These Games Show the Dark Reality of War

by Rachel Baker on June 19, 2014

Sadly, or maybe thankfully, we have yet to have a war-themed video game that actually shows what happens when you get shot in the head during a battle (you don’t respawn – game over), or someone throws a grenade at you and it lands at your feet (you sure as hell don’t walk on your own legs ever again – and, if you die, again, you don’t respawn). And maybe the ability to respawn is what keeps people sane, and what makes these games a way for PTSD survivors to deal with the atrocities they saw during their own actual combat experiences.

That said, what about all the other things that happen in war – the dark, seedy sides of the politics of war? What about those realities of war that actually start the war, dictate who will be in power after the war and who will extract revenge and who will be the targets of the revenge? We never address those and unless you’ve read some Tom Clancy or someone similar, you have no idea what I’m talking about.

Well, there are some new games coming out in the next year or so that will strive to give players some of the other perspectives of war.

The best known war-themed video games convey one very specific aspect of conflict: the actual fighting. Whether it’s Call of Duty or Battlefield, they’re games where you interact with the world using the gun in your hand. This makes for an often exciting, adrenaline-pumping experience, but it also glosses over how war influences anyone other than a soldier. A new wave of games is looking to change that by showing war from a range of different perspectives in order to make you think about it in a different way.

“Seeing things from different perspectives exercises the imagination,” Tale of Tales design duo Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn tell The Verge over email. “And imagination is what is need to make the world a better place, to recognize what is wrong, and to fight against oppression.”

Best known for art games like the sensual Luxuria Superbia or the existential Bientôt l’été, Tale of Tales is currently developing a first person exploration game called Sunset, for which it just launched a Kickstarter campaign. Set in South America in 1972, the game takes place in the midst of a sweeping revolution overtaking an unnamed country. Sunset stars Angela Burnes, an American who takes on a housekeeping job while living abroad. Every day you have one hour before sunset to clean the expansive apartment of playboy Gabriel Ortega. As you inevitably start rooting through his belongings, you slowly become pulled into a story about overthrowing the country’s ruthless dictator. The game is slated to launch next year.

Here’s the Article:
Beyond ‘Battlefield’: these games show the dark reality of war

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