MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- The Marine Corps’ newest and most exciting tool in drug and alcohol prevention, a substance abuse prevention computer game called ‘First to Fight – Close Combat,’ is now more accessible than ever at the Combat Center.
The Commandant of the Marine Corps and Destineer Studios developed a video game demonstrating how substance abuse impacts not only the individual who uses illicit drugs, but also their fellow Marines, the unit, and ultimately, the mission, according to the FtF substance abuse prevention toolkit instruction manual.
Released in December 2005 the game has been distributed throughout the Marine Corps by base drug demand reduction coordinators. For Marines who haven’t had a chance to play the game, the Single Marine Program has teamed up with David Roman, Combat Center drug demand reduction coordinator, and is now available on four computers dedicated to its usage at The Zone.
“This game provides the Marines and Sailors with prevention and education just by them sitting down and playing a video game,” said Roman, a retired Marine. “There is a huge amount of information on drug and alcohol prevention. Staff NCOs [noncommissioned officers] and NCOs can use the discs for drug and alcohol presentations to educate their troops. That’s the most important thing.”
FtF is a four-disc set that contains not only the interactive game, but also a vast amount of information on drug prevention and links to websites for further education.
To help give Marines perspective of what drugs can do, the game simulates the effects of various illegal drugs and forces the Marine to continue to play the game through the eyes of a drug user.
The Single Marine Program’s Headquarters, The Zone, is a natural fit to promote FtF because they provide Marines and Sailors with a drug and alcohol free atmosphere.
“The Single Marine Program is an alcohol free program,” said Heather Fiske, SMP coordinator. “All of our events and our facilities are drug and alcohol free. We show the Marines and Sailors how to have a good time without them. We’ve had a pretty good turnout for the game. When one of the Marines sees someone playing they get interested and start playing also.”
The computers set up at the Zone allow four Marines to play either on the same fire team or individually as the leader of their own fire team.
According to Roman, FtF is more fun to learn about the dangers and effects of using drugs than most required annual training, such as safety briefs.
“We want the Marines to be able to educate themselves,” he said. “A lot of guys just wait around for the safety briefs. Those can be the most boring type of training on this subject. This game is one of the best tools we have for prevention education. They can do it on their own time and they don’t have to wait for a safety brief.”
FtF is the first of three drug and alcohol prevention computer games to be put out by Headquarters Marine Corps.
“We’re trying to teach Marines how drug use affects the mission,” said Roman. “That’s the whole point.”