This game in the Gaza Strip won’t let you win


There is an inescapable The weight when you fall into the world Lila and the Shadow of War. You play as Liyla’s father, jumping over rubble, hiding behind the trash can, and avoiding the Israeli bombs that hit the Gaza Strip. Your goal is to protect your daughter. But you can’t-no matter how many times you play, no matter what you do. Unlike typical mobile games, like war itself, there are no extra lives, no superpowers, and no victory.

A dangerous idea

“I saw a photo of a father holding the body of his dead daughter. I asked myself, what if I can’t protect my family? What if this happens to me?” For Rasheed Abueideh, 37-year-old father of four children In other words, this is not an imagination, but a very real possibility.

In 2014, at his home in Nablus, the Palestinian software engineer witnessed Israeli ground bombings and airstrikes hitting the West Bank just 130 kilometers from him. This triggered an idea that scared him, an idea that might make him lose his freedom: making a video game about war.

“I live in Palestine. If you do something that makes noise, you are risking your freedom.”

He started working secretly, carefully not sharing anything on his social media platform. He formed a team composed mainly of international members-so as not to put anyone at risk.This is the beginning Lila, A 20-minute platform game/choose your own adventure mobile game, deeply influenced by its art style and gameplay Limbo And some story beats The last of us.

But Abueideh doesn’t want to use his game as an escape from reality: “Palestinians in mainstream media are always dehumanized. Their personal stories are not reported. They ignore our existence, we have feelings, and we live under attack. Next, we don’t have the rights of other people in the world. I’m trying to do something to break it,” he told WIRED in an interview.

Set up dynamics

Abueideh makes sure you know that the game is based on real events. This is the first message you encounter when you start playing the game, and you can feel it throughout the game.

Many (if not all) elements in the world Lila Taking photos taken during the war as a model, it was refined into a very minimalist style of art, relying heavily on silhouettes, with no color at all, except for the flares of rockets and exploding feathers. For Abueideh, the possibility of reality is an essential part of his development.

“Actually, people are killed. This is not just a game. It has a deeper meaning. So by connecting all these images, I want to accurately reflect what happened and be able to accurately convey the emotions of the characters. .”

It is this effort that accurately reflects what happened, which is the most challenging for Abueideh. In the two years he was developing the game, he had to read and watch the footage of the war over and over again. “Sometimes I really cry when writing code or designing games. It’s hard,” Abueideh said. “The war lasted 51 days, and I repeated it for 2 years.”

In 2016, the year of its release, Apple wants Abueideh to reclassify Lila Under the “News” or “Reference” category in the App Store, not under “Games” because it is considered political information.This brought a wave of player support, which eventually prompted Apple to make concessions and show Lila As a game.


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