Most war games focus on dramatic on-the-ground heroics, but Unmanned illuminates the effects of drone warfare from a pilot’s perspective
According to mainstream video games, modern warfare is all about cyborg arms, laser shields and jarheads blowing up baddies under the guidance of recognisable character actors. However, the frenetic antics of the Call of Duty series and its ilk are behind the times. The drone pilot protagonist of 2012’s free indie game Unmanned is a more accurate representation of a modern soldier: a man who plays video games with his son every weekend, and who has also killed countless foreigners from a grey-walled cubicle in Nevada.
You play an American warrior, square of jaw and beefy of build, who works from an office out in the desert. A click of his mouse sends tons of missile plummeting from anonymous drone planes with an eerie blank space where you’d expect to see a cockpit. Beneath his grainy monitor’s crosshairs, the insurgents-planting-IED pixels are indistinguishable from the children-playing-catch pixels. He is death from above by day and suburban family man by night.