The Truman National Security Project is releasing a web-based video game today that puts players in the shoes of the President of the United States in a war against Iran.
Titled Tell Me How This Ends, the choose-your-own-adventure simulator is designed to teach users about the cost and consequences of military action with Iran by using news reports, government briefings, and showing the player the outcomes of their actions.
A spokesperson from the Truman National Security Project, Stephanie Dreyer, told Polygon that Tell Me How This Ends isn't about glorifying the actions of one nation over another. It's about raising awareness of the reality of going into war with Iran.
"The public debate over military action against Iran is missing an honest discussion about the costs and consequences," Dreyer says. "The game is designed to bring a reality check to the conversation and help everyone better understand the costs. Policy simulations are very common inside the DC beltway and we wanted to bring that kind of experience to Americans across the country."
"Americans need to understand the costs and consequences of war with Iran because no one can tell us how this ends."
Dreyer says that Tell Me How This Ends bears few similarities to traditional war games. It's a careful and considered approach to war that has been developed by former members of the Department of Defense, military experts, and a technical team in Colorado led by Berger and Fohr.
"It's our goal to accurately simulate the choices a President would face during a military engagement with Iran and provide players with the choices and costs. It is not a pro-America or anti-Iran game; it's a simulation."
And it's a compelling simulation at that. Despite not having the action and adrenaline rush that accompany most war games, Tell Me How This Ends presents an authentic simulation where players have to make difficult, world-changing decisions. Players find themselves having to decide whether they should attack Iran on their own or form a coalition with allied forces. They must observe and respond to media reports, government briefings, while also keeping an eye on the impact any potential war has back home with regards to oil prices and public opinion.
It is startlingly confronting and incredibly relevant.
For a game that consists of text, images, and videos, it is startlingly confronting and incredibly relevant.
"Americans need to understand the costs and consequences of war with Iran," Dreyer says. "Because no one can tell us how this ends."
Tell Me How This Ends launches today and can be played at www.TellMeHowThisEnds.com. An accompanying television ad featuring US Army veteran Justin Ford will begin airing on October 22nd during the national security presidential debate.