This article originally appeared on VICE Asia
Ever wondered what Red Cross volunteers actually do? Well now, you can actually live a day in their life through everyone’s favourite survival sandbox game Fortnite. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) teamed up with Fortnite to create an insightful glimpse into the organisation’s role in helping save the world.
The game mode, called Liferun (a quirky take on the Deathrun game mode on Fortnite’s creative mode), consists of a series of challenges that recreate tasks the ICRC is involved in. From building houses for families in war-afflicted areas to delivering aid in the form of food and bandages, Liferun takes your typical third-person shooter and adds an educational spin.
It’s clear that the mode isn’t meant to be very difficult. For example, one of the challenges involves driving across a minefield, stopping intermittently to defuse mines, and well, that’s all there really is to it. It’s no Dark Souls, but if you’re already a fan Fortnite and are looking for an informative and wholesome way to kill some time, I’d say it’s worth trying out.
Having never played Fortnite before, I was a bit uncertain about what to expect with the game mechanics. Used to the fast-paced, high-octane gameplay style of Apex Legends (another sandbox survival shooter), it took some time to get used to the almost weightless feel of the avatar. The first of four challenges I was placed into involved the avatar moving around a ruined and war-torn city, searching for survivors to shoot bandages at. That didn’t go very well as it took me 2 minutes to find the first downed civilian.
Another challenge involves jumping across a field of icebergs in order to secure building supplies to build houses and schools for refugees. Another had me skiing down steep slopes, collecting supply drops, and delivering them to remote villages. This was the most fun because the hover snowboard had the most weighted controls, and if you pressed the shift key, you could get a boost, which led to me spending a good 2 minutes trying to land a frontside 180 instead of delivering life-saving supplies to the villages below.
After falling down a couple of rock faces and being swept into an icy abyss, I finally got the hang of it and completed the four challenges with relative ease. It took me about 20 minutes to do so.
Overall, what the game lacks in execution, it makes up for in its intentions. It’s a fun and innovative way to draw an eager crowd to an important message.
If the challenges seem a bit specific, that’s because they represent the work that the ICRC does to help people the world over. Delivering humanitarian aid, clearing fields of deadly explosives, and building houses for the displaced, it’s a far cry from our cushy existence of playing Fortnite on comfy gaming chairs.
It’s a great way to pique people’s interest in humanitarian aid, although true education would probably have to come from further reading. For a video game, though, it’s pretty impressive. It’s not often we get to see what’s on the other side of violence, especially when we’re so used to the gun-running, grenade throwing, bunny-hopping world of online shooters.
At the end of the game, players are invited to donate to the ICRC, so you can also make real-world contributions to the humanitarian relief effort.
If you’d like to play the Liferun game mode or offer a contribution to the ICRC (A pro-gamer move), click here to get started. The game mode is playable on all devices that support Fortnite!