Yet another Flash-Newsgame. That was my first reaction to the Syrian Revolt Mini Game. At first glance problems seem to be obvious. The protests in Syria startet in January 2011, escalating to an uprising in March. The Syrian government used tanks and snipers early on (2011 Syrian uprising). So maybe the game is a bit late to be called a NEWSgame?! Apart from that the game is very easy and very short. No contextualising infos, no progress, no narrative.
Nonetheless the game has some points. You can not succeed a tank with a protest sign. That sound obvious. But you experience that on your own. You get immediately killed. And try again. You can not do that in real life. It makes you want to grab a gun to go on further. This game makes you angry. Because you can not succeed.
The Achievemt during the game is to try and to get more and more so called ‘Bravery Points’ while playing the game – that might be read as a witty comment on dopamin-lusty war reporters. I never got more than 800 ‘Bravery Points’. That is not much to die for. And you can not do anything with these points.
I am pretty sure that the game mechanic could be enhanced. There should be a way to overthrow the regime. Maybe with the help of more protesters or with asymmetric warfare tactics. Till then the game remains interesting but a bit shallow – even though one could argue that the purpose of the game is to be left alone helpless as a player coupled with an implicit call to action: Do something. At least – get informed.
That would leave the small game as an entry point to a range of news services and stories in a transmedia setting. Not the worst thing to be for a start.
I criss-crossposted this post here and there. That is why i add Florents comment exactly here:
Yes, “nice” game here, yet once again a plain use of the “rhetoric of
failure” (copyright Ian Bogost, I think). The same one you meet in September 12th, and countless other editorial newsgames.
Maybe the designers could have set a cumulative “bravery point” score, let’s say a million points, and challenged users all over the world to play the game and reach this “tipping point” together, cumulating their scores and
sacrificing characters to finally overthrow the Syrian regime…
And now for something completely different: ITV Gaddafi documentary claimed videogame was terrorist footage