Video Games That Tackle Social Issues

Ellie and Riley

Video Games – we all enjoy it. Whether you’re young or old, a student or an employee looking to pass the time with a little fun; we all enjoy video games. It is a means for us, an outlet, to do the things we can not do in real life; to experience the things that is not readily accessible to the most of us. Video games also help us understand different types of people by having diverse and – for some games – very realistic characters. But, not a lot of us see the underlying meanings behind the video games we play and enjoy. The implications hidden behind the realistic graphics, the heart-warming soundtrack, and the innovative gameplay. Here is a list of some of the video games that tackle different social issues. Sit back and let us dwell deeper into the meaning of these well-known video games.

War“This War of Mine” 

Video Games: This War of Mine is a video game about civilians surviving in a war-torn city.
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Let’s start with a very well-known topic – war. We’ve all heard of different stories about war. And war has been a choice of topic or genre by a lot of video games. But, the creators of This War Of Mine, 11 Bit Studios, approached this genre in an innovative and immersive way. In this game, you don’t play as a well-trained-muscle-torn super soldier equipped with a planetary cannon. Here, you play as a civilian caught very deep in the war-devastated fictional city of Pogoren, Graznavia. You will struggle, because ‘gather’ is putting it lightly, for food. Scavenge for medicines or supplies and try your very best not to bump into soldiers or other hungry survivors.

The day and night cycle plays a significant role in the game mechanics. During the day, you’ll be managing your hideout in a very detailed manner; while keeping an eye on that sniper whose not letting you out. When darkness falls, you’ll be sneaking into buildings and areas for supplies; while avoiding being killed by other people seeking means for survival. You will also be making a lot of moral decisions; whether you’ll kill that one annoying person to save the whole group or watch as everyone slowly suffer. Add to that, the beautifully-made charcoal-style aesthetics; and you have a game that will leave you thinking and reflecting about war and its effect on the human soul.

 

Privacy“Watch Dogs 1 and  2″ 

Video Games: Marcus Holloway and the gang
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Have you ever felt like being watched? Like Big Brother is always around you, lurking in the dark, studying and recording your every move? We are living in the age and time of information and the improvement in technology is far from slowing down. Also, the number of people uploading all of their information in the internet is increasing. Which is why black hats are more eager to steal any sensitive information they can get their hands on.

Watch Dogs, is a video game about hackers waging war on the government for manipulating information and invading the privacy of their people. This video game does not really tackle or explain ‘hacking’ in detail; but it shows what hackers can do with the information that the people, themselves, gave out there in the internet. This game is a sweet reminder that internet privacy is sometimes just an illusion to make us feel safe. It also reminds us that the internet is a very dangerous place to be placing all of our information.

 

Social Difference – Multiple Video Games (Witcher SeriesLife is Strange, The Last of Us, other video games)

Video Games: The Witcher
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So what if you have white hair, feline eyes, sterile, and has high resistance, if not immune, to diseases? So what if you have pointy ears and lives longer than humans? We are all living things and we can co-exist if given the chance and consideration.

The Witcher series, which is set in the world of Temeria, is flooded with racism and discrimination. Elves and Dwarves are discriminated for not being human, despite the humans being the invaders of the land. Basically, humans are the foreigners and, yet, they are pushing away and abusing the original inhabitants of the land. Luckily, Geralt, despite being discriminated himself, acts as the median between the two worlds. That of humans and of ‘non-humans’. Geralt does not make any rush decisions when doing a job. He investigates first and looks for a way for both parties to work together. With an exception, there is no consideration to be given for evil-tainted individuals, human or non-human.

Video Games: Life is Strange
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Life is Strange is a video game that takes place in a small town called Arcadia Bay. A place where a lot of things happen. Including alcoholism, bullying, and child abuse. Child abuse being a social issue that’s very rampant nowadays; this video game shows the whole issue in a different perspective. You play the game and see the world through the eyes of a teenager with the ability to control time, Max Caulfield. The game also includes other issues like teenage pregnancy, social anxiety, and brats who think like they are on top of everyone. Max’s story is also a depiction of how it feels like to be bullied for being “not among the famous”. This is a game definitely worth checking out if you want a relaxing soundtrack and a story that is full of twists.

Video Games: Riley and Ellie
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The Last of Us: Left Behind, sparked a controversy when Ellie and Riley hinted quite a number of times about their feelings with each other. We all remember that photobooth scene, right? How about that scene where they dance to a tune and then unknowingly attracted a horde of infected? All of these hints led to one conclusion and a lot of people were shocked. Some related and found themselves in the position of the protagonists in terms of personal identity; some accepted the fact and were happy for the pair; but, for some…they just do not approve of the whole charade. The relationship they have and the characters themselves doesn’t actually raise an issue; but the different ways people responded to the writing of the game, present an issue on sexual discrimination.

There you go. Here are just some of the games that tackle some of the issues we are facing up to this day. There are still a lot of games that depicts issues not mentioned here. If you have played a game with an interesting theme, comment them down below and let’s have a talk. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Games With Gold, PS Plus Freebies For January 2017

Gold

With one of the worst years possibly ever behind us, the dawn of a new era (not really) has begun and with it comes more free games from Sony and Microsoft respectively.

Can they make up for all of the tragedies of 2016? Certainly not. Can they help us forget the truth if only for a moment? you bet.

Here are the January PS Plus offerings with a video briefly showing only two of the five freebies.

  • Day of the Tentacle Remastered – PS4 (Cross-buy on Vita)
  • This War Of Mine: The Little Ones – PS4
  • Blazerush – PS3
  • The Swindle – PS3 (Cross-buy on PS4 and PS Vita)
  • Azkend 2 – PS Vita
  • Titan Souls – PS Vita(Cross-buy on PS4)

Gotta hand it to Sony for their first offering of 2017. While Azkend 2 and Blazerush won’t exactly make you jump with excitement, having a cult classic like Day of the Tentacle, one of the best remasters possibly ever, and a tonally opposite survival game, This War Of Mine is quite a nice choice for the headliners.

I’ve wanted to try out This War Of Mine for quite a while due to all of the praise surrounding the game so this is a perfect opportunity to be miserable in a bleak world. Especially when you can wash away the grime with something as colourful and vibrant as Day of the Tentacle. 

Here are the Games With Gold offerings with a proper video. Please take note, Sony.

    • World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap – Xbox One
    • Killer Instinct Season 2 Ultra Edition – Xbox One
    • The Cave – Xbox 360
    • Rayman Origins – Xbox 360

I’m not sure I’m entirely on board with Microsoft’s offerings this month, though I cannot deny the positives of the bunch here.

It’s an excellent move for them to provide Gold subscribers with Killer Instinct Season 2, considering that Season 1 was free in the past. It’s a nice way to make us revisit a previously free game that might’ve been sitting there collecting dust for a while.

I am also quite a huge fan of tower defense games for what it is worth. And despite Van Helsing suffering from severe slowdown and some awful UI, it’s a pretty fun game to play while you listen to podcasts or music.

Rayman Origins is a nice finisher to the month, as it is a gorgeous platformer with some neat ideas on show.

This War of Mine: Guide to All Characters

War of Mine

Knowing everything about the characters in This War of Mine is extremely important, as it can make a difference between a win and a loss: some characters are great in some areas and weak in others, and knowing exactly when and how to use them, as well as how to take care of them, is essential for survival in the long run. Therefore, after multiple playthroughs, I have decided to create this guide to all characters in This War of Mine and help you know everything there is to be known about all the possible guys and girls you can play in the game.

Don’t forget to also check out our This War of Mine tips & tricks article – there are some helpful things in there as well. And now, let’s move to our This War of Mine guide to all characters.

