When it comes to first-person shooters and strategy games you’re a force to be reckoned with. You’ve laid waste to the enemy fire team and now you’re on a run back to your base, when suddenly you’re dead.

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Photo by Pfc. Adrian Muehe

Today, some of the most popular video games involve military-inspired imagery and gameplay. The juggernaut first person-shooter series Call of Duty has sold almost 200 million copies as of July 2014. A look at the game database of Giant Bomb reveals nearly 1,000 titles with a “modern military” setting. But the relationship between the commercial games industry and the American military establishment goes deeper than simple inspiration.

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