The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has played out on the world stage for decades. Next year the conflict is also scheduled to play out on computer screens in people’s homes.
“Global Conflicts: Palestine” is part of a trend of politically inspired video games that are part entertainment, part political science lesson.
“The vision is to reach a new target group which is not easily reached by traditional sources,” said Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen, CEO of Serious Games Interactive, the Danish company that came up with the concept. “The purpose is to give them something more a than the occasional sound bite.”
The plot puts the player in the shoes of a young journalist who navigates the streets of a city that resembles Jerusalem, seeking out Palestinian and Israeli sources for an assignment, Egenfeldt-Nielsen said. At the start of the mission, the player can choose to be pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, or neutral.
“The idea is of course that you can play one mission from one perspective and then play it again from another,” Egenfeldt-Nielsen said.
The game, like reality, has its share of violence, including clashes between military patrols and gunmen, and suicide bombings.
The game’s release will comes as reality based games are growing in popularity. Another game about on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “Peacemaker,” hits the market later this year and allows players to choose between the role of an Israeli prime minister or a Palestinian Authority president. Players make policy decisions, communicate with the international community and monitor opinion polls.
MTV’s Internet-based game “Darfur is Dying,” was launched on the Web in April. The game, backed by high-profile celebrities, it intended to raise awareness about the crisis in Darfur.
Scheduled for release in March 2007, “Global Conflicts: Palestine” is meant for both private and educational use and is packaged with supporting tools for educators, including an encyclopedia and teachers manual.