May 13, 2020

How are terrorists and violent extremists using gamification?

About the episode:

“You can sit at home and play Call of Duty or you can come and respond to the real Call of Duty…the choice is yours.” This was tweeted by a well-known ISIS hacker and propagandist. Gaming culture and popular video games, such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, have become exploited by terrorist and violent extremist actors for propaganda and radicalisation purposes.

Join Maygane Janin and Flora Deverell as they discuss how terrorist and violent extremists exploit gaming culture for their own ends. They are joined by Linda Schlegel, a senior editor at The Counterterrorism Group and a regular contributor for the European Eye on Radicalization, where she recently published a number of articles on the exploitation of gaming culture; and Dr. Nick Robinson, an associate professor in politics and international studies at the University of Leeds who has been researching the links between videogames, social media, militarism, and terrorism for over a decade. They address in particular the “gamification of radicalisation,” the exploitation of gaming platforms, as well as why terrorist organisations developing their own games to serve their own ideologies and purposes is less prevalent now than it used to be.


Video games are political. Here’s how they can be progressive (Brown, 2018)

6 Killer Examples Of Gamification In eLearning (Pandey, 2015)

Islamic State releases children’s mobile app ‘to teach Arabic’ (Hunt, 2016)

What is Gamification and How Can It Help My Business? (Guta, 2017)

Terrorists Use Online Games to Recruit Future Jihadis (Hsu, 2011)

Top 10 best examples of gamification in business (Wells, 2015)

The El Paso Shooting and the Gamification of Terror (Evans, 2019)

Let’s Play a Video Game: Jihadi Propaganda in the World of Electronic Entertainment (Lakomy, 2017)

‘Holy Defence’: Hezbollah issues call of duty to video gamers (Rose, 2018)

How the extreme-right gamified terror (Mackintosh, 2019)

Can You Hear Your Call of Duty? The Gamification of Radicalization and Extremist Violence (Schlegel, 2020)

Points, Rankings & Raiding the Sorcerer’s Dungeo: Top-down and Bottom-up Gamification of Radicalisation and Extremist Violence (Schlegel, 2020)

Ready Player One: How Video Games Could Facilitate Radicalization Processes (Schlegel, 2020)

Linda Schlegel (@LiSchlegel)

Dr. Nick Robinson

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