This War Of Mine
This War Of Mine, a new game game by Grzegorz Miechowski. examines war from the viewpoint of the people caught in the middle. It’s set in a world like WW2 Warsaw, a half-ruined city in which desperate civilians scramble for food, shelter, for anything that can help them manage a few more days.
This might have been a simple romp or a power fantasy, but it’s not. You start in a house with three guys, each with distinct personality and talents. New helpers can arrive with their own talents, and those talents are realistically useful or otherwise. I’ve had a mathematician and a high school principal – splendid folks and good company, but these are not the skills we chiefly need right now. Choices have consequences and the consequences are deep: you can steal stuff, but it makes you feel pretty awful; you can hide from the armed gangs who are threatening people who have nothing to do with you, but you’ll always wonder if there was something you should have done.
Onboarding is not this game’s strength. To preserve the morality of the game, it’s hard to save your progress, to back up and erase your mistakes. That’s perhaps the right answer, but it makes things less fun.
Perhaps that’s part of the point.