Blasting pixilated space ships can be mighty fun, as anyone who's ever played Galaga can tell you. The Air Force thinks it can put all that joystick time to good use, too -- by using games to help airmen prepare for real-life outer space combat.The service is looking for game maker to build a sim for what it calls counterspace operations -- military-speak for stopping enemy satellites.Right now, its hard to train folks to handle these kinds of missions. Wargaming in orbit is an expensive and risky proposition. And most but definitely not all -- of the coolest counterspace toys are still on the drawing board. So the Air Force wants a video game where these tasks can be trained and rehearsed in a realistic set of scenarios and simulations.Access to any classified data would be eliminated in the simulation, the Air Force says in its request for proposals (scroll down). [B]ut the training that is provided could be conceptually valid and of sufficient fidelity to support the key [counterpsace] tasks.The idea of using games to train kids for a space fight has been around for years at least since 1985s sci-fi classic, Enders Game.The U.S. armed forces have been using games to prep its troops for even longer. Back in World War II, a flight simulator in New Yorks Coney Island amusement park was turned into a training tool for military pilots. Recent years have only brought the worlds of gaming and the world of war closer, as more of combat has become a matter of pushing the right buttons; and the game have grown more realistic.Still, youve got to hope that this new sim wont be too true-to-life. Whats a space game, after all, without a tractor beams and a challenging stage?
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