5 Video Game Debacles That Involved The Actual Military

Sometimes games get real, as in military-involved real.
5 Video Game Debacles That Involved The Actual Military

When glitches and hackers ruin people's video games, the rest of us sit back and laugh. It's fun because those are hellscape scenarios no one will ever have to deal with in real life … right? Well, sometimes thing gets real, as in military-involved real, and why not just laugh at the thought that the army might one day blow up the planet over video game mishaps?

Leaking Military Secrets To Win Arguments Online

Look, you might believe you've at some point had to deal with the biggest jackass in the world and, well, you might have, but chances are you haven't had to deal with something even worse – the same person but on the Internet. 

What best contender to the title of the biggest douche ever than War Thunder player __RED_CROSS__, a guy who got so annoyed at someone else's incorrect guess in the common knowledge field of "exact tank turret rotation speeds" that he leaked classified military documents just to prove him wrong. Yeah, he did it not blow the whistle in a way that would prevent the deaths of innocents, but so as to assert dominance over someone whose forum avatar is probably an anime girl. 

Best of all, this isn't even the first time a War Thunder player did this. Back in July of 2021, a user who claimed to be a real-life tank commander said that the game's supposedly realistic Challenger 2 model was actually way off the mark – then went on to casually post confidential pictures to prove it.

Gaijin Entertainment

Which part looks wrong, exactly?

Interestingly, said pictures had a stamp claiming the images were "Unclassified," which allowed for them to stay on the forums for a little bit, at least until the game's devs inquired with the goddamn British, army which assured them that they were still pretty damn classified, actually.

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Call Of Duty Pulls A Switcheroo On War Crimes

We've been worried about the Call Of Duty franchise ever since it forced players to go on a mass quickscope spree on Modern Warfare 2's campaign. Sadly, the Modern Warfare reboot from 2019 lends even more credence to our conspiracy theory on how maybe these military shooters are spreading a bit of a messed-up message. Despite taking place in an alternate universe depicting a conflict in a carefully made-up country, Modern Warfare doesn't pull any punches when talking about the highway of death massacre. 

Good, because this is something real that needs to be talked about. It took place in '91 when a large number of Iraqi soldiers were attacked when retreating in an attempt to leave Kuwait. The death toll was somewhere between 200 and over 1000.

A messed-up move that the evil Russians totally did and that the Americans heroically tried to prevent ... in the game that is. In real life, however, regardless of whether your doctorate in MLG studies considers that the actions of that day amount to a war crime or not, it was all perpetrated by US forces and US-friendly forces.

And sure, the game takes place in a "fictional" universe, meaning that a series as popular as COD could get away even with depicting Q as the hero who invaded Normandy to save Europe from the French, but MW employed testimonials made by real US military folk to help shake the set pieces, so no, this is all just super messed-up.

That Time The US Navy Got Hacked … To Stream Age Of Empires

Remember that Matthew Broderick movie about a video game that threatened to nuke the entire world? Well, sorry to disappoint you, but this has nothing to do with that. Back in October of 2021, The US Navy told Task And Purpose, a military news website probably named by a Call Of Duty fan, that the Facebook page for the USS Kidd, an important ship in the US Navy, had been hacked. 

Now that's just a Facebook page getting hacked, which isn't much – to you. But try imagining how pant-poopingly scary it might have been for a lot of dads out there to find out any indication that one battleship had gone rogue.


CCTV footage from the inside of the USS Kidd (as your dad sees it)

The vile hackers started out in an ominously cocky manner by streaming Age Of Empires under the caption "hahahaha" as if they'd already achieved a flawless victory.

This is what Tom Clancy warned us about.

They then went on to change the caption to many variations of "hi guys," like an alien lifeform would – right before hitting humankind with a devastating "GG EZ."

Then it just got weird.

We later found out it wasn't a real hack, but just a case of the social media manager not logging out of the Navy's Facebook page after going home. Even worse, the Navy was aware of this all along; they just like to address every single misuse of a web page as a "hacking incident." We foresee no problems stemming from that in the future.

Right-Wingers Try To Convince People Saddam Hussein Will Conquer The World With PS2s Of Mass Destruction

Remember that time the US invaded Iraq to take its many weapons of mass destruction? Well, you probably do, since that's the event that got the ball running on the hellscape we live in totally saving the world. What you might not know, however, is all the other ultra dangerous stuff that Saddam didn't have either, like PS2-powered nukes and PS2-guided drones.

The PS2 was certainly a fantastic machine full of amazing features, the most amazing of all being its marketing, which led everyone to believe Sony had just invented the most incredible piece of tech ever. Like, imagine a wheel, but rounder.

Right-wing blog WorldNetDaily started making up BS regarding the console's supposed capabilities, in an attempt to provide the US government with the perfect excuse to claim they were worried that Saddam Hussein, a supposed avid gamer who'd supposedly just bought 4,000 PS2 units, would use their very advanced chips in order to fly unmanned nukes.

Evan-Amos/Wiki Commons

Why, when you could just throw it at your enemy's face

Luckily, it was all a pile of garbage that got nowhere. Or maybe Hussein was stopped in his tracks by the hilarious lack of stock everyone had to deal with during the PS2 launch. While that might have sucked at the time, the debacle certainly saved the dictator from a terrible fate.

Various Channels From India "Mistaking" Arma 3 Footage For Real War Footage

We've covered instances of individual channels -- and even individual politicians – mistaking video game footage for actual footage. These are always a bit suspicious because while people really do fall for these things, it's usually footage from war games that gets mistaken for the real thing, which could very well be the result of biased TV stations just playing dumb to further their political goals.

And yet, we'd never seen a bunch of TV stations joining forces for the beautiful goal that is the shameless spreading of misinformation - up until now. In September of 2021, four TV stations in India showed the exact same videos offering "concrete proof" that the Pakistani air force was striking the Valley of Panjshir in India.

Too bad those videos were actually just footage from Arma 3, a realistic but not that realistic war game.

And even though this was the most well-coordinated instance of deliberate misinformation, it's far from having been the first case in India.

Good thing this isn't happening in the US yet – though that might be because Fox News is still stuck trying to understand the message of BioShock.

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Top image: Activision Blizzard

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