Rated M, for Mature

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Jonathan Bartlett / www.seejbdraw.com

Ask a video game geek to name her favorite first-person shooters and you’re likely to get a grocery list of titles like Halo and Quake, trigger-happy bloodbaths just a few pixels more gory than their predecessors, Doom and Duke Nukem. There’s a game currently in development, however, that could change the dynamic without watering down the game. Players plugged into Warco brave an online world carrying a video recorder instead of a flamethrower, and while there is danger around every corner, there are no kill shots.

According to techie blog Ars Technica(Sept. 21, 2011), 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 war zone.” Half the game involves capturing the action; the other half is editing footage and creating compelling news stories.

The game will still require a warning on the package: Warco (slang for war correspondent) is neither toned down nor nonviolent; in fact, it’s both graphic and hyperrealistic. But the developers at Defiant hope that as players collect footage and try to make meaning from random violence, they’ll be forced to grapple with the realities and horrors of war.

Have something to say? Send a letter to editor@utne.com. This article first appeared in the January-February 2012 issue of Utne Reader.

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