As I sit here writing this, the streets of Tel Aviv are filled with thousands - maybe hundreds of thousands - of people calling for the resignation of bungling war leader Ehud Olmert. By recent Anglo-American standards his mistakes were minor yet they still want shot of him. Demanding folk the Israelis, as you'll find out if you choose to play as their PM in this honest, harrowing, but ultimately hopeful simulation of Israeli-Palestinian hatchet-burying.
Feeling the hurt
I'm not a particularly emotional gamer (at least, I don't think I am) but the first time I realised I'd 'won' a game of Peacemaker, tears came to my eyes. The unexpected brine was coaxed out by a particular photograph on one of the final 'peace milestone' screens - a picture of carefree kids messing about on bikes on a summer evening. For much of the game you're bombarded with very bleak images: policemen rinsing blood off tarmac, parents inconsolable with grief, young suicide bombers standing before flags... All this authentic sorrow and tragedy inevitably generates some vicarious pain. When peace finally arrives (assuming it does) that pain turns to joy and relief. For a few poignant moments you get an inkling of what peaceful co-existence in the Middle East might actually feel like... what it might mean. Unusual territory for a videogame.