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OTTAWA Canadian soldiers stuck in lonely outposts in Afghanistan are the lucky recipients of a big stash of video games ordered just months before the military pulls out.
An estimated 500 to 600 soldiers are stationed at Ma'sum Ghar and Sperwan Ghar, Canada's main bases outside Kandahar, which works out to a video game for almost every gamer in uniform.
"It helps in keeping good morale . to bring some relief to people working long hours," Cmdr. Hubert Genest said in an interview.
Genest was not able to provide a dollar Nike Windrunner Black And Gold value, but at an estimated $50 a title, the order could be worth as much as $25,000. forces and NATO over the coming months, including the forward operating bases. Canadian military officials declined to provide details about the handover, or about the precise numbers of Canadian soldiers deployed at the forward bases, citing operational security.
The Americans have dominated military operations in the Kandahar region as Canada works out logistics for its coming departure from the country. It's unclear how much hard fighting the Canadian Forces face in the months ahead and whether there will be down time to fill with video games.
Defence officials confirm that 500 copies of games such as "Gears of War," "Call of Duty," "Mortal Kombat," and "Assassins Creed" are destined for Canada's forward operating bases in the war ravaged country.
Genest added that even after the July 1 pullout, Canada is keeping some 950 soldiers in Afghanistan as military trainers, and they will have access to the existing stash of video games.
500 video games headed for lonely Afghan outposts
Also popular are two versions of "Call of Duty," with 82 copies on order. Many of the "Call of Duty" games are set in the Second World War and involve first person or third person shooters.
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 popular "Rock Band" game, in which players mimic famous musicians singing and playing their songs on different instruments including two copies of the version featuring music by the peace loving Beatles.
Although the tender asks for games for several game playing consoles, the vast majority are for the Xbox 360, a popular game system first introduced by Microsoft in 2005.
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.
"(Soldiers) are in location 24/7. They don't take any leave. And so this program exists," he said.
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.
in 2006, is the most popular title at National Defence, with 93 copies on order.
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The detailed list of requirements in the public tender shows that "Gears of War," a third person shooter game first released Nike Jacket White
Hero 3: Legends of Rock," with 36 copies on order.
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