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Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor: How Do Soldiers Feel About War In Video Games?

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Corporal Perry served on two front-line operations in Iraq in 2006 and 2008
Corporal Perry served on two front-line operations in Iraq in 2006 and 2008

How do soldiers feel about war in video games?

It's a controversial question - and one that has been on the agenda again recently.

But in our experience it's usually just best to ask them.

So with the upcoming release of Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor, an Xbox 360 exclusive (and the first truly hardcore Kinect game) based in a futuristic world while also featuring very authentic and brutal combat, we did exactly that...

Corporal Daniel Perry served in the British Army as part of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) between 2006 and 2011.

Corporal Perry served on two front-line operations in Iraq in 2006 and 2008, as part of Operation Telic as a crew of a Scimitar armoured reconnaissance vehicles - a light tank, to you and me.

During combat his crew's main role was to find the enemy and gather as much information as possible about their position, strengths and weaknesses.

We asked Corporal Perry about his life in the army, his role in Iraq - but first about how he feels when he sees the deadly reality of war portrayed in a video game.

What do think about the portrayal of war in video games?

I personally don’t find the perception of war in video games offensive, in fact in most barracks around the world the lads will be playing these types of games!

It is not as glamorous in real life and there are no save points or extra lives but I am sure all gamers know this!

As long as the correct age restrictions apply these games are harmless fun and certainly a lot safer than the real deal!

Did you always want to be part of a tank crew?

I originally wanted to be in the infantry and it was not until my final interview that I decided to join the 9th/12th Royal Lancers. It was not something I had really thought about as it was always my idea, since being a young lad at school, to join the infantry.

However, in my final interview the Sergeant Major who was interviewing me asked if I had ever thought about the Royal Armoured Corp. He showed me a video, which obviously was full of tanks and huge guns, and at 19 I was sold! Looking back on it now I am very glad I did watch the video and made that decision.

What are the main threats to a modern tank?

The main threats to all soldiers at present are Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). These devices vary hugely, which normally down to the capability of the individual who has put the device together. They are easily made and the more simple devices can be made from household items.

What's the main use of a tank in a modern conflict?

Currently Main Battle Tanks are being used less and less. This is mainly due to the fact that currently the conflicts we are involved in do not call for this type of large and costly weaponry. In times of war the tank is extremely important and is a devastating piece of equipment but when peacekeeping is the priority the tank does become redundant.

Where are tanks least useful?

Tanks are most vulnerable in built up areas, like cities and towns, as their size and generally slow movement makes them an easier target in a place where there is plenty of hiding places and high vantage points.

How have tanks developed as new technology has emerged?

The three key components to making a successful tank generally have always been Armour, Weaponry and manoeuvrability as lessons have been learnt during various times of conflict these three elements have been drastically improved.

Steel Battalion Heavy Armor
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What is it like inside a tank during conflict?

You and the crew that you work with are obviously confided to a small space in extremely demanding conditions but like most things in life the more you do it the more it becomes normal.

You become a tight knit team and in a good crew everyone does there bit and works together to make life easier. It is so important that at all times each member of the crew stays switched on and focused.

One slight lapse in concentration can cost someone there life, to live like this for what is normally a six month tour of duty is obviously stressful but being in the British army you have been trained to cope with these types of situations.

Is there anything about it you miss?

I certainly miss the close friends I made in the army and it’s not until you leave that you suddenly realise what your family must have felt when you where away on tour! I do miss the adrenaline and the great sense of pride I did have in being able to say I was part of the British Army, it is certainly not a decision I regret in anyway and I would certainly recommend it to anyone as a career.