Panorama, Phantasmagoria, and Subjective Vision in War Cinema

  • John Trafton


In 2008, the US military implemented a therapeutic virtual reality video game, developed at the University of Southern California, called Virtual Iraq, a simulation program used to treat Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans suffering from PTSD, a condition documented in nearly 20 percent of returning veterans at the time of the study.1 The program was modeled on the landscapes and gameplay of popular war video games, such as America’s Army and the Call of Duty series, but rather than presenting a subjective panoramic vision of the battlefield, a feature that made these games popular, Virtual Iraq provides the player with optical illusions and a series of randomly generated images and scenarios that are tailored to the specific case history of the patient. The participant dons 3D glasses and headphones and is transported to Iraq by the therapist to confront specific elements of the Iraq War experience in order to master his or her traumatic experience.


Terror Film Optical Illusion Subjective Vision Visual Style Panoramic Vision 
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  1. 9.
    Martin Barker, A “Toxic Genre”: The Iraq War Films (London: Pluto Press, 2011).Google Scholar

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© The Author 2016

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  • John Trafton

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