Let's get quizical
You know you're in the midst of a next-gen transition when the words 'photorealistic', 'lifelike' and 'blissful, shuddering eyegasm' start to reoccur. Players swore it to be true twenty years ago and yep, they're still spewing that same old guff today. The thing is that it really is very easy to be taken in by an authentic looking title. Take Blighty's most gaffe-prone broadcaster for example. The BBC once used a piece of Halo artwork in place of an official UN logo. Why? Was it incompetence on their part? Perhaps, but I for one like to imagine that someone at the beeb really really wanted to believe that the United Nations fields a fleet of high tech space cruisers.
Confusing real life with video games is nothing new, but as many sensational news reports will no doubt try to convince you, not knowing where gaming ends and real life begins can result in some rather dire consequences. It's with this grim situation in mind that I present a quick quiz aimed at calculating your gaming gullibility. So, is it a real world organisation, or a video game imitation? Begin!
The United Nations Space Command (UNSC)
What is it? The United Nation's military, scientific and exploratory arm.
Motto: 'Si vis pacem, para bellum' (If you desire peace, prepare for war)
Commanded by: Fleet Admiral Lord Terrence Hood
Base(s) of operation: Fort York, Fort Dean, The Crow's Nest (Kenya)
Sub-branches: The UNSC Defence Force (UNSCDF), comprising Army, Navy, Air Force, & Marine Corp units. Further departments include the United Ground Command (UNICOM), Personnel Command (PERSCOM) & Fleet Command (FLEETCOM)
Notable members: Captain Jacob Keyes, Sergeant Major Avery J. Johnson
Misc: The UNSC maintains its own 100-seat symphony orchestra.
The 1st & 2nd Corps of Colonial Marines
What is it? A battalion raised to combat colonial aggressions, made up of 'friendly' colonials.
Commanded by: Rear Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane
Base(s) of operation: Guadeloupe (Caribbean Islands)
Notable members: Rear Admiral George Cockburn, Acting Commander Garson
Misc: The Corps began life as a humble Company-sized outfit, before later being raised to Battalion strength.
AEGIS Defence Services
What is it? A Private Military Company (PMC) currently in the employ of the United States military.
Motto: 'Delivering the best in class services to customers based on integrity, reputation and compliance'
Commanded by: Nicholas Soames
Base(s) of operation: London, England
Sub-branches: The Aegis Foundation
Notable members: Sir Timothy Simon Spicer
Misc: Aegis maintains a charitable foundation, providing relief to communities within its current area of operations.
Militaires Sans Frontires (MSF)
What is it? A private military organisation, founded by ex-US servicemen.
Motto: 'The choice is between loyalty to one's country, or loyalty to oneself'
Commanded by: 'John' (surname unknown)
Base(s) of operation: Offshore drilling platform, Caribbean Sea
Sub-branches: On-site R&D, expeditionary force
Notable members: Kazuhira Miller, Adamska Ocelot
Misc: The group's French name is a pun on the humanitarian group 'Medecins Sans Frontiers' (also MSF).
What is it? The global leader in aerospace, defence and military research.
Motto: 'Innovation With Purpose'
Managed by: Marillyn A. Hewson
Base(s) of operation: Bethesda, Maryland
Sub-branches: Space Alliance, Desktop Solutions, Engine Investments, Integrated Technology etc.
Notable members: Bruce L. Tanner, Robert J. Stevens
Misc: The company was rebranded as recently as 1995, following the merger of Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta Co.
The Carrington Institute
What is it?An offshoot of Secure Development International (SDI), The Carrington Institute specialises in cutting edge tech, as well as weapons R&D.
Managed by: Daniel Carrington
Base(s) of operation: London, Milan, Moscow, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Barcelona, Vancouver
Sub-branches: see 'Base(s) of operation'
Notable members: Jonathan Steinberg, Stanley Grimshaw, Calvin Rogers
Misc: The company is best known for its development of 'null-g' technology
'The Citadel' Military College
What is it? An educational and military training facility founded over 150 years ago.
