Episode 24: Getting Punched by Interesting People in This War of Mine
The game is more than two years old and based on an event from the 90s, but This War of Mine still feels fresh and relevant.
This War of Mine drops you in the middle of a city under siege. But you’re not a well-equipped well-trained super-soldier packing the latest gadgets.
You’re a civilian, just trying to make it to the next morning. This is more Survivalist Sims than Call of Duty.
Developers 11 Bit Studios set out to re-create the experience of the ’92-’96 siege of Sarajevo, but it’s just as applicable to today’s Syrian civil war.
Resources are scarce and violence is sudden and swift. You can steal from or murder others to get by, but that decision has significant mental consequences for your characters.
We found lots to appreciate in the message and basic mechanics of This War of Mine. But unfortunately the extreme difficulty, lack of a tutorial, and opaque goals hamper what might otherwise be a successful effort to raise awareness about the consequences of war on civilians and refugees.
Games Mentioned in this Episode
- Call of Duty
- The Sims
- Papers, Please
Show Notes & Links
- This War of Mine’s launch trailer
- Al Jazeera’s recent summary of Syria’s Civil War
- NPR’s annotations of Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration
- Survive the horrors of war as a civilian in This War of Mine, PC Gamer
- A war game that actually feels like being in a war, Polygon
- A psychologically “embedded” approach to designing games for prosocial causes, by Geoff Kaufman & Mary Flanagan, Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 2015