Medal of Honor: Operation Anaconda: Playing the War in Afghanistan


  • Tanner Mirrlees


This article examines the confluence of the U.S. military and digital capitalism in Medal of Honor: Operation Anaconda (MOHOA), a U.S. war-on-Afghanistan game released for play to the world in 2010. MOHOA’s convergent support for the DOD and digital capitalism’s interests are analyzed in two contexts: industry (ownership, development and marketing) and interactive narrative/play (the game’s war simulation, story and interactive play experience). Following a brief discussion of the military-industrial-communications-entertainment complex and video games, I analyze MOHOA as digital militainment that supports digital capitalism’s profit-interests and DOD promotional goals. The first section claims MO-HOA is a digital militainment commodity forged by the DOD-digital games complex and shows how the game’s ownership, development and advertisements support a symbiotic cross-promotional relationship between Electronic Arts (EA) and the DOD. The second section analyzes how MOHOA’s single player mode simulates the “reality” of Operation Anaconda and immerses “virtual-citizen-soldiers” in an interactive story about warfare.