War is one of the main themes prevalent in most video games, for better or worse. Its presence has been felt since the beginning of the medium with similar games space war, To this day, it is favored by some of the most popular contemporary games Call of Duty And battlefield, which focus almost entirely on war.

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To some extent, many of these war games may present their subject matter in a way that reflects a “pro-war” narrative, but for the most part, many war-based stories simply use war as a backdrop for their stories, with mechanics being the few exceptions. Some developers choose to craft together A game that is clearly anti-war. These types of games come in many different forms, but one thing they all have in common is that they all criticize the concept of “gamifying” war.

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10/10 Ace Combat Zero: A surprising twist

The Ace Combat The series is known for its heart-stopping, intense aerial combat that allows the player to focus their mind and engage in high-speed combat.

All this is true Ace Combat: Zero – But this installment brings a little twist in the series. Behind the flashy jet battles lies a serious story about the futility of war, which makes the player really feel like nothing more than a small pawn in a huge machine of death.

9/10 Balance of Power: Geopolitics Visualized

balance of power It was created in the 1980s at the height of the resurgence of the Cold War – a period in which the world’s then superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, competed with each other for global dominance. To achieve this, both powers tried to pull the rest of the world to their side. It created a world that can best be described by the old adage, “If you’re not with me, you’re against me”.

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Gameplay of balance of power It is essentially an interactive seminar/lesson that reflects the complex nature of geopolitics in its contemporary era, tasking players to see if they can prevent this “cold” war from turning “hot”. The anti-war element of this game is brutal both in its messaging and punishment to the player. If, during gameplay, a war between the two superpowers is not avoided, an all-out nuclear war will eventually break out. This is immediately considered “game over”, the game gives you the following message; “You’ve ignited an accidental nuclear war. And no, there’s no animated display of a mushroom cloud with body parts flying through the air. We don’t reward failure.”

8/10 Farewell, My Love: A Beautiful, Modern Reflection

A recurring problem with many “anti-war” games is that they often immerse themselves in the very combat-centric gameplay they’re trying to criticize.

Goodbye, my love Takes the idea of ​​an anti-war game and focuses its attention on an area of ​​war that is rarely touched upon in video games – the experiences of refugees. Goodbye, my love She sees the player taking on the role of Noor, a Syrian refugee, as she tries to find safe passage to Europe, interacting with her husband Majd, who has been left behind in Syria. The play is sweet, heart-wrenching and undeniably human, and serves as an apt reminder of the human cost of war.

7/10 DEFCON: Is it worth it?

Gameplay of DEFCON Is extremely simple, essentially a stripped-down accessible real-time strategy game that sees players trying to stay on top and manage a massive global conflict. While fun at first, the game soon reveals its dark message hidden beneath the surface unless the player is seriously challenged.

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It soon becomes clear that, as tensions rise and nuclear weapons are released, “winning” is not determined by “achieving the objective.” Instead, “winners” are determined by how many men are left alive in each nation – which is at the end of most game sessions DEFCON Almost always not.

6/10 Final Fantasy 9 – A lighthearted review

FINAL FANTASY IX It is often remembered as an elegant answer to the relatively rough look and slick presentation of the previous two games in the series. A more cartoony art style? check A fairy tale setting? check A simple plot to fit new demographics? Not at all.

While at surface level FINAL FANTASY IX While seemingly returning to a more simplistic presentation, once you scratch the surface and get stuck into the game, one begins to realize that this is a surprisingly sharp critique of the uselessness of violent conflict, which still manages to maintain a genuinely fun, light tone.

All of the Metal Gear The games are anti-war, so it’s very difficult to pick just one game to include in the series. When one gets really engrossed in the series, one begins to realize this. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is the most concrete example of the series’ anti-war message.

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This is after all the culmination of all the previous ‘games’ plot points and long thesis statements. Remarkably for an anti-war game, and despite its long, rambling monologues, the game has a fair amount of subtlety in its discussion of war. The game creator Hideo Kojima’s main intention was to explore whether war is an inevitable evil, part of the human condition, or a tool used by the powerful to control everyone else.

4/10 Nuclear War – There are no winners

The basic gameplay of nuclear war You control a caricature of a real-world politician from the 1980s – from Ronnie Reagan (aka, Ronald Reagan) or PM Thatcher (aka, Margaret Thatcher). As this figurehead, the player is then tasked with unleashing their nuclear weapons on the other characters.

message of nuclear war Best summed up by the last scene. In the final scene of the game, whichever world leader was “victorious” in the war, “I won! I won!” declares that – Standing alone in a desolate, irradiated wasteland, they have nothing to show for their victory.

3/10 Spec Ops: The Line – Narrative Twisting

Many war games force the player to do highly questionable things without second-guessing these decisions. No need to see more than one Call of Duty franchise, which sees the player commit what could be described as war crimes in many games. These actions ultimately have very little consequence for the player.

Related: Spec Ops: The Line’s Mature Tone Bodes Well for Marvel’s Wolverine

Space Ops: The Line, On the other hand, engaging the player in fun and entertaining sand-centric shooter combat, while gradually encouraging the player to do increasingly despicable things in the name of defeating their opponents. The result is a slow descent into madness for the player character, with reality slipping through his fingers. The reason for this insanity is masterfully done, from the game’s text boxes and menus themselves starting to question the player’s actions, to criticizing the player for unquestioningly participating in such horrific violence.

2/10 This War of Mine – Survivor Inspiration

During the development of this war of mine 11-Bit Studios interviews survivors of the Siege of Sarajevo – one of the bloodiest and longest sieges in European history. All situations and choices presented to the player in the game are based on real-world events.

This is what actually makes for solid grounding This war is mine One of the best anti-war statements in gaming, the player’s role is not in combat, as they often expect, but to pull away from the “action” and force us all to look at the consequences of such massive violence.

1/10 Braveheart – The War to End All Wars

Despite the cartoony art style and fun, inventive puzzles, Brave hearts It is one of the most serious and truly educational representations of the First World War in any medium outside of a history textbook or documentary.

The game expertly takes the player on a journey of grief, starting with an optimistic and determined mood, showing the hysteria and propaganda of war that convinced many to take up arms and die for a cause they knew little about. This optimism and determination is soon turned to despair and fear as the player tries to survive the inferno that the war has turned their world into.

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