Covering the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as a Journalist
Global Conflicts: Palestine takes a very different approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from Peacemaker; rather than casting you as one of the opposing leaders, you are a journalist, and rather than making high-level decisions, you are exploring a 3D environment meant to represent a section of Jerusalem.
In each of six missions, you must investigate a story--in one, a checkpoint where Palestinians are being screened for entry--and interview the people you meet. In each, some newsworthy event occurs--e.g., a suicide bombing. You are permitted a limited number of "quotes," and must choose when, during a conversation, you choose to write a quote down in your notebook. At the end of the mission, your story is submitted to your editor, and scored--on the basis of the quotes, and the political bias of the paper you choose to write for (you can choose an Israeli, Palestinian, or European paper).
The way to get the highest score--that is, to submit articles that receive the highest attention from the readership--seems to be to choose either the Israeli or Palestinian paper, and slant your coverage, making it as inflammatory as possible. The difficulty with this, however, is that the NPCs remember your bias in future missions, making it harder to get quotes and cooperation from one side or the other.
The actual gameplay reminds us most strongly of Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective, one of the first CD-ROM games (and preceded by a tabletop version). In both games, you move about a city interviewing people; in Sherlock Holmes, the eventual outcome is the solution of the mystery, whereas here it is a news article, but the dynamic is similar.
While Global Conflicts: Palestine does not have the overwhelming emotional impact of PeaceMaker, it's a worthy and very different take on the subject--and worth a look both by those interested in these issues, and those interested in how game techniques can be used to illuminate our world.