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Why we NEED more games like “This War of Mine”

Why we NEED more games like “This War of Mine”

A new game has been taking over steam called “This War of Mine”. For those of you who haven’t took the plunge “This War of Mine “ is a war game that takes a different stance then other games. You aren’t an elite fighter, marine, or mercenary. You play the person you would most likely be if war broke out right now. A group of civilians, scared to death and trying to survive. The question the game forces its players to answer is “what would you do to survive?”

TWoM, Opens up so far from he traditional war time “Oorah” in the back of a truck as you jump out to completely destroy a tutorial its humorous. TWoM has you start in the middle of a desolate storm devoid of hope, including the comfort of a tutorial. You take the role of a Sims like god over three people’s dismal lives. As the game progresses you try and survive…

The game its self is great, but far better then the gameplay is how people respond to it. The steam store is filled with stories of people that sound similar to recaps from a PTSD inflicted soldier. Although they “win” the game, there are things that they dislike about themselves by the time they finish it. Another interesting realization you will come to playing the game, and reading others opinions is that most people attempt to play through being a good person the first time. At a certain point an attempt to follow your moral compass becomes to much of a natural burden that players will actually abandon hope of being a good person, and just try to survive. This internal journey seems to have a certain degree of self discovery to most users.

In our current gaming landscape the norm is games that not only require violence, its the objective! Trading virtual lives for points seems to be a standard exchange in modern video games. “This War of Mine” treads a different path, instead of killing being the goal, its survival. Every life you take is a moral dilemma. It accomplishes this by making the NPCs relatable. Sure you jokingly felt bad for the guy cleaning up all the broken pots in zelda, but you never really realized what he was going through.

In television we have become obsessed with the flawed protagonist. Producers, directors, and writers have responded by giving us more and more flawed characters to the point of heros we hate.  Similar to Walter White (Breaking Bad), Jax Teller (Sons of Anarchy), or Dexter Morgan (Dexter) we find our selfs torn at what should be key moments of internal conflict. As a fan there is a emotional release as the main characters life gets easier through the death of an innocent. Directly following this moment moment of emotional release the viewer feels a moral conflict. As these conflicts start piling up you start rooting against the protagonist. Up until this point very few games have tapped into this emotional/moral struggle.

As players jump into games they associate very hard with the character they are controlling. As someone walks by you playing a game and asks what is going on, players will frequently describe the situation with first and second person pronouns. “I am….” or “the goal is to get yourself…”, This is unique to the video game experience. As you play through This War of Mine you will frequently find yourself making decisions you are NOT happy with, and asking the question “what would you do to survive?”

About The Author

Tyler lives in sunny colorado, and fills his days with design and front end web development, you can find some of his work at tymerry.com, and his musing at https://medium.com/@tyler_merry

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