File this under the stuff-I-wish-I-found-in-time-to-put-in-my-book department.
Dave Grossman notoriously claimed that the Army used Nintendos to train soldiers in the early 90s, but somehow I was never able to find out his source for this claim. Here's a quote from Grossman's post-Columbine article "Trained to Kill" (PDF), first published in Christianity Today in 1998 and subsequently republished many times:
Is media violence really so harmful? Are these video games really dangerous? Could they really be partially responsible for these tragic crimes? The U.S. Marine Corps has licensed the game “Doom” to train and prepare their Marines for combat. The U.S. Army has taken the basic “Super Nintendo,” replaced the plastic pistol with a plastic M-16 and modified the software a little. They call it the MACS: Multipurpose Arcade Combat Simulators. When the military uses these “games,” they are combat simulators. When kids use them, they are murder simulators. We have flight simulators that can teach you to fly without ever touching a real aircraft, and we have murder simulators, whose major social characteristic is to teach kids to commit murder.
And more on this from Grossman's recent book On Combat:
Violent media games are murder simulators, except when police officers and soldiers use them for training, in which case they are combat simulators. Remember that old point-and-shoot Nintendo video game called Duck Hunt? It was such a good marksmanship trainer that the United States Army bought several thousand of them. They replaced the plastic pistol with a plastic M-16, and instead of ducks popping up on the screen, the Army changed them to man-shaped silhouettes. The game was renamed the Multipurpose Arcade Combat Simulator (MACS). Of course, the troops were not fooled by the name; they just called it “the Nintendo game” since it has a big Nintendo stamp on it. By whatever name, it was a powerful and effective combat simulator for our men and women preparing for battle.
(It is interesting to note here something that when I testified before committee hearings held by both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives after the Columbine school massacre. When I said that a modified version of the “Duck Hunt” game was used by the U.S. Army, the lobbyist representing the Nintendo Corporation stood up and said that Nintendo has never sold anything to the U.S. military. No, they sold these games to a subcontractor, who then sold them to the Army.)
This led author John Naisbitt to coin the term "Military-Nintendo Complex" to describe the collusion between the videogame and defense industries. I can't remember the source, but during my research I remember some other writer claiming Grossman's claim about "Duck Hunt" was hooey, and I think that led me to drop further research in that direction. Perhaps the above quote was a direct response to that claim.*
GameSetWatch recently featured the very MACS system Grossman decried: apparently, parts of it were on sale on eBay! According to GameSetWatch, the auctioneer (no longer available) wrote:
The front of the cart has a sticker that says "MACS Multipurpose Arcade Combat Simulator version 1.1e copyright 1993 Sculptured Software, Inc. .. These were [produced for the Super Nintendo] for use in training the United States Military Shooting Specialist and to improve their accuracy rate.
There's more info at Gamers Graveyard too.
*(If anyone knows who claimed that Grossman's military-Nintendo link wasn't true, please post a comment! My memory of it is that the dispute may have been about whether Nintendo themselves produced the units, which appears not to be the case. Somehow I vaguely recall a scenario in which Grossman reported that he saw "Nintendo" on the boxes, and then allegedly couldn't back up his claim in some public forum, which may have been the congressional hearing he describes...)