Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Film and Electronic Arts
Project Advisor 1
In video games, there is always a winner and a loser. Either you emerge victorious or you die. But what if, in spite of the win/lose game design structure, the conflict between two enemies continues and the game never ends? Would you keep playing? Would it even be fun anymore? Or maybe, just maybe, would you slowly take your hands off the keyboard, give up, and die?
(DIS)SOLUTION uses interactive digital media, primarily Internet-based video games, to seek a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Looking at these games and analyzing their content and representations of players, the ideologies motivating their creation are made evident. In one game, I desperately scrambled to shoot Palestinian qassams out of the air before they reached and destroyed Israeli cities. Soon, all of the cities I had been defending are destroyed and I was left with a distinct unsettling feeling about the safety of Israel. Just as I was getting over those feelings of uneasiness, I discovered another game in which I played a lone Palestinian in Gaza trying to defend the Strip from incoming Israeli missiles. It was the exact inversion of the other game and aroused a similar, though reversed, existential anxiety. These inverse ideologies, I believe, are what primarily mar the peace process and, therefore, keep the region in constant conflict.
Throughout my time reading about Israel’s history, playing these games, and editing my project, I tried desperately to find a solution, or even a proper ending to the film, but found that to be a difficult, if not impossible, task. The more I learned about the Conflict, the more daunting, divisive, and discouraging it appeared to be. It was easy to regurgitate ideas about one- and two-state solutions, but the feasibility of those ideas coming to fruition appeared to be very grim, especially as it pertained to two increasingly polarized peoples. Because of the hopelessness I was feeling about the endurance of this Conflict, I decided to step away from the games and get steeped into reality, to find a way that the knowledge and perspective that I had gained in playing these games could inform my actions and decisions in a movement towards peace. This is where the film ends, in a mixture between real and rendered, Israeli and Palestinian, winner and loser.
You can access a version of the film here.
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Gallagher, Clara Derrick, "(DIS)SOLUTION: An Exploration of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Through Video Games" (2016). Senior Projects Fall 2016. 40.
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