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Arma 3 mod contest offers one-week journey to real-world conflict zone

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Videogame war is fun. Real war is hell. It's a distinction that Arma 3 studio Bohemia Interactive seems anxious to make with the addition of a new and unique prize to its "Make Arma, Not War" content creation contest: the company will send a lucky winner to a conflict zone on a humanitarian mission providing aid to people displaced or harmed by the ravages of war.

"As part of their collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Bohemia Interactive will also be handing out the Health Care in Danger Special Award," the contest website states. "Given to the entry which covers the topic of 'health care in danger' the best, the winner(s) will go on a one-week trip to an ICRC mission in a foreign country, organized by the ICRC."

At first glance, ensuring videogame characters receive proper care and treatment as prescribed by international law may not sound like as much fun as filling them full of lead, but that's why the prize has been added. Christian Rouffaer, head of the ICRC's international humanitarian law and videogames project, suggests in the video above one possibility that would see enemy soldiers taken prisoner prevented from respawning, giving a tactical advantage to the team providing the care.

Rouffaer said he couldn't reveal where the winner will go, no doubt in part because it's impossible to say where the Red Cross might be operating when the prizes are announced. Not all such zones are suitable, he explained, and the idea isn't to inflict the horrors of war but to educate and inform, and demonstrate the value of what the Red Cross does. The winner might spend the week with a surgical team operating in a stricken area or visiting refugee camps to experience "live interactions with people for who the war is a reality," Rouffaer said. "What we offer you now is a little window, to see the reality by yourself."

Submissions to the Make Arma, Not War contest will be accepted until October 28. Winners will be announced on January 15, 2015.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.