From Sun Tzu to Xbox

War and Videogames


Sept 17 talk in Austin TX!
See the blog for details.

About the Book

Filled with high-tech weapons, gung-ho desert soldiers, and terrorist scenarios ripped from the headlines, today's ultra-realistic video games have moved to the forefront of the militarization of popular culture. How did this once innocent pastime—now rivaling Hollywood in popularity—become so deeply enmeshed in America's entry into global warfare?

From Sun Tzu to Xbox is a definitive history of the longstanding relationship between games and military culture, from wargaming's roots in ancient civilizations, to the Cold War development of computing for battle, to a recent crop of Pentagon-funded shoot-'em-ups, big-budget commercial titles and homemade hacks.

Examining US military projects like America's Army and Full Spectrum Warrior, commercial games from Battlezone to Conflict: Desert Storm, as well as mods, artworks, and homebrewed games created as critiques and responses, From Sun Tzu to Xbox offers the first political history of the video game and a powerful argument of its role in the way Americans have come to think about war.

Advance Praise

"Ed Halter has written the definitive account of the military entertainment complex. This book is essential for anyone interested in the future of games, computers, media, culture, war—and peace."

McKenzie Wark

author of A Hacker Manifesto

"Yes, just when you thought American political culture could not get any more bizarre, Ed Halter drops the bomb. This superb book is more than just a weird riff on the limp machismo, hero worship, and couch potato patriotism of combat themed game culture. These pages are shot through with original and important ideas, each of which could easily be spun off in to whole dissertations. You must read this book."

Christian Parenti

author of The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq