Maybe Make Some Change, a text adventure, is our browser game of the week
Political games are hard to pull off: they're often heavy-handed and they nearly always miss the point. That said, Aaron Reed'sMaybe Make Some Change is an experience that's entirely different from any war game you've played in the last twenty years. It's a text adventure, it's a political statement and most importantly, it's a game that gets a conversation started about the war in Afghanistan.
The game makes great use of the limitations of the text adventure. You can only use certain verbs and, at the beginning, your only choice is "shoot." Even with the expanded verb set, you don't get a lot of options, which plays nicely into the idea that you're controlling an anxious soldier facing unknown terrors in Afghanistan.
As with any text adventure, you're limited to the keyboard for control and you can only use the verbs highlighted at the left of the screen to perform an action on any of the yellow words on the right. For instance, "shoot farmer," or "shoot insurgent." There's a small number of tiny scenarios to go through, only amounting to a couple minutes of work on your part.
When you're playing, background footage runs alongside audio clips. Most of the media is from first person shooters that deal with war, like Call of Duty or Counter-Strike. While it might seem like this is an anti-war game and if you read Reed's statement, you'll see it's partially the case, but it's not some hippy, flower carrying motive or blatant black and white game -- it's a game that seeks to highlight the confusion and tenseness of a soldier's life by showing how limited the options are in a place of war.
It's well worth playing, regardless which side of the war divide you're on. It might take a little while for you to get used to a text adventure, but as long as you remember the formula is always, "verb, noun," you shouldn't have too much trouble. You can experiment once you get new verbs too, hugging the sun, for instance.
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