The U.S. Army wants you. Or your older brother. On its recruiting site, the Army has created a realistic shoot-'em-up game to get you to think about joining the Army.
Since it went online July 4, nearly 800,000 visitors have logged 6 million hours of play, according to the game's creator, Col. Casey Wardynski, director of the Army's Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis.
They created the game, he says, because recruiting was so expensive. "We're hoping with game technology we can get the cost way down." All they need to do is get 200 people to join in the first 12 months -- and they think they will meet that goal.
But the Army is also planting seeds for the future. "Some of the kids who play it are four years away from joining," he says. "They are 15, 16, 17. We want to put the Army in the set of things they are thinking about."
Aaron Stahl, 16, a junior at Bethesda's Walt Whitman High School, is the perfect candidate for the Americas Army game. He found out about it on another Web site and plays one to three hours every day.
"I was amazed by how good it is," Stahl says. "But I'm not really going to fall for it. I'm not any more interested in joining the Army than I was before I played it. They try to get you to think the Army is cool. They try to get you to think you go on missions and blow up terrorists. That's far from reality."
But he is still playing.