Motto: 'Dare to Lead'
Governed by: Bob Hartmann McNamara
Base(s) of operation: Charleston, South Carolina
Sub-branches: Various subject-specific departments
Notable members: Senator Ernest Hollings, Pay Conroy
Misc: The Citadel College is unique in that only two thirds of its student body is made up of military cadets, with the rest being comprised of civilians, veterans and active duty members of the armed forces.
The Jon Grissom Academy
What is it? A leading private school, catered towards virtuoso maths, science and liberal arts pupils, as well as other 'gifted' students.
Governed by: Various professors
Base(s) of operation: Vetus region
Sub-branches: Various subject-specific departments
Notable members: David Archer, Jason Prangley,
Misc: The Academy is named for pioneering explorer and famed recluse Admiral Jon Grissom.
The United Nations Anti-terrorist Coalition (UNATCO)
What is it? International counterterrorist agency
Motto: 'Nihil aliud scit necessitas quam vincere' ('Necessity knows nothing else but victory')
Commanded by: Director Walton Simons
Base(s) of operation: Liberty Island, NY
Notable members: Former Director Joseph Manderley, Paul Denton, Anna Navarre
Misc: UNATCO has been criticised in the press for its heavy-handed 'policing' methods.
The International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL)
What is it? A non-governmental agency specialising in intra-police force cooperation worldwide.
Commanded by: Mireille Ballestrazzi
Base(s) of operation: Lyon, France
Sub-branches: Hundreds of local-level bureaus operating in individual nations
Notable members: Ronald Noble
Misc: The German Nazi Party seized control of the organisation for the duration of World War 2.
The Fraternal Order of the Raven
What is it? A secret society of white racial supremacists. Members are known to wear black and indigo robes and support the reintroduction of segregationist policies.
Motto: 'Audemus Patria Nostra Defendere' ('We Dare to Defend Our Homeland')
Governed by: 'Zealots of the Lady', a high-ranking sect of leaders
Base(s) of operation: The Comstock Center, Monument Island
Notable members: Member identities unknown
Misc: Select members bear a coffin on their backs as penance for the Order's failure to safeguard its original patron.
The Skull & Bones Society
What is it? A secret society of scholars operating out of Yale University, Connecticut. Members are assigned a permanent nickname name for use within the club.
Motto: [supposedly] 'Ob Arm, Ob Beich, im Tode gleich' ('Whether rich or poor, equal in death').
Governed by: A Senior 'Bonesman'
Base(s) of operation: 'The Tomb' aka Skull & Bones Hall, New Haven
Notable members: Current members unknown, former-members include many powerful political figures and captains of industry.
Misc: The club is referred to as 'bones' by its members.
The Black Eagles
What is it? A series of right-wing paramilitary drug gangs.
Commanded by: Victor Sierra
Base(s) of operation: Colombia
Sub-branches: 'Banda Santander', 'Mano Negra' etc.
Notable members: Unknown
Misc: The Black Eagles represent Colombia's third generation of paramilitary groups.
What is it? A powerful criminal/ paramilitary organisation.
Commanded by: Master Bison
Base(s) of operation: Thailand, Brazil
Sub-branches: 'S.I.N' Weapons Division
Notable members: 'Victor' Sagat, Cammy White
Misc: Shadaloo finances experimental weapons research.
What is it? A now-defunct division of the NSA specialising in 'information warfare' and top-secret black ops. The unit was brought low by allegations of corruption under former director Colonel Thomas Reed, and has since been shut down.
Motto: 'Let Vigilance Be Our Sword'
Commanded by: Director Thomas Jeffrey Reed
Base(s) of operation: Fort Meade--Maryland, Washington D.C
Sub-branches: Field operatives, support team
Notable members: Former director Irving Lambert, Anna Grmsdttir
Misc: The exact date of Third Echelon's formation remains unknown.
Special Activities Division (SAD)
What is it? A CIA subdivision responsible for covert operations and in-the-field intel gathering. SAD is divided into two further subdivisions, 'SOG' a paramilitary group responsible for the 'wet work' and 'PAG' a more hand's-off team specialising in political manoeuvring, cyber warfare and propaganda.
