Video Gaming for Peace

Developers are working on a unique idea for a video game where players run around a war zone and shoot enemies. But instead of a gun, they’re armed only with a video camera! Interesting idea, like a trainer for photojournalists. Players can learn about framing shots, panning and zooming as they grab footage of combatants and civilians caught up in war.

While it’s an innovative concept, I was hoping they’d take the power of the camera one step further. Imagine a game where, instead of just being a passive war journalist, the footage you take immediately impacts the world around you.

For example, you’re in a war zone with your camera where you know there’s going to be a rocket attack. Your objectives are to record the incident from different vantage points.

First, you record the event from the side that fired the rocket. You catch it beautifully. A soldier drops back behind some rubble, his squad mates offering covering fire. A smoke trail leads from the rubble pile up the hill, towards a compound in a residential area. The rocket goes off and there’s a devastating explosion. Cut scene.

Now, you stop time and rewind it a bit, to get the perspective of the people about to be blown up. There’s a few rebels, one armed with a sniper rifle, shooting out the windows. In the kitchen, covering their heads, hides a group of terrified women and children. Bullets are ricocheting all around.

In comes the rocket, maybe in slo-mo for dramatic effect. Kaboom. The camera catches every gory, flesh-shredding detail in high definition. Lights out, people.

But the game doesn’t end there. The footage you shoot gets beamed to the game’s virtual global community, who scrutinize what they see.

So shocked by the horrors in your compelling video that the people from the invading nation decide to no longer tolerate this violence, and demand that their troops return home.

The soldier who fired the rocket also gets to see what he did, and he too is sickened by his own actions. The rebels also watch the clip, and they too decide to deplore violence. Overwhelmed with guilt and shame, combatants from both sides throw down their arms and urge their comrades to do the same.

So that’s the gist of the game. You go around with your camera recording the scenes of war, and as you do, the power of your camera brings an end to the fighting.

Maybe it wouldn’t be the most popular game, but it might help teach about the importance of exposing the war machine to a solid dose of transparency. If the entire human race could see, in real time, what is really happening as their armies fight, there wouldn’t be such a strong push towards massive, coordinated violent conflicts.

Fortunately, with every new day, we do gain more ways to drag the realities of war out of the shadows. And the more these atrocities get viewed by the global spotlight, the more peace will take hold of our planet.

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