Waging a war: Battling brutality with video games

By Kriti Gupta

Wars have always been depressing. Mass killings, hunger, poverty, unemployment, epidemics make these periods unbearable. However, these are also the days when the greatest love stories are written, the most beautiful paintings are drawn, and the most melodious songs are sung. For instance, in the 20th century, ‘Dadaism’ was a movement that had created a strong impact on people all over the world. Starting from Zurich, it challenged the materialistic pleasures and war ideology through paintings that lacked logic and rationality. In doing so, it disapproved the idea of violence. ‘Surrealism’, another artistic movement, started as a revolution that questioned the excessive logical thoughts of the capitalist classes. Since then, through one cultural form or other, artists and intellectuals have used their respective powers to carve a different path for people stuck in situations of distress.

[su_pullquote]For instance, in the 20th century, ‘Dadaism’ was a movement that had created a strong impact on people all over the world.[/su_pullquote]

In the 21st century, the anti-war proponents have shifted to the digital technology in order to reach out to millions of people who are a part of the World Wide Web of war and violence. Lual Mayen, a 24- year-old software engineer has taken the responsibility for spreading peace and happiness. He is doing this by creating mobile and board games.

Anti-war video games: An alley to preach love?

Video games appeal to everyone, irrespective of the part of the world they belong to. In an effort to keep the morale up of the people of South Sudan, Lual Mayen has resorted to creating games. He has created one android game and two board games. The android game is called ‘Salaam’. ‘Wahda’ is one of the two board games he has created. Salaam, which means peace in Arabic, requires people to blow up the bombs in the air before they fall on houses. When a person wins the game, he gets a complimentary message for saving people’s lives. Wahda, on the other hand, is a classical card game like Uno. Positive cards like ‘Love’ and ‘Peace’ can win over negative ones like ‘War’ and ‘Hate’.

Lual Mayen | Photo Courtesy: Gurtong Trust

Mayen runs a successful page on Facebook named JUNUB Games. Besides, he is the first person to organise a Game Jam in his country. The primary goal is to create awareness among people about the dangers of wars. He also wishes to invite refugees from other countries to participate in such activities.

A ray of hope: Uplifting the youth

In the internet age, it is easier to find a guide to building a bomb than to find one for baking a cake. As globalisation changed the world in the 90s, networking for terrorist groups became easier.

Proponents of war and savagery have used the social media extensively to brainwash thousands of people.

Killings and beheadings are streamed live to create fear and panic. Militant groups recruit a number of people through chat rooms and online networking. Lual Mayen has put to use his laudable computing skills to help the youth, who he believes are the most affected during wars.

“I want to get the attention of the government and talk about possibly starting courses in schools and universities for young people that want to become game developers. I want to do this to boost South Sudan’s economy so the country can become more stable”.
                                                                                                                                     -Lual Mayen

Peace-building games can uplift the youth from ideas of barbarity and cruelty. Additionally, they can also help promote ideals of peace and prosperity. South Sudan is a strong example of how countries dealing with Genocide can use technology innovatively to preach peace. This also encourages the youth of the more developed nations to come forward and contribute in the same.

As Mayen rightly says: “True peace is built over time. The way I do this is by creating games. Games to preach peace.”

Featured Image Source: Visual Hunt
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