Anton

He is a good mathematician, which makes him good at traps. He only has 8 inventory slots in the backpack, but also has the nice bonus of being insusceptible to depression.

Arica

One of the better characters in the game, she is perfect at sneaking and she could clear entire areas without being noticed or seen (she can literally break doors and not be heard!). She is a smoker and susceptible to depression or getting broken (if she gets there, she will steal supplies and run away), but simple acts of kindness keep her happy. Fortunately, she does not get upset when killing soldiers, which is really good as she can easily do one shot backstab kills. She only has 10 slots in her backpack.

Boris

A good guy, despite being really slow. He has a huge backpack with 17 slots, but he is indeed insanely slow so it’s best to use him in smaller areas or a collector after a faster guy creates a stockpile closer to the exit. He can get depressed and he’s a smoker.

Bruno

The cook of the game, he’s extremely useful at home since he needs less ingredients to cook food and alcohol or craft meds. He won’t get depressed easily, but won’t cheer up others either. He has 10 inventory slots, but it’s best to always keep him at home to do the cooking.

Cveta

One of the most useless characters in the game. She gets easily depressed and loves children which, really, I don’t know how it affects the game. She has 8 inventory slots and whenever I get her as a starting character, I go for a new game. Ha!

Emelia

She is a logical person and doesn’t get affected by murder. She is a coffee addict and she appears to get tired at a slower pace than the other characters. She has 10 backpack slots.

Katia

The character to have for getting better trading deals – which is actually her only big bonus. She has 12 slots in her inventory and a coffee addict as well. Nice to have around.

Marin

Another great character to have around: he needs less materials when building stuff, so he can make the difference in the long run. He is another coffee addict with just 10 inventory slots and gets depressed really fast. Good to keep at home to do the building.

Marko

One amazing character: a great scavanger who does everything faster, he also has a backpack with 15 slots, which proves extremely useful. He doesn’t have any addictions and even though the gets depressed or broken relatively fast, he gets better fast as well. The primary choice for scavenging in most situations.

Pavle

Not that good, even though he is extremely fast and has a decent backpack of 12 slots. He gets easily depressed and doesn’t recover well, but he helps others really nicely. He has no addictions, but he’s not great either – at best, the second choice scavenger if you have him in your game or the “mule” to send to create stock piles closer to the entry thanks to his speed.

Roman

The killing machine in your game, he is great with weapons and does 1 backstab kills as well. He doesn’t get depressed easily (make sure you have cigarettes around), but when he does he can attack your other survivors. Good character overall, even though I would always prefer to have Arica instead of him.

Zlata

Another not that great survivor whose only skill is to help the depressed characters get over it faster. She also plays guitar well and has 12 inventory slots, but she’s not one of my favorites.

So, there you have it! the guide to all characters in This War of Mine and all the details you need to know about them. It’s difficult to predict the bunch that you will get when playing the game (don’t forget that more will join as you play), so you always have to take advantage as much as possible of their bonuses and use them together as well as possible. There are worse teams that you can get, but this is part of what makes this game so amazing.

This War of Mine Tips & Tricks: The Ultimate Strategy Guide

War of Mine

We’ve talked a bit about the amazing This War of Mine recently in our review and I think it’s pretty much clear for everyone that I really, really love this game. One of the things that makes me enjoy it more than the regular crap that we get nowadays is its increased level of difficulty. This game is brutal on some occasions and apparently impossible on others, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t beat it – on the contrary, and the more you fail, the better you will feel in the end when you finally succeed.

Although the game is just as much about luck as it is about skill, we can still try to improve our chances of winning – and we’re here to help you do so with some This War of Mine tips and tricks: some advice that will hopefully have all it needs to become the ultimate strategy guide for players out there. And we’ll have everything from basic tips to more advanced tips on how to survive the winter and win the game. So… prepare to do some reading!

