Some play games for simple entertainment, for their propensity for fun. Others still, play games to escape our tumultuous reality, but what happens when the conflicts of the real world meet video games? You get a game like Riot Simulator. In this indie title, you play as either a protester or pi- police officer, and get to experience riots and protests first hand. The events taking place ingame are based on real world demonstrations, retold by those who actually experienced them. I recently got the chance to speak to Riot Simulator’s creator, Leonard Menchiari, about his personal experiences and clashes with police, and find out about his upcoming title.

​(photos of Leonard's' backpack with the Banksy-riot logo cross stitched by his girlfriend Noemi, and his tools of the trade.)

​(photos of Leonard’s’ backpack with the Banksy-riot logo cross stitched by his girlfriend Noemi, and his tools of the trade.)

Could you tell us about yourself and your studio?

I don’t really have a studio, I mostly work online with a laptop. This is that I need, I usually just need my backpack.

How did the idea for this game come to be?

After witnessing, personally, some crazy and brutal battle scenes that were happening in my country, and after watching all the lies that the news injected into people’s minds in order to deviate the attention towards something else, I decided to try and send out the messages that people have been struggling to communicate through other media. After a few tests, and considering the power that videogames have as a communication tool, this was the style I ended up liking the most.

Can you describe your personal experience with demonstrations and protests?

Once you find out how many people are actually fighting for your rights, it becomes kind of hard to ignore all the following protests that you encounter. To describe all this with words is nearly impossible. You must experience it yourself in order to fully understand.

first personal experience with the NoTAV movement at Chianocco in 2012 where several innocent people got brutally beat up and chased into the town involving also people that had nothing to do with the movement. The news created a story about how the police got violently attacked and injured by terrorists and how justice heroically prevailed once again

first personal experience with the NoTAV movement at Chianocco in 2012 where several innocent people got brutally beat up and chased into the town involving also people that had nothing to do with the movement. The news created a story about how the police got violently attacked and injured by terrorists and how justice heroically prevailed once again

 

What was the craziest story you heard from others about riots and protests?

Most of the best stories I’ve heard will be shown in the game. The in-game experience will be much more efficient than a written description.

When will the title be released? For what platforms?

The release date is still unknown. So far it’s almost 100% certain that it’s going to be in 2015. Platforms will be as many as we can pull off (mac, win, linux, ios, android, winphone, etc)

What can these movements do differently, the protesters portrayed in your game, what can they do in the real world to be more effective?

I do not have the answer to this specific question, but hopefully after playing the game it’s going to be easier for people to find some interesting ideas.

Did you find it fun to play as police? Despite any real life prejudice?

Of course. As much as playing as the protesters.

How does the game play differ from protesters to police?

Police plays more like a classic RTS, where you give direct orders to the units that you have in control. On the other hand, protesters are controlled as a whole crowd, with simple and organic actions based on movement and crowd psychology.

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What is the objective of the game?

Each map will feature three main objectives:

– hold the area

– clear the opposing faction

– reach an area

The way these objectives are achieved is completely dependent on the player’s tactical decisions.

Where does your studio wish to move to after this title?

So far the main focus is to complete this title. After this project is going to be completed, I’ll be thinking of everything else outside the boundaries of this game.

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