam for motion capturing. They wanted to get the real feel of the weapons and tactics so they went to the source. Heck, they even used SEALs, Marines, and Spetznaz troops to get it just right.


Video Games and Veterans

I remember a great many times in the barracks where we would all load up the latest Battlefield game and teamed up to either win gloriously or fail miserably. The modern warfighter is also likely a gamer in his spare time, and it’s no surprise to see so many veterans and even active-duty servicemembers tasked with providing input on the latest generation of crazy video games.