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22 September, 2016

How video games are influencing war propaganda in Syria

The generation that grew up playing modern video games is now making media about war that reflects those influences, including in Syria, where militias are producing sophisticated propaganda films employing tropes from Western popular culture.

A recent film produced by a militia group in Syria, Ahrar al-Sham, is a particularly striking symbol of this new era of conflict footage. Shot using camera-equipped drones and wearable GoPro video recorders, the 15 minute film, entitled “Rage Wind,” documents part of a recent rebel offensive against Syrian government forces near the city of Aleppo.

The film traces the experience of three different Ahrar al-Sham fighters before, during, and after the battle. Employing a range of camera techniques, the filmmakers provide point of view video footage from individual fighters taking part in the battle, as well as overhead drone video showing the battlefield at large. Experts on conflict propaganda say that the animations, video insets, and camera angles in the film reflect modern video game aesthetics more than the formulaic propaganda of past conflicts.

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