Itís not uncommon or entirely unreasonable for folks to be reprimanded or even fired for playing video games at work.
I donít know how people can get away with that kind of thing, in any case, as I tend to lose complete track of time and decorum (read: I swear out loud a lot) when I immerse myself in a digital gaming experience. Iím reasonably sure my boss would immediately be able to tell the difference between me laying out newspaper pages and blasting aliens or zombies into oblivion.
ďIs this the right font for the letters page?Ē vs. ďDIEÖ you %$#@&*&^ evil alien and/or zombie $%#@!&&^%$$#@s!!!!Ē
But, recently seven United States Navy Seals (thatís the elite fighting military men, not the sea critters who balance balls for fish heads) were reprimanded not for playing games at work, but rather for bringing their work to a video game.
It seems that ó all in the name of bringing the most modern and realistic battle experience to 14- and 40-year-old digital couch soldiers gleefully clutching game controllers in carpal-tunnel-syndrome-stricken hands everywhere ó they gave up classified information about their tradecraft, gear and strategies.
The seven members of Seal Team 6, what is considered the most elite squad of an elite corps (one of the guys was even on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden last year), were found to have worked as paid consultants for two days with the video game company Electronic Arts (EA), according to various news sources.
The problem is, they never got clearance or authorization to share their secrets, stories and strategies with anyone.
Apparently, all were given a letter of reprimand and docked two monthsí pay ó which, according to one report, will essentially end their military careers.
Being a former military person myself, I do understand the need for secrecy, and to punish those who reveal classified information.
However, the game ó Medal of Honor: Warfighter ó supposedly doesnít even cover the bin Laden raid, and EA was also using retired Seals and commandos in addition to the active-duty soldiers in the process of designing the game to make it as realistic as possible.
Chances are those Seal Team 6 guys didnít reveal much that wasnít already known, and were only being used for their newfound celebrity since the bin Laden assassination.
It also didnít help that another recently retired member of the team had penned a tell-all book about the bin Laden raid, stirring up controversy and public scrutiny for a military unit that usually likes to keep out of the public eye.
So, seven soldiers who likely put their lives on the line for years get their career carpets pulled out from under them for two days of work on a video game.
Thatís a little weird, because the U.S. military has a game it put on the market called Americaís Army, which is a free, first-person squad shooter game (read: war game) used for recruitment thatís pretty darn realistic. They even marketed it that way ó as a realistic depiction of Americaís army.
Four other Seals who have moved from the squad but are still on active duty are also under investigation.
Itís a tough break for fighting men who really should have known better, but likely knew the risks and consequences.
For my part, I thank them for that sacrifice, and ó along with other couch-potato warriors with arthritic-like gaming claws for hands ó know what realistic first-person war shooter Iím going to be asking for Christmas.