As gamers, we spend an awful lot of our time killing things -- be they fantastic creatures or realistically rendered people.
How many of these games really make us think about the act of killing, though -- not to mention broader real-world concepts such as war? More often than not, killing is a fun activity to do in a game; we're generally not encouraged to feel guilty about it, and instead revel in the enjoyment we get from proving our superiority over rival players or the game's own systems. There are exceptions, of course -- titles like The Walking Dead, Heavy Rain and Spec Ops: The Line all have somewhat philosophical attitudes to violence, death and the consequences thereof -- but they're just that: exceptions.
In the interests of getting people thinking a little more about war and its effects, World of Tanks and World of Warplanes developer Wargaming.net has partnered with the charity War Child to promote the belief that "Real War is Not a Game." The campaign is intended to encourage people to think about the "real, unacceptable issues that children face in conflicts around the world today."
Back in September, Wargaming.net sold three different charity packages in World of Tanks' gift shop, with a quarter of the total sales revenue donated to War Child. Following the success of the campaign, which raised over €100,000 (about $136,000) Wargaming.net has decided to extend its partnership with War Child and other organizations to "support the efforts of ensuring that history is not forgotten, and that people will not repeat the mistakes of the past that have brought so much suffering to so many people."
Going forward, Wargaming.net will be actively supporting War Child financially and helping to raise awareness of the organization through the communities who play its games. The company hasn't yet announced exactly how it will be providing money to the charity -- it's highly likely we'll see more charity packages available for in-game purchase -- but as part of the campaign's educational component, it seems that Wargaming.net will be adding information about international humanitarian law and the struggles of children in conflict-stricken areas on its website and in the manuals for its games.
"Our campaign Real War is Not a Game is intended to make sure that even while children in safer countries play games that involve war and conflict, they will be able to understand more about the realities of war facing children in other places," explains Rob Williams, CEO of War Child. "We do not aim to stop all games involving conflict. Rather, we want to use the power of these games to educate huge numbers of people about the realities of war, and to mobilize them to use their energy and creativity to support children who are stuck in real conflict zones."