Motto: ' The Work of a Nation. The Center of Intelligence' [CIA motto]
Commanded by: Unknown
Base(s) of operation: Langley Virginia
Sub-branches: Special Operations Group (SOG), Political Action Group (PAG)
Notable members: Kermit Roovsevelt Jnr, Virginia Hall, David Atlee Philips
Misc: The group is largely responsible for the Fulton Recovery System and HALO parachute jump systems.
The Scripps Research Institute
What is it? A non-profit research group focusing on the biosciences.
Led by: James C. Paulsen
Base(s) of operation: La Jolla--California, Jupiter--Florida
Sub-branches: Metabolism & Aging, Infectious Diseases, Chemistry, Neuroscience etc.
Notable members: Roy Smith, Ronald L. Davis, Dale Boger
Misc: The institute has made numerous scientific breakthroughs pertaining to cancer research, as well as the study of deafness, blindness and obesity.
Aperture Science Inc.
What is it? A prominent tech corporation specialising in cutting-edge scientific research.
Motto: 'A Clear Picture of the Future'
Led by: Unknown
Base(s) of operation: Upper Michigan, Cleveland--Ohio
Notable members: Former CEO Cave Johnson
Misc: Aperture evolved from a humble household 'fixtures and fittings' company contracted to the US armed forces.
What is it? A religious cult that prophesized the imminent destruction of Earth, Adherents believed that only the purest of humans would be allowed to escape (to reach the 'Next Level') by way of an alien spacecraft.
Led by: Marshall Applewhite
Base(s) of operation: San Diego, California
Notable members: Bonnie Nettles
Misc: It is claimed the group purchased 'Alien Abduction Insurance' prior to committing mass suicide.
The Church of Unitology
What is it? A religious order that preaches the belief in life after death. Adherents worship a 'great marker', a holy relic that believers claim will free all of humanity from its own self-destructive tendencies.
Motto: 'Altman be Praised'
Led by: Unknown, possibly 'Enigma Lange'.
Base(s) of operation: Various
Notable members: Michael Altman, Challus Mercer
Misc: Unitologists do not permit the burning or burying of the dead. Deceased believers are instead placed into a form of cryogenic stasis, with their preserved cadavers thereby readied for the great convergence (an doomsday-like event).
And here are the answers...
Highlight the text below for all the answers.
1. UNSC - Fake (Halo)
2. Colonial Marines - Real
3. Aegis - Real
4. MSF - Fake (Metal Gear Solid)
5. Lockheed Martin - Real
6. The Carrington Institute - Fake (Perfect Dark)
7. Citadel Military College - Real
8. Grissom Academy - Fake (Mass Effect)
9. UNATCO - Fake (Deus Ex)
10. Interpol - Real
11. Fraternal Order of the Raven - Fake (Bioshock: Infinite)
12. Skull & Bones - Real
13. Black Eagles - Real
14. Shadaloo - Fake (Street Fighter)
15. Third Echelon - Fake (Splinter Cell)
16. Special Activities Division - Real
17. The Scripps Institute - Real
18. Aperture Science - Fake (Portal)
19. Heaven's Gate - Real
20. The Church of Unitology - Fake (Dead Space)
The results are in...
Less than 5 correct: Yikes. Looks like you were taken in pretty easily there chump. Have no fear, simply send all of your available cash to my offshore account and I'll err teach you how to get better at sniffing out phonies.
Between 5 & 10 correct: That's alright, I forgive you, but can you forgive yourself? Always remember, strippers dressed up as policemen have no actual jurisdiction.
Between 10 & 15 correct: Not bad, not bad at all. You're the type of stoic intellectual who just doesn't fall for the old 'tap the wrong shoulder' routine, and for that I commend you.
More than 15 correct: Congratulations, you're gaming's least gullible player! Make use of this newfound power by tricking your fellow gamers into jumping off virtual cliffs and/or playing catch with live hand grenades.