From chess to Halo, games about war are as old as war itself. Paste examines the history, benefits, costs and ramifications of the massively popular world of virtual war.
In Capcom’s 1985 coin-op smash, Commando, you fire white pellets at endless streams of generic enemies. When hit, they simply vanish, leaving no trace on the stylized tropical environments behind them. In real war, the cost of a human life is inestimable. But in Commando, life’s value is both measurable and dirt cheap: dropping a quarter in the glowing slot bought you three lives. That’s a little more than eight cents per.