I have a Jewish and Arab heritage, meaning war is a large part of my family''s history and present. From World War 2 to Israel''s war against Egypt, Palestine''s current occupation, and the US''s involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya, the crimes of war are never out of my mind for long.
It''s wrong to call This War of Mine a game. It''s not fun, nor should it be. It''s more like a educational resource than a recreational activity, and it''s a frightening yet effective way for people who have been completely ignored by the war to be able to think about their lives.
The Final Cut, an upgraded version of the 2014 title, is wreaking havoc on the planet. Today, media coverage reflects Russia''s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the International Development Unit slaining a journalist in Palestine, but this is a narrative that has remained constant throughout the years of modern warfare.
I was born in the United Kingdom so I had the opportunity to handle any actual conflict myself. I hope This War of Mine is as close as I will ever get. It would be dreadful to say that it''s like informing people about what happened, but it also makes you more comfortable in dealing with people who are just trying to survive.
Three peoplea cook, a footballer, and a firefightermanage to find a house to shelter in, but it was hit with a few aggressive artillery shells and is in desperate need of repairs. I cannot know who lived here before or what their fate is, only that this house is the only shelter we have.
Over time, we scrape the rubble and scavenge useful materials to build beds, chairs, and a stove, ensuring hot meals are prepared. In This War of Mine, basic comforts that those outside warzones take for granted are invaluable. A proper bed means rest, a hot meal means a full stomach. All this means people are better prepared for the challenges in the future.
Every day, a new dilemma arises: Should we use our last pieces of wood for a bed or as fuel to cook our final scraps of food? It''s an impossible process, but it must be made. My grandma remembered that she ate a small potato while working in a field, and that she cooked it in a small heater in their barracks. Everyone ate some grass as seasoning, and she said it was one of the best meals she''s ever had.
There is just too much food left to keep my group fed, though. I cant tell people to have a small bite each; they each eat one portion and thats it. Fortunately, another survivor comes by and we manage to trade some jewelry enough to keep us going another day or so, but our reality is becoming clear: people must flee to scavenge at night.
The first few nights of the war go well. While gunfire and explosions strike, the firefighter dives through the remains of buildings that are far beyond saving. Im sure he feels guilty that he''s thoroughly thorough in each night to keep everyone warm and fed, and that he assembles enough supplies each night to keep those who are alive. Eventually, people become more dissatisfied with raids, and the dangers become more difficult to combat.
The most powerful part of This War of Mine is figuring out how far you can go to ensure your own survival. At first, im angered by those who raid our house at night, but when our chef gets sick and we run out of medicine, I know that the only areas left to vanished are ones built by others who struggle to survive like us. I dont hate them or want them to die, but I cant let one of my own died.
After a couple of weeks of hardship, I was ready to cross to a local supermarket controlled by an armed gang. If I had to withdraw, Id at least refrain from stealing from people who could fight back. However, with the conflict becoming more intense and my access to these routes blocked, I could only put my morals aside and start stealing from my neighbors. At first, I stuck to their gardens and hallways, but I quickly removed them from their homes, grabbed whatever I needed. I have no idea how far
If Im dissatisfied with these decisions in a game, I can barely begin to imagine how difficult it is for people in Kharkiv or Tripoli. Every moment Im sitting in front of my screen is dismal. Even when I fix an old guitar so my group can have some music, the sound of artillery bombardments and gunfire remains. Nothing impairs it.
This War of Mine is no real success. It''s just the story of people suffering and dying as a result of their poor health. It''s my war, the gangs war, and nurses who are trying to keep the hospital open war. These are the risks that conflict may be waged by countries and regimes, but they also affect innocent people who are just trying to live their lives more than anything.
The stories of conflict have been felt for generations, and it transforms everyone it touches forever. My grandma rarely spoke about her war, but she kept a full pantry so shed never had to go hungry again, a habit my mother and I soon learned to pick up. This War of Mine is as relevant today as it would have been at any point in the last hundred years. Hopefully, it will not be so in the future.