What is it about our society that puts celebrity news ahead of war on the trending list? Why do we care more about the ‘real housewives of some county’ more than we care about horrendous war crimes? After returning from Syria, journalist Mitch Swenson decided to try and do something about our lack of interest in war. Swenson created a video game based on current events happening in Syria.
Making it A Game
There are conflicting opinions when it comes to turning something like war into a video game. To some, a game is not nearly serious enough to depict war. To others, a game is the only way to grab the attention of a culture that prizes celebrity news over real life events.
Swenson is in the latter group, and his game “1,000 Days of Syria” aims to educate people in North America about his experience as a journalist in Syria (the games is based on his own notes), and what the people living in Syria are currently going through. His game is not meant to be taken lightly, but it’s one of the few ways to draw attention to something that’s far too far down on our society’s list of importance.
1,000 Days of Syria is available as a free computer game. It’s there and it’s ready to play for anyone that wants to take a look. Game characters have choices to make that directly impact their lives (fleeing the country, staying in the country and winding up in jail, and other options), and every decision has a direct consequence.
There are three ways for every character to die, and sometimes character storylines mesh. Interestingly, Swenson has decided not to include images in his game. Has our society become so desensitized to war images that we simply don’t pay attention to those details anymore? That seems to be the message that Swenson is projecting by choosing an all text game over any photos or images.
A Hopeful Message
Swenson’s game can be found for free online, and the hope is that the game will educate. But no game can help people understand what’s happening in Syria if word of the game is not adequately spread. Play the game and spread the word – that’s the only way to make a cause like this one well known. For a society that finds gossip far more interesting than war, a computer game might be one of the best ways to grab the attention of the greater population.
Swenson isn’t the only person seeking to shed light on the world’s problems through a video game. Last week, an article about the game “Glorious Leader” was posted on this blog – that game attempts to show the world what’s happening in North Korea. It seems that there’s a trend with political and educational video games occurring now. Let’s just hope that games are an effective tool.
Have you played this game yet? What do you think of Swenson’s message? Let me know below.