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    omeysalvi's This war of mine (PC)

    [January 28, 2015 09:08:24 AM]
    Day 5 Started with me getting a knock at the door and two shady characters showing up asking to talk. Knowing the situation and the nature of the game till now, I ignored the knocking in fear of it being a trap. Having no weapons to defend myself I did the thing that I would do in such a situation myself.

    I had decided not to risk it. I let go of a potential dialogue option i.e. content for the fear of the wellbeing of my characters. I feel this says a lot about the brilliant way that the game was able to make me care about my character for me to make that choice. The thought also crossed my mind that maybe they were looking for help but again, I felt in no charitable mood when my own house was barely making ends meet. I contemplated for a while whether that made me a bad person. I decided not to dwell on it for long and spent the day doing chores.

    As night came, I picked Katia for scavenging since today she was the only one who wasn’t injured or tired. I went against my original plan and used the female character. I decided to scavenge an area I had been to before, knowing that it would be safe. Opening new cabinets in this area, I found coffee. I saw that Katia liked coffee and was asking for it in the in-game dialogue. Though coffee was an item that was going to bring comfort to only one character in particular, I decided to go for it. Even though it occupied one whole inventory slot when it could have been used for something useful for the whole group. Here I was letting my bias and my need for overcompensation get in the way of the needs of the many. I wasn’t proud of it but I just felt it was necessary when I did it.

    I came back to find out that the night had not been calm and Bruno had been attacked. His status showed “Sad” in his emotions. That made me stop and take notice as the first thought that came to my mind was to think how far this was going to be taken? Does he go from “Sad” to “Very Sad”? Does that go somewhere beyond just sadness? Does this game lets the characters kill themselves to simulate human emotion in war? Would I experiment with the people I’ve grown attached with just to find out if that happens? I researched the game and found out that the game does let characters commit suicide if they are pushed beyond a point.

    My thoughts now went back to the moonshine and the implied benefits of having supplies and machinery to make moonshine. Alcohol is a sure stress reliever and now I felt as if it would have helped in elevating the emotions of my characters and keeping future suicidal thoughts away. Suddenly the purpose of the games objects made a lot of sense beyond tradable item or luxury. I now started looking at each item’s descriptions carefully trying to find the hidden gameplay significance of the items. The cigarettes, coffee beans and moonshine ingredients now all fit into the scheme of the game. It was a sudden moment of clarity.

    I feel the suicide mechanic is a very bold addition to the game as I can’t think of any games with playable characters that commit suicide. It is not even dwelt on in the Sims games. I reckon it would be a punch to the gut to experience it first-hand while playing the game but my life as a graduate student is hard enough. I have grown rather weary of the heavy themes in the game and would like to play a game of Quake 3 as soon as possible to alleviate the depression.

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    [January 28, 2015 01:15:16 AM]
    Since I was raided the previous night (Night 2) in the game, on Day 3 I decided to concentrate on healing the wounded and prepare for the night. Finding out that I had no food, I ended the day prematurely so that I could go out scavenging and hope to find some food to eat. Today when I got to the night I noticed that the game had arranged the three people in my house in an order that was different from the last night I went scavenging. I realized that the game here was making its own suggestions about who should go out scavenging based on its own calculations. It picked the person that was the least tired and hungry to scavenge. I considered the given option and it was Katia.

    I examined it and decided that though the option made complete sense in the context of the game, it was something that I would never allow and would never happen in real life. Call me sexist, but I would never send out a woman in a war zone unless the men were absolutely wounded and unable to move. This suggested choice and its repercussions made me think about the role of gender in games and how my own biases and beliefs in life affect my choices. I admire the game’s attempts to paint all the characters as capable in their own right giving them varied abilities but when it comes down to it, I decided to impose my own values on to the game.

    I would like to say here that I felt the game gave the female characters sexist special abilities. Even though I had not played as the characters I did a wiki search and noted their special abilities as “Bargaining Skills”, “Bolsters Spirits”, “Loves Children” and “Talented Lawyer”. Males were given abilities such as “Good Scavenger”, “Trained in Combat”, “Handyman”, and “Good Mathematician” etc. I was not bothered by the clear demarcation of gender roles in a video game but it was clear to me that in a situation like war, gender roles generally get eschewed reminding me of the images of Kurdish women bearing arms and fighting alongside men in the northern swaths of Iraq.

