It’s no videogame: news commentary and the second gulf war


This study analyzes U.S. news media coverage of the second Gulf War, to determine how individuals used the term ‘videogame’ in reference to the war. By studying how the news media itself sought to praise or criticize coverage of the war as being un/like videogames, we can see how videogames continue to be constructed in popular media in troublesome ways. Analysis, for example, shows that use of the term “videogame” points to coverage that (1) focuses on sophisticated technologies, (2) is devoid of human suffering, and/or (3) seems somehow fake or non-serious. Use of the term is largely pejorative and dismissive, reflecting (and reinforcing) popular views of videogames as lacking context and seriousness. Finally, the study examines the military’s own history of game-related activities, and how that context creates striking paradoxes in such usages.