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domingo, 17 de abril de 2011

Against All Odds

I believe play a videogame is not just pressing a bunch of buttons at the right time and in the right way to get from point A to point B. Of course this is the basics, but what gives us motivation to press the buttons and go to one point to the other is what we feel doing that, the challenge, the fun in destroying that monster, escape from that shot, jump on the head of that turtle, hate that Japanese RPG villain with ambiguous sexuality and weird hair, and etc. What makes playing a game to be fun are the emotions we feel from the experiences they offer. We get that challenges and we overcome them.

With this idea in mind producers try to create means, stories and situations to games. Now, imagine games which talk about real situations, but not like Call of Duty or Medal of Honor do, since in these kind of games the objective is take the atmosphere of something real and use it to create a game focused in entertainment, not in reality.

Have you ever stop to think that a game which works closer to reality would allow to feel something similar to what other people felt when they lived that situations and then through this experience understand better a subject, or a story or whatever? We don’t need to think much to realize it would be very useful to a great number of situations.

And, since any good idea we may have someone somewhere already though that it too, many people already though about it. “Games for Change” is a movement/website which puts together these kind of games that try to spread messages about the world of many different situations, by doing games portraying these different situations in a very close to reality way.

I went to the website, then read what was that about, who created, why and all these things, but I don’t think it would interesting talk about that here, after all, what is more important are not the names of the ones who make things, but if the things they created work or not. So, I decided to chose a game by chance just to test if the message was there.

Well, I can say it worked much better than I expected.

By the image at the top of this post you can see the game is called “Against all Odds” and the idea is to put you in the role of a refugee.

The game is divided in 3 “chapters”, escaping from your country, settle things in the new country and deal with the new life. Like I said the intention of these kind of games is to simulate real situations, so it creates situations to make you feel emotions and take decisions that a person in this situation would feel and be through.

I found it very interesting how the structure of the game encourages you to try to do what you would really do if you were in one of these situations, than see what would be the consequences and learn that not all the time do that is the right answer to progress on the game. I believe the idea is that you don’t have to pass to next stage in the first try. Giving a simple example without tell much about the game, the first stage is a interrogatory where you can say what you really think and then be beat up and arrested or you can say you agree with what you don’t agree and than walk away and progress in the game. In fact, some situations of the game make you think you have no way out, but then you try again and suddenly you find out what you have to do and then you understand why that was made that way.

The game is not long, and to help us in our busy life it has a save system. I explored possibilities and all that and it took me something like 40 minutes to reach the end of the story.

Play this game and feel what I felt going through the situations the game puts you in made me think what could be done if a big company decided to make a game with a theme like that, in 3D, you could walk around, passing the days one by one and all that. I think it would be worth not just because of the message which would go much beyond of the generic violent and faceless hero who kills at least 500 people to get to point B, like most of these games “based on reality” made today are, but also because of the situations that a story like this has are so rich and could really help to create games that we have never seen.

If you wanna play _\
Games for Change website _\