While it may appear controversial to some, a real time strategy game detailing real life riot situations and events is an extremely interesting use of gaming media and culture. RIOT – Civil Unrest is such a game, combining the stories of riots such as Indignados in Spain, Arab Spring in Egypt, Keratea in Greece, and NoTAV in Italy, with the power to place the player in the shoes of either the rioters or the police. This interchangeable character identification is definitely the redemption of a game that could easily be misconstrued as tactless and glorifying.
This is far from that however. With the game’s creator Leonard Menchiari having witnessed first hand the riots of NoTAV in Italy, the game sets out to tell the stories and experiences of those involved in the unpredictable violence of such events. Through this, players can gain an understanding of these contemporary issues. Play as the police and experience the brutality of mob mentality, or play as the rioters and fight for your message to be heard above the gunfire and shouting.
RIOT Civil Unrest will throw you deep into a low-bit version of real-world riots and decisions
RIOT takes the player into this position, providing certain decisions for them to take their own course of action. As police, decide when to bring out smoke grenades or if you want to use a water canon, or if you want to sub rubber bullets for live ammunition. As rioters, develop your own tactics; do you plan a retreat, or instead use weapons such as fireworks and molotovs to maintain a high level of aggression. Even the power of the media is brought into play, though if the success of this particular weapon will mirror real events such as those of Arab Spring will be reflected in individual levels remains to be seen.
Single player and both online and offline multiplayer modes are available, with a level editor providing the player the option to create their own riot events dictating aggression levels of both sides, weather, time, and obstacle positions all against uploaded backgrounds.
Already hugely popular on Steam Greenlight and set to be released Summer 2015 by Merge Games, RIOT aims to tell a contemporary story about real events, questioning both sides of attack, and allowing experiences to be shared through a simplistic, low-bit design.
Check the game out on Steam at http://store.steampowered.com/app/342310/.