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.

FIVE-DECADE CONFLICT   Continued...

 
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