Monday, December 8, 2014

Sims, Or Something Like It.

Welcome back to the beginning of a new week and I'm here to talk to you all about sims.  No, I am not referring to The Sims, but to certain aspects and qualities of simulators and hoo-boy are there a lot of them (on Steam); I specifically refer to Steam as it's my gateway to AAA and indie PC gaming although I know (I'm sure there are; there have to be) other outlets for video gaming out there.  Right?

Last week when I was listening to The Patch (#75 I think), Gus Sorola brought up indie game developer Lucas Pope (Papers, Please) and how he frequently gets requests to make other "Gate-Sims" like Papers, Please but in different departments and how he has absolutely no desire to do another gate-simulator.  This led the cast to come up with other ridiculous gate-sims with Mr. Sorola finalizing that a Drive Through Sim would be great because of how complicated and specific an order could get, which then lead to Ms. Turney stating that there are people who are paid (horribly) for actually taking orders at a drive through.  Would they feel that the game trivializes the kinds of shit they have to put up with from customers?

Which brings me to video game simulators, or at least some games that are sims and one other in particular.

Now, I have a couple of sim-type-style games at my disposal: Papers, PleaseThe Sims 2 & 3; Civ. 5; Ace Combat X, Joint Assault, Assault Horizon Legacy and Assault Horizon Enhanced Edition; Day-Z; ReusGoat Simulator. . . you get the idea.  Then there are a slough of games with "Simulator" in the title that I do not own nor have I played: Farming Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator, Ship Simulator Extremes, Digital Combat Simulator World (DCS World), Construction Truck Simulator, Surgeon Simulator. . . more ideas you are getting behind, yes?

Which then brings me to This War of Mine.  It's a game that came out last month (November 14th) that I first thought that I would really like to play.  To put this game into context, in This War of Mine, you play as normal everyday citizens in a war torn fictional country.  You are not playing as a super soldier armed with 184 lbs of guns, equipment and additional rounds of ammunition, but as people attempting to survive everything else around them.

Then I thought of the real life This War of Mine.  In Palestine. In Sarajevo.  In Baghdad.  In every city, town and country that has had some form of major military conflict take place within its borders.  People live their lives surrounded by what this game is apparently trying to represent.

A part of me thinks that I would and should feel guilty about playing a game about people who are living a life where they are afraid to go out at anytime, for any reason, because they could be attacked by either military force or by fellow citizens.  The simplist things in life become a hardship such as finding sufficient food to feed your family or find clean drinking water.  But the real question is why did 11 bit studios create this game?  Was it to glamorize the suffering of people who regularly live in such war-torn communities?  Somehow I doubt that those were their intentions.  

In an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, senior writer for 11 bit studios Pawel Miechowski said that This War of Mine "is not a simulator of atrocities, it’s a take on how people struggle and what are their emotional challenges" and that "We want to raise awareness about how civilians suffer when war is breaking out. We want to show the other side."  If this game had come from, say, Sledgehammer Games (Call of Duty) or EA Digital Illusions (Battlefield), I might question their motives.

When I started this short article (seven paragraphs ago), I was on the fence about buying/playing this game.  Now, I feel that I need to not only play this game, but to experience.  This War of Mine was obviously created with a lot of thought and care to convey the right imagery, tone and sense of weight as opposed to another war simulator.  It's quite a powerful trailer too that 11 bit studios released a while back.

It's settled then.  I talked myself back into it.

And When Jesus Comes He'll March On With The Winning Side


  1. Wow. Wow!

    Great trailer. There is no way this game, when set against very popular soldier games (or 'killing simulators' if you want to be harsh) - there's no way this game would trivialize the experience of civilians in war. That trailer has already done more to empathize and draw attention than the dozens and dozens of war games on the market.
    Great find!

  2. Also, for the record, when I worked retail, I would not have felt that a retail game trivialized my experience. If the game was good, anyway.

    There's a game out there called 'Disaffected' that is about working at Kinko's. It's terrible, just like, as the premise states, working at Kinko's.