1. Explore the house ASAP
Every time you start a new game, you will get new characters and new loot, including the house. You should explore the house as soon as possible to get all the stuff in there and start building ASAP. Also, since almost always you will have at least one character who is sick, you need to do this to get medicine or bandages or something to get them feel better.

NOTE: Some players suggest that a better strategy with the house is that of not looting it at all until you are first raided to minimize the loss of resources. This makes some sense, but I haven’t tried it personally and I still prefer to start by completely cleaning out the house and use the resources to build things that can’t be stolen (like beds or oven).

2. Feed your survivors every other day
The biggest problem I have with This War of Mine is related to food: that’s pretty scarce and you need to micromanage it flawlessly to make it last. I would strongly suggest keeping as much food as possible at all times and even if you have a surplus, only feed your survivors every other day. They won’t be the happiest around, but it will work!

3. Guard duty at night, sleep during the day
I rarely – if ever – have any of my survivors sleep during the night. Two are on guard duty, while one is scavenging. This increases your defenses if you are raided and reduces the amount of stuff you lose. As soon as the new day begins, send at least two people to sleep, while the third is crafting valuable stuff. Switch them as soon as one’s up and you’ll keep all your survivors well rested and house well defended!

4. Home & Character tips
There are some minor things to have in mind when playing the game: if your characters have no vices (like coffee or cigarettes), you can easily trade those as soon as you get them. You can also double click an area on the screen to have your character run, and when in the house it would make most sense to build only on one or two levels, so that your survivors don’t have to cover a whole lot of distance when working in the house. I still haven’t managed to find out if it is better to build at the bottom or top or if it matters at all – it probably doesn’t right now, but in the future things that are hard to reach should be easier to protect, I guess.

5. How to properly scavenge
Always send the person with the most space in its backpack. If all equal and you have them, send a soldier or the best runner. It’s important to leave the area before 5AM, otherwise your survivor will get home later and there’s a chance of him being injured or even killed. So for large areas, Run for Exit at 3 AM to be safe, and for small areas, start running at 4 AM.

Food is the most important thing to get when scavenging, but always keep your inventory full and change things around as you play, replacing easy to get stuff with the rarest things. After food, bring back components, wood and medicine because these are extremely important as well.

Go for the safest areas first and try to scavenge them dry. Some have hidden items, so make sure that you investigate everything (when an eye symbol appears). Also, check out the details regarding the area you’re about to visit on the main screen – if there’s no food there, there’s rarely a point to visit.

Have in mind that the areas that you visit can be scavenged by others too, so that’s why it’s best to go for the easiest, undefended areas first, then work your way up.

Prepare to kill. It’s a tough world out there and you will eventually have to do it. The best way to do this is by being stealthy, but it all depends on the weapons that you have, the time that’s left and how the other characters are moving around. However, it’s usually the easiest way to get the resources that you need and save your life. It’s also better if you have Roman as the scavenger since he won’t become so sad after sending people to another world – but only use him to wipe out everything, then send somebody with a bigger backpack to do the cleaning. Don’t forget that others scavenge areas, though, so hurry up!

Remember the equipment that you need – when scavenging, you might not have access to some areas if you lack a lockpick or saw, or it might be a lot easier to advance if you have a shovel. I never got to an area where I couldn’t bring anything back home because I was blocked, so always do the recon first, take whatever you can and return with the proper equipment to clear out the areas!

5. Fighting tips
Fighting is extremely difficult in This War of Mine and best to be avoided. However, it can’t always be the case and the best areas in the game are the dangerous ones, so you have to be ready to fight. Fortunately, the easiest weapons to get – melee weapons – are extremely useful and lethal if used correctly. Learn to sneak behind a character for a quiet kill (select the knife and when it turns yellow, go for it!) or stay hidden, waiting for the character to pass you before slicing their throats.

Different strategies can be used here, but there’s no perfect one. What works best for me is drawing people to a hiding spot (make some noise by running around and hide – enemies will come to investigate, won’t see you and you can take them out). However, if you are outnumbered – and you will usually be, it’s better to be patient and have a safer strategy.

