How to use video games for advocacy work

Staff of the fictional humanitarian organization IDAP in Laws of War. Image from the game courtesy of Bohemia Interactive.

WASHINGTON — “Experience true combat gameplay in a massive military sandbox. Authentic, diverse, open — Arma 3 sends you to war.” So goes the battle cry of popular war-fighting video game, Arma 3, which sends its players into military combat between NATO forces and CSAT, an imaginary opposition.

In September, the makers of Arma 3 introduced an add-on module dealing with a subject that has never before been the focus of such a game: international humanitarian law, or IHL. Produced in consultation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the add-on — “Laws of War” — introduces a fictional humanitarian organization to the game to spread understanding of IHL among its 3.2 million players.

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About the author

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    Burton Bollag

    Burton Bollag is a freelance journalist living in Washington, D.C. He was based for a number of years in Europe (Geneva, Prague and Bratislava) and as chief international reporter for Chronicle of Higher Education reported widely from Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He has also done radio reporting (for NPR from Geneva) and TV reporting from various locations.