Think you can solve Colombia's 50-year war? Reach for your mouse

Mon Sep 8, 2014 11:28am EDT
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By Peter Murphy

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombians will soon be able to sit around a virtual negotiating table as Marxist FARC rebels or the government to thrash out an end to 50 years of war in a video game mirroring complex real life talks to restore peace to the country.

"Adios a las Armas," or "Farewell to Arms," a finalist in a government competition in July for non-violent video games, aims to raise awareness about a peace deal being negotiated in Cuba which voters will back or reject in a referendum.

The game will be launched early next year and may be adapted for online play on social networks and mobile phones as well as being sent to schools and peace-promoting institutions in a country striving to end the long conflict.

"People think resolving the war is simpler than it is in reality ... (but) negotiations take place in a complex context where each actor has many interests and responsibilities to their supporters," the game's inventor, Javier Corredor, a psychology professor at Universidad Nacional, told Reuters.

With parallels to the popular board game Risk, "Farewell to Arms" players represent either the government, FARC rebels, right-wing paramilitaries or civilians, and compete for territory on a map of Colombia.

They play cards and roll dice - virtually via the computer - to pursue interests on the same topics being negotiated in Cuba and gain seats in Congress, with the winner the first one to take more than half of the parliament.


Colombian systems programmer Camilo Paez works on the video game "Adios a las Armas" (Farewell to Arms) in Bogota September 4, 2014.   REUTERS/Jose Miguel Gomez