In the end, don’t worry too much about getting injured if you can finish the job. Your survivor will need to spend a few days in bed and use bandages to fully recover, but you will also get a lot of goodies from the heavily defended areas. So jump straight into battle during the first few games to know how it works and once you do, start a new game and work your magic!

6. The trading glitch
If you have Katia as a character, you can use a really interesting glitch (that will eventually get fixed): Go to the Military Outpost with 6 Moonshine and 20 Rolled-up Cigarettes and trade 3 Moonshine and all the cigarettes for anything you want. Then, you can start trading 3 Moonshine for 3 Moonshine and 4 Roll-up Cigarettes, meaning that in a few trades you’ll be able for another great trade. Make sure that you take advantage of this while it’s still possible!

For now, these would be our tips and tricks for This War of Mine players out there. If you have other gameplay suggestions and strategies to add, feel free to comment below and share them with us!

This War of Mine Review

war of Mine

I’ll start by being honest with you: I didn’t have any high expectations from This War of Mine – I had no expectations, actually, since I barely knew anything about the game. I’ve decided to purchase it, though, as part of the Steam Winter sale mostly because I am willing to try anything out at least once and if I can help a small studio, I’ll do it. Even more, I kept the game in my Steam library for a couple of days before eventually playing it for the first time and now I regret all the time that I have wasted.

This War of Mine is really more than a game: it’s an intense experience, a tale about survival, a tale that you write as you wish and a title that has a deep impact on any human being playing it. It’s not about fighting zombies and blowing stuff away, it’s about staying well fed and feeling powerless against the elements, powerless against the things that the God of Randomness throws at you. It’s real life – or as close as it can get to real life when wars, survival and video gaming are involved. It’s amazing.

This War of Mine throws you directly into the action. There’s no tutorial telling you what to do or where to go and you get the hang of everything slowly, as you experience the game. You’re thrown right into the survival situation and before you know it, you’ve already wasted an important day doing mostly nothing but keeping your survivors hungry and miserable. So this is how war might feel like!

this war of mine review 02

You control three different people, with three different backgrounds: a female reporter who can get a better deal when bartering items, a slow middle aged guy who can cook a great meal and a former soccer player who still has the pace to help you in messy situations. They all live in an almost destroyed building, with basically nothing but a bit of garbage to keep them alive and a dangerous city to explore. The fun part? You will probably get a different set of characters, because each time you start a game, three are randomly chosen from a poll of 12 existing characters (and hopefully more will be introduced in the future).

Each day is divided in two parts: the first one takes place during the day time, where you can search your house, interact with friendly or less friendly visitors, rest your survivors and craft things required to keep on going for one extra day. When the night comes, you can go scavenging – but you can only use one survivor and a backpack that will usually be too small for the things you’ll find during your trips. You only have your gut to tell you where to go and what to do and all actions are permanent. There’s no save option, you can’t retry again until you do it right, you don’t know what to expect. And you’ll most likely die before it’s all over. That’s the sad reality.

this war of mine review 03

And it’s exactly this grim feeling that you get, the suffocating pressure that you feel constantly while playing this gem that makes This War of Mine so incredibly amazing. Although not spectacular from a visual point of view – mostly tones of gray and black – it does exactly what it’s supposed to: it gives you a true, complete experience, and not only a game.

While playing it, I couldn’t help but compare it with the Rebuild series – because really, I don’t know of any other game that can be compared with it – and the more popular Rebuild simply fades in front of This War of Mine and almost feels like a colorful, worry-free, pointless piece of candy.

Therefore, all I can do is wholeheartedly recommend you This War of Mine. It’s an absolutely amazing game, a complete product that will amaze you, even more so if you are a survival freak like me. Two thumbs up – and I’d give it more if it were possible!

VgamerZz_1Final Score: 10/10