    Moving on, I felt as if the game should have given us the option of having more than one scavenger (that may happen later in the game). It would also make sense because nobody would like to out in a warzone all alone. Eventually I used Pavle to scavenge. I noticed that the change in music while scavenging does a good job to convey the tension I felt while sneaking through unknown territory. Again I felt the need for more bag space and decided to make that a priority.

    Day 4 rolled in and the first interesting event happened in the game where a lone civilian walked up to the door of our shelter asking to trade items. I looked at the options and was forced to think about the perceived importance of ordinary items in an extraordinary situation. I thought about the use of all the items I had and tried to think of the things that had fit within my logic and moral code. I consider alcohol a recreational item and would waste no resources making it in such dire times. So I decided to get rid of the items to make moonshine ad concentrated on just getting all the food, clean water and supplies I could get. This was another example of me making a choice based on my own moral code in the game.

    The game so far had more apprehension and tension than a youtube jumpscare lets play. With my skills I felt like I was watching a slow train wreck. It was clear that people were going to die. It also bothered me as to what were the character’s motivations to stay in a city that was amidst war. Couldn’t they be refugees and migrate to outside the warzone? The limited backstory of the characters did not make sense to me as I felt the reason they were living like this could be solved by escape as I don’t think it would be worth living everyday fearing for your life especially when your greatest threat is not the enemy but your own countryman. I’ll find out more about the story soon.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 28th, 2015 at 01:17:13.

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    [January 26, 2015 10:20:06 PM]
    My First play through of "This War of Mine" was filled with a sense of foreboding that made it a depressing experience. The somber music fit the mood of the game perfectly. It reminded me of all the fearful and uneasy sounds that are associated with the kind of experience I felt like I was about to have. The pencil shaded scene did well to re-enforce the worrisome feeling of the rest of the game's aesthetic. I knew this was not going to be a fun experience.

    I started Day 1 getting familiar with the backstories of the three characters - Katia, Bruno and Pavle. I tinkered around with Bruno, learning the meaning of the symbols over buttons, examining every detail in the scene before me. After I had explored enough I turned my attention to the other characters. I saw that Pavle was sick and hence my first priority was to build a bed so that he can be well rested and could heal. I think struggling to sleep on air bed for the first few months that I came to America, I valued a good night’s sleep a lot. I hence put my own priorities into the game and used Bruno to build a bed for Pavle. There was one piece of food in the refrigerator that I let Bruno have after his effort because I felt guilty for using him for a lot of the digging and scavenging in the hideout. I felt a need to properly recompense a fictional character for a perceived exploit. Soon the day was up and I chose to let all characters stay the night.

    Day 2 started and I saw that the stats on the characters had changed. Now they said that except Bruno who had had some food yesterday, the others were very hungry. I did not realize that letting people stay at home without scavenging will lead them to have no food at all. The dialogue pop ups in the middle of the game that conveyed the character’s emotions of hunger and tiredness packed a lot of punch. They made me think about my choices for the characters. I felt guilty for the current state of Katia and Pavle now. I decided that this day I’ll scavenge for food and get something stocked up. That night I paid a lot of attention to the city map that opens up. It made the city feel like a scary intimidating place that was mysterious and uninviting but a necessary task. For the first time it gave the game a feel of scale. I packed my bag chockfull of supplies that I already had and went scavenging. Soon I realized how idiotic this was since now I didn’t have enough inventory space to carry all that I could find. I also had a tough time deciding what to grab from the resources I found given my limited inventory space. I felt foolish and depressed at this point knowing that I had subjected my characters to another day of hunger.

    Day 3 started and I got the message that I had been raided the last night while Bruno was out scavenging. I had built two beds hoping Katia and Pavle both get a good night’s sleep but now they were wounded. This moment really drove home the gravity of the situation in the game. I got an idea of the many variables I have to manage in the game. It became overwhelming. I decided to stop “playing” for the day.

    I’m usually not a strategist and tend to do poorly in strategy games preferring the twitch genre or adventure games or open world exploration games. All the while I was playing the game, I felt like my foolishness was going to let people die. But at this point I also wondered about the point of the game. Does it want me to find the optimal solution for the game? Is saving everyone the challenge of the game? Or is the game designed such that the resources are very limited and the game is forcing me to make hard choices in the future? I’ll find out soon.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 28th, 2015 at 01:16:30.

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    omeysalvi's This war of mine (PC)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Sunday 25 January, 2015

    omeysalvi's opinion and rating for this game

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