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Warzone Journalism: The Video Game

by Will Wlizlo

Tags: Warco, video games, war correspondence, violence, journalism, media, Ars Technica, Will Wlizlo,


When you think of first-person shooters, trigger-happy video games like Halo and Quake come to mind. Or if you’re old enough, you may remember the good ol’ days of Doom and Duke Nukem—and all of their pixilated gore. A game called Warco (currently in development) hopes to change the first-person shooter dynamic. In the game you get a video recorder instead of a shotgun, and you can’t kill anyone or blow up buildings. Your job is to sit back and document the scene.

Warco, you see, is a video game instilled with the principles of journalism. (The term “warco” is industry slang for a war correspondent.) According to techie blog Ars Technica, the game’s developer, Defiant, “is working with both a journalist and a filmmaker to create a game that puts you in the role of a journalist embedded in a warzone.” Half of the game play involves capturing the action, and the other half is editing your footage and creating compelling news stories.

“It’s also about navigating through a morally gray world and making decisions that have human impact,” Defiant’s Morgan Jaffit explained to Ars Technica. “It’s about finding the story you want to tell, as each of our environments is filled with different story elements you can film and combine in your own ways. It’s both a story telling engine and an action adventure with a new perspective.”

To the concerned parents out there: The violence in Warco is not toned down—in fact, it’s amped up and hyperrealistic. (Check out the promo video below.) War is rarely subtle and rarely free from bloodshed. But if the game developer pulls off what is trying to do, the gamers will need to survive on the opposite side of the gun. As players collect footage and try to make meaning from random violence through the video editing process, they’ll be forced into a conceptual position unprecedented in the video game world. After the Xbox or computer is turned off, perhaps they will have learned a new way to think about conflict, or perhaps they will better understand the inexplicable horrors of war.

The developer’s aspirations are noble. Which is why they should be especially worried about selling it to a wide audience.


Source: Ars Technica 

Image is a screenshot from Warco.