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Palestine, Israel, and the Efforts to Make Peace Through Video Games

Gaza continues to be in turmoil. Israel attacks indiscriminately. Not long after, the counterattack came. Now it’s Hamas’ turn.

We will not judge who is wrong and who is right. What is clear, the tragedy leaves no small amount of wounds. And this has been going on for decades. People died, buildings collapsed, fires blazed everywhere, the sky blackened.

This case was the basis for the actions of Asi Burak, Eric Brown, and several other students in 2007. At that time, they spent more than a year developing peacemaker, a game that tries to simulate the conflict and violence that occurred in the Gaza Strip, Palestine.

Their goal is one: Create a game that can spark peace between the parties involved. Or, at least make people not hate each other. That’s why, PeaceMaker focuses on efforts to resolve conflicts through a two-state solution.

This game is also Burak and Brown’s response to so many war-themed games. Burak said that even though they have social goals, they still think about commercial matters. “We have a challenge to make peace-themed games interesting,” said Burak.

Coming to Android and PC, PeaceMaker try to weave news snippets of ongoing incidents into the game. According to Burak, they did this so that the players feel directly connected to the real world, especially related incidents.

peacemaker, one of the peace-themed games.

You can choose two roles, namely as Prime Minister of Israel or as President of Palestine. Here your job is to choose the best decision so that violence can be avoided. You will have discussions, contact the international community, and several other parties.

Efforts to create peace through video games are not new. Exist A Force More Powerfulwho tries to get you to fight the corrupt rulers without any violence. 1979 Revolution: Black Fridayalso did the same thing even though it brought the theme of riots.

In fact, a developer Sudanese origin named Lual Mayen founded a studio that specifically develops games about peace. One of them Salaam (peace in Arabic), a game that was first released at The Game Awards 2022.

UNESCO also has several games that serve the same purpose. Exist World Rescue and Food Force. They developed these two games because they thought that video games could be an effective means of imparting social justice education.

This assumption is not wrong at all. According to Paul Darvasi of Royal St. George’s College Toronto, if done right, games like this can have a more effective impact on encouraging empathy than any other means of entertainment.

Why? Because you will always be involved in every decision in the game. You will not only see and hear what is there, but also be present as a participant.

That’s what separates video games from movies, books, and even opera art. Martin Suryajaya called it Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art. It is this trait that makes games have the potential to foster a better understanding for the people who play them.

“The interesting thing about video games is that you make decisions as you play, and then you also have to face the consequences of all those decisions,” Darvasi said. CBA.

David Rejeski, head of the Serious Games Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said something similar. According to him, games like PeaceMaker can help you understand difficult situations as well as think of ways to solve them.

The urgency of peace-themed games

this war of mine

Evan Narcisse, journalist my box, never reviewed games This War of Mines. This game tells the story of the siege of Sarajevo in 1996 in the Bosnian war. As a player, you will play a civilian who must find food and survive in the middle of the ruins of the city.

After playing it, nothing else Narcisse felt except his empathy was touched to the deepest level. Perhaps he had known about the Sarajevo incident for a long time, but only when he tried it This War of Mine he understood how painful the incident was.

“I was surprised how quickly my empathy eroded because of a game, which allowed me to better understand the situation in real life. It’s a game that can change the way you view the news, treat other people, or vote in elections,” Narcisse wrote.

If Narcisse can feel this way, maybe well-known studios should start considering working on similar games often.

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