Israel Palestine Peace Talks December 21, 2015 16:34
Having an idea for a game about something of major importance to humanity such as the continual cycle of violence in the Middle East is daunting to say the least. My new game “mOre” has proved to be the most difficult game I have ever attempted. On the one hand I wanted it to offer players the opportunity to experience the feelings of the people living the conflict for real, coupled on the other hand with a compelling reward for interacting in a manner that would eliminate imposing pain, suffering, and loss in the pursuit of the security of a home. After just a few short months I had a game that worked well but it was so true to life it was absolutely no “fun” at all, and a game has to be fun doesn’t it, even in terms of my definition of the word.
For the next half year I struggled to find a reward powerful enough to motivate players to switch from taking from each other in order to expand, to combining with each other to expand even further. The "go to" method for centuries of taking turns to brutalize one another to get what they wanted has long been accepted as the way, not by the neighboring tribes contesting the territory in their small strip pf the earth, but by the rest of the world looking on from the outside.
How could I beat that? Who was I to presume there could be another way for the players of my game to find a lasting security that would transcend fighting for good.
Then on an eleven-hour plane ride from Paris to San Francisco, after I finished reading Paulo Coelho’s Pilgrimage, and just letting my mind muse on the story’s conclusion, I got my answer. In the story the hero, who is journeying in search for his metaphysical sword, realizes he will never find it until he knows what he is going to use it for: the sword is just a means to an end. The focus in the story switched in just the way I had to switch focus in the game and I realized the answer had been staring at me all the time.
In the game I realized that I could employ the one thing both players' tribe members shared – their souls; the foundations of their beings operating at a level deeper than their manipulated surface tribal identities causing their perpetual grief, as the bridge to develop peace between them.
If the players could notice how the souls of displaced refugees, regardless of tribe, automatically connected in a bigger picture, they would see perhaps an alternative route to a safer and longer lasting security – than the only option at the beginning of the game. In this respect the game actually shows you a more fulfilling way to win – Peace Talks if you are willing to listen and try.