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Feature: 'The Designer's Notebook: Asymmetric Peacefare'

We're all familiar with the warfare between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but can a game teach us about peacefare? Ernest Adams explores this from a designer's perspective using Impact Games' upcoming PeaceMaker, for today's
January 31, 2007
We're all familiar with the warfare between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but can a game teach us about peacefare? Ernest Adams explores this from a designer's perspective using Impact Games' upcoming PeaceMaker, for today's main Gamasutra feature. In this excerpt, Adams says that despite its title and ultimate objective, the decisions in Peacemaker are necessarily tougher than simply hoping for quiet resolution: ”You might be wondering where targeted assassinations fit into a game called PeaceMaker. It may be about peace, but it’s far from saccharine, and you can’t win by wringing your hands and asking everybody to be nice. One of the clearest lessons of PeaceMaker is that extremism is bad for everyone – the extremists’ opponents, obviously, but their own side as well. Militants don’t care about peace; they only care about victory at all costs. In the game, the best solution is for each side to squelch its own militants as best it can, and to use restraint in its responses to enemy attacks. The Israelis have to suppress their militants in a democratic context; the most they can do is arrest them. The Palestinian President can assassinate Palestinian militants, but he risks touching off a civil war among his own people if he doesn’t enjoy much popular support at the time." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, with more from Adams on the power of a game that uses real news footage to hit the political lessons home, and whether such a game can truly promote peace (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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