War with Iraq Inspires New Toys
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August 2003 | Vol. II - No. 8

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War with Iraq Inspires New Toys

G.I. Joe Strike Vehicles

MP Jennifer

Stanley—Sniper Baghdad

26th MEU

Hasbro's Supersoaker

Kuma War
Heavy television coverage of the war with Iraq gave the world a front row position for the parade of impressive U.S. and British weaponry, and toy manufacturers paid particular attention.

Already, Hasbro has released its G.I. Joe New Alpha Tactical Advisor, Patrol Jeeps and Strike Vehicles in a salute to our victorious forces. Dragon Models Ltd, a Hong Kong-based company, has seven Operation Iraqi Freedom Figures, including a female MP Jennifer, USAF F-16 Pilot, Stanley—Sniper Baghdad and even National Guard Homeland Security Amy. Blue Box Toys has its 26th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) 2nd Force Recon Figure, as well as Tank Traps, Humvees and Barbed Wire for creating dioramas.

Many would be surprised to learn that the exchange of ideas is not a one-way street. The U.S. military also keeps an eye on new toy releases as a means of generating ideas for new weapons prototypes. The army based its quick-loading assault weapons on Hasbro's Supersoaker design. Other inspirations include: reconnaisance drones (R/C planes), walkie talkies with video capability (cheap cell phones for kids) and unmanned robotic vehicles (video game controllers).

Since today’s soldiers grew-up playing video games, the line between play and modern warfare is getting thinner by the year. America’s Army: Operations was created by none other than the U.S. Department of Defense to tutor players on the proper use of the M-16A2 rifle, as well as how to qualify for training missions.

Kuma Reality Games will introduce its Kuma War computer game next February, after securing an agreement with the US Department of Defense. The game will allow players to live out recreated missions—including the raid that killed Saddam Hussein's two sons, Uday and Qusay—featuring the same munitions used in the real attack. Each mission will be introduced with actual TV footage by a CNN or FOX news-style anchor.

"We have crash teams here, just like TV news, and we have the technology tools that allow us to recreate occurrences in vivid, accurate detail,” said Keith Halper, Kuma Reality Games' chief executive in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.

Whether that’s something to brag about remains to be seen.



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