An exceptional anti-war game – “This War of Mine” is probably the saddest and most realistic survival game of 2014. It shines in a fictitious civil war without any ego-shooting or zombies. The game by Polish indie developers rather demands tactics and strategy. At the same time the game not only has a unique character, but also provokes thought.
“Every war is similar. Nothing is more important than surviving,“ says Chief author Pawel Miechowski of 11 bit studios. This disillusioning statement is the basis of “This War of Mine”. With its charcoal pencil look it is not only a simulation of real life, it also shows a war scenario in 2.5D. Pursuant to the subtitle “In war, not everyone is a soldier” the gamers control a small group of civilians. Those try to survive in the ruins of a bombed city by bearing up against military and bandits. They are authentic persons – simply everyday life people.
Main goal is to keep the protagonists alive until the war is over – with everyday tasks like building beds, distilling vodka or sacrificing friends. Technical know-how is essential in the struggle for survival. One needs to deduce and work meticulously. Inventiveness meets courage. Therefore strengths and weaknesses of each member of the group need to be considered.
Origin of the game idea was a moving online article of a civilian, who survived the siege of a Bosnian village during the war in Yugoslavia. Also numerous experience reports of survivors of war in Iraq or Syria contributed to the development of the game. One of these civilians is Emir Cerimovic. He was nine years old when thousands of civilians were killed in his hometown Sarajevo in 1992 during siege. After a year without food, electricity and drinking water Emir’s family leaves town. He can never forget the terrible pictures. Sorrow and fear still determine his everyday life. Emir’s story stays one of many.
“This War of Mine” deals with an aspect of war, which is often ignored in media, politics and economy. The game does not focus on soldiers or terrorists but on the true victims of the war – the helpless population. It is mainly about emotions. The moment, in which one needs to make a decision with far-reaching consequences. Above all, it shows that everyone commits crime in war. It is tough, uncompromising and does not palliate at all.
At the same time, the game is not finger-wagging, but wants to show a current state – a rebellion against the gaming mainstream, which might even make an enthusiastic ego-shooter gamer think. This is also a trend: “Games with serious background”. This kind of games wants to raise awareness for the suffering of the civilians, because Emir’s story is a reminder for all of us: Wars are everywhere in the world – at somebody’s doorstep.