Canadian Forces looking to buy 500 video games

When Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan ends, and is replaced by a training and support mission, those 950 left in Afghanistan training the Afghan Army will certainly not want for electronic amusement.

The CBC is reporting that the Department of Defence is looking to purchase 500 video games to be given to Canada’s soldiers serving in the Southeast Asian nation’s forward operating bases. Titles like Gears of War, Mortal Kombat and Call of Duty will be sent, mostly for Xbox 360. The 500 games will run about $25,000 — which, to put in military perspective, is about the cost of running a helicopter for a few hours.

From the CBC:

“It helps in keeping good morale … to bring some relief to people working long hours,” Cmdr. Hubert Genest said in an interview.

The large order, which includes some unwarlike games — such as Guitar Hero 3, The Beatles Rock Band, and Tiger Woods 2011 — was issued by public tender last week. The competition closes early next month.

Genest said the military has sent video games to Afghanistan in the past — he called it “routine” — as part of a morale and welfare program, and noted that games need to be updated every few years as they are improved.

“(Soldiers) are in location 24/7. They don’t take any leave. And so this program exists,” he said.

The cost of purchasing the games is covered by military’s rest-and-recreation allowance of about $60 a month for each soldier in Afghanistan, he said.

The competition is still open, so one lucky video game wholesaler might just hit on the mother lode.

Hey, someone call up Blockbuster — I think I know to keep them in business!