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Fri, Nov 12, 2004

Let The Games Begin!

Critical Mass Completes "USAF: Air Dominance" Military Action Flight Simulator

Game Developer Critical Mass Interactive (CMI) has recently completed work on "USAF: Air Dominance," a government-funded promotional game intended to raise awareness and perpetuate the high-tech image of the Air Force. CMI, which has been a part of major releases like the 2003 "Favorite Video Game" Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner "SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman" for PlayStation(R)2 and GameCube, completed the project in three short months and is eagerly anticipating additional upgrades to the project.

"Based on the success of other `serious' games, `America's Army' in particular, we are really excited to see how the public will react to our incarnation," said CMI VP of Development Billy Cain. "From the very beginning, it was our intent to both create a compelling experience while maintaining the educational value of the product."

In "USAF: Air Dominance," the player must complete three specific missions: saving a pilot from an allied nation, delivering supplies inside hostile territory, and completing a covert surveillance raid. Each mission is meant to provide the player with a varied perspective of many of the different responsibilities associated with the United States Air Force.

The USAF is called upon to resolve matters and disputes in foreign nations. "One of the goals of the project for us was to help break certain stereotypes associated with the US military," explained CMI's project Producer Tom Ashley. "In one mission in particular, the player is called upon to deliver supplies to innocent bystanders caught in between a civil war. The player has no weaponry available to use, and must rely on evasive maneuvers to deliver the supplies intact."

A new gaming genre, called "serious games," has recently emerged and is becoming more important for entities that present games as learning experiences rather than just for entertainment purposes. Recently, Critical Mass Interactive attended the inaugural "Serious Games Summit" held on October 18-19 in Washington D.C. "It was incredible to see the number of people interested in learning how to turn games into teaching tools," says Cain. "The show completely sold out and was by all accounts a huge success. We are proud to be on the forefront of this new genre."

"USAF: Air Dominance" follows in the footsteps of another incredibly successful military serious game, "America's Army." "America's Army" was released to the general public in August 2002, focusing on the details and specifics of being in the Army. Since the release of "America's Army," there are over four million registered players across the world, and thousands of individuals have flocked to recruitment centers in order to join the service. "While no one has yet quantified how many individuals have joined the Army because of `America's Army,' it is hard to ignore the fact that recruitment is on the rise since the release of the game," added Cain.

"USAF: Air Dominance" is scheduled to go on tour across the nation this winter.

FMI: www.criticalmassinteractive.com

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