Freelance reporter as video game hero

Video games could be used to train the journalists of the future, according to the developers of one upcoming title that casts the player not as an action-hungry warmonger, but as a freelance reporter.

Unlike games heavy on guns and bombs, tools used by the protagonist in Global Conflict: Palestine, due out this month, include a notebook, a pen and a newshound’s instinct.

Explosions figure, but this latest in a line of “serious games” dealing with real-world issues sets players on a mission to report the Middle East conflict for a newspaper using objectivity and a newsman’s instinct. Set in Jerusalem, the game employs 3D graphics familiar to many gamers, but the release is all about telling a story.

“The role as a journalist was chosen as they are the perfect vessel to investigate and gain knowledge from both sides of a conflict,” Troels Landerholm of Danish developers Serious Games Interactive told

“The plot evolves around several themes taken from real-life accounts that the player will investigate as a journalist. These themes include terrorist suspects, suicide bombs, check-points and more. It is not an action game but rather based on dialogue for interviewing and discovery.”

Global Conflict: Palestine, which can be bought for download or delivery after finishes touches are complete later in June, has been developed with support from the European Union and Danish government.

The title is a learning tool aimed at students aged 13 to 19 as well at those who want to gain a better insight in to news from the Middle East and, with BBC News reporter Alan Johnson’s continued detention in Gaza keeping the Israel-Palestine issue in the headlines, could even find some use in journalism classrooms.

“Journalism schools could also benefit from the game as it does deal with many the issues in journalism such as the role of
the media,” Mr Landerholm said.

“In Global Conflicts: Palestine, the player will be subject to dangers as a journalist very close to the conflict – and will feel a part of the conflict at certain points rather than a passive observer. It is very important for us to get the player involved in the conflict through gripping personal stories and realistic events. We seek involvement and emotional reactions from the players.”

A follow-up title set in Latin America is expected to cast the reporter amongst drug lords and government corruption in Colombia, Guatemala and Bolivia.