Collateral Damage is a geopolitical Minesweeper game.
Collateral Damage uses real data from the war
to inform the difficulty levels of the game as well as a counter that runs at the same rates at bombs were dropped and casualties incurred. When the player dies, the counters stop, and shows the player the year, the number of bombs dropped and the number of casualties that occurred at that time.
I conceived and executed every aspect of Collateral Damage,
During the Vietnam War, the United States engaged in a covert bombing operation that made Laos, a supposedly neutral territory in Southeast Asia, the most heavily bombed country in the world. (United States). From 1963 to 1964, the U.S. government dropped 270 million bombs on Laos, which averages about a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, for 24 hours, every day for 9 nine years. That’s nearly one ton of bombs per person living in Laos at that time. Of the thousands killed by these bombs, 98 percent were civilians.
Laos still feels the impact of this war today. Of the 270 million bombs that fell on Laos, 80 million remain undetonated in the soil. Hundreds of Laotians die from these undetonated explosive ordinances (UXOs) every year. Of those who die, a majority are children. The highest density of bombs was dropped on the Laos-Vietnam border, where Laos’s rural subsistence farmer population resides, so these people must decide if they must risk being maimed for their livelihood, or risk starvation or poverty.
COLLATERAL DAMAGE follows the mechanics of Minesweeper, a single-player puzzle game. The objective of the game is to clear a rectangular board containing hidden mines without detonating any of them, using clues about the number of neighboring mines in each field.
Unlike Minesweeper, however, COLLATERAL DAMAGE mimics the rate at which bombs fell in Laos per year during The Secret War, producing non levels of increasingly and seemingly impossible levels of play, advancing without the player’s permission. This is to simulate the Laotian’s lack of control of the atrocities occurring in their country.
When the game ends, the page automatically redirects to a minute-long infographic about The Secret War, and gives the player context as to what exactly they just participated in.
Many Americans know very little about the Vietnam War, and virtually none of them know about The Secret War that occured in Laos. The purpose of this game was to simply raise awareness and educate. In addition to a game and animated infographic, I provided fact sheets about The Secret War and the Indo-China Exodus, which was the wave of immigrants from South East Asia that fled their countries.