I was cruising through SlashDot this evening before I nodded off to sleep, and caught this story on SlashDot Games about a new game in the vein of “America’s Army” called “Virtual Peace.

The game, from one of the demos, looks like it’s a decent first attempt, though certainly nothing close to the calibre that was America’s Army. The graphics are a bit weak, and it looks like it’s both fairly limited to only an educational setting and highly charged with an ideology.

Take a look for yourself.

It’s just the sort of geeky game I’d love to play, but it’s the sort of game that’d likely end up pissing me off before I got too far into it. The logistics of how intense international negotiations work and are carried out are certainly very interesting to me, but the economic mechanics the system is likely teaching are way off base, at least according to my own personal ideology.

Back to the SlashDot article, though, as usual, the most interesting stuff took place down in the comments area.  This particular comment from K1e0x struck a chord with me:

America’s Army was known to be a “recruiting tool” intended to show kids how “cool” being a grunt in the infantry is.

In light of current politics, there is something on the “to do” list for the major players in government, and it’s called National Service. Obama, McCain, Clinton and Bush all supported this and they have been using careful wording to sugar coat what is basically forced government conscription.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel Obama’s choice for chief of staff wrote a book called “Big Ideas for America” where he writes. (emphasis added)

It’s time for a real Patriot Act that brings out the patriot in all of us. We propose universal civilian service for every young American. Under this plan, All Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five will be *asked to serve* their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation and community service.

Here’s how it would work. Young people will know that between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service. They’ll be asked to report for three months of basic civil defense training in their state or community, where they will learn what to do in the event of biochemical, nuclear or conventional attack; how to assist others in an evacuation; how to respond when a levee breaks or we’re hit by a natural disaster. These young people will be available to address their communities’ most pressing needs. ..

Some Republicans will squeal about individual freedom..

On one hand, they say this is voluntary.. Groups like “Service Nation” that had a big rally in New York attended by McCain and Obama on, yep.. you guessed it 9/11 to exploit the date to promote their plan, they *claim* it will be a persons choice.. However if “Some Republicans will squeal about individual freedom” As Rahm says.. then he is clearly NOT planning for this to be voluntary.

I have no indication of it.. but I wonder if this game is, like America’s Army, propaganda in order to convince people that “National Slavery” is a good thing and they they should love working for their masters in government.

Knowing the political dynamics of SlashDot, one would expect a sound dissection of this sentiment, but of the half-dozen or so responses to that comment quibbled over whether public education qualified as indentured servitude or not.

I know that I’ll be accused of the reactionary status that I was constantly accused of during the election, but I think there’s a plausible connection here. Obviously, re-instating the military draft is a political third rail, but a common issue to see come up at the municipal level is whether or not community service hours should be required for graduation from public schools.

In his efforts to create hundreds of thousands, if not millions of jobs, our next President might be tempted to go down this route.  Could this game end up being a recruitment tool and PR device aimed at softening reception to the concept?