2007 saw the release of two thought-provoking and remarkably even-handed games about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The makers of PeaceMaker went on to create Play The News, a current affairs prediction MMO that, sadly, appears to have stalled at the beta stage. The makers of Global Conflicts: Palestine have just put the finishing touches on Global Conflicts: Latin America, a player-as-journalist adventure that had me shaking my head in ‘Why-is-the-British-media-not-telling-me-about-this-stuff? ‘ anger last night.
In the browser-based demo (that I’m sure I could embed if I was clever enough) you’re tasked with ferreting out the grim truth behind the Maquiladoras – large US factories operating on the Northern border of Mexico. The full game sends you off to investigate racial tension and slavery in Bolivia, crooked elections in Guatemala, and the actions of American ‘Minutemen’ patrols too.
Is there seventeen quid’s worth of value on offer? I’ve only spent a single evening newshounding thus far, so I can’t say for sure, but my impressions are largely positive. Though the graphics and GUI are poorer than a Bolivian dump dweller, and the gameplay is a little thin (scamper around collecting the ‘arguments’ you’ll need to make a crucial interviewee sweat in the closing interview) the issues themselves are so compelling, and so skilfully communicated, it’s hard not to end-up absorbed.