Video games provide relief, therapy for soldiers in Iraq

By Kristin Kalning
Games editor

Feb 12, MSNBC

In April, Army 1st Sgt. James Rowell will ship out for his third tour in Iraq. And in his Tuff Box, along with his other necessities, he’ll pack his Xbox 360, his “Halo” games and his “Call of Duty 4,” a military shooter.

“We take our gear down range – down range means deployed — and we have a lot of fun on our off-time,” says Rowell, who lives in Olympia, Wash. “It really does help out the esprit de corps, and the morale of the enlisted personnel — and all personnel.”

Rowell recalls with relish a time that he played a superior officer in “Halo 2.”

“I beat the crap out of him so bad, that he actually threw the controller out of his hands onto the ground, and walked away and wouldn’t talk to me for two days,” he says with a chuckle. “That’s how intense it is.”

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photo: U.S. soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment, play with video games at a base in Baghdad. Games can help soldiers deployed in combat zones deal with stress, boredom and loneliness (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images)