For decades, video games have been criticized for their alleged promotion of violence and contribution to mass shootings in the US. However, organizations such as the Red Cross are now using video games as a medium to raise awareness of the consequences of war and encourage ethical gameplay.
The “Play by the Rules” campaign, launched by the International Committee of the Red Cross, urges gamers to play popular shooting games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty while following the international rules of war.
While wars continue to occur around the world, international laws and treaties have been established to prohibit or condemn certain behaviors during acts of war, such as attacking civilian populations.
Unfortunately, there are still instances where these laws are not upheld, as seen in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The Red Cross hopes to address this issue by bringing the rules of war to the virtual world.
The Red Cross has collaborated with several Twitch content creators to encourage players to avoid committing war crimes during gameplay. In addition, the organization has even created its own version of Fortnite to further promote ethical gameplay and raise awareness of the consequences of war.
The official website of the initiative states, “Every day, people are playing games set in conflict zones right from their sofa. But at this time, armed conflicts are more frequent than ever. And for the people who suffer its effects, this conflict is not a game.
It destroys lives and leaves communities devastated. Therefore, we challenge you to play FPS with the real rules of war, to show everyone that even wars have rules, rules that protect humanity on the battlefields in real life.”
Throughout the campaign, content creators have attempted to play various shooting games, including PUBG, Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, Rainbow 6 Siege, and Escape from Tarkov while following the rules of war.
These rules include refraining from shooting downed or unresponsive enemies, avoiding targeting non-violent NPCs, and avoiding targeting civilian buildings. The use of medkits with all players is also encouraged.
While the concept of raising awareness of war through shooting games may seem controversial, it is not the first time that the Red Cross has used video games for their awareness campaigns.
Video games have proven to be a powerful tool in transmitting messages and educating people on various issues, including those related to conflicts such as the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The Red Cross hopes that their “Play by the Rules” campaign will encourage ethical gameplay and promote a better understanding of the impact of war on communities.