Journalists Create Counter-Strike Map with Secret Room to Deliver Ukraine War News to Russians

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Image: Helsingin Sanomat

Video games may be the next thing that Russia looks into banning as part of its effort in controlling what people see, hear, and write about regarding the war in Ukraine. Helsingin Sanomat, a Finnish newspaper, commissioned two designers earlier this year to create a map for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive that features a secret room where Russians and other gamers can hang out and receive “real-life war news” regarding the happenings in Ukraine. The map, called de_vonya, is available to download now, and the room can be found near a monument of eternal flame, according to a website that Helsingin Sanomat has set up to advertise the effort.

From a Helsingin Sanomat post:

After the start of the war on Ukraine, Russia has banned its citizens from accessing such online services as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as the sites of several Western media, including Helsingin Sanomat. Due to this, a large proportion of Russians are not aware of what is going on in Ukraine, for example.

This sparked a crazy idea: Could we create a place in Counter-Strike, where the millions of young Russian men playing this first-person shooter game would be forced to face the terrors of the war in Ukraine?

From a GamesRadar+ report:

“Russians have very little chance to receive independent information about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” Helsingin Sanomat editor-in-chief Antero Mukka tells GamesRadar+ in an email.

“However, the gaming world and gamers themselves are still left unchecked. That’s why we decided to hide a newspaper inside the world’s most popular war game. We built a map of a Slavic city devastated by a war, inside the game, with a secret room that offers Russian gamers an uncensored access to the horrors of the war in Ukraine in their native language.”

Image: Helsingin Sanomat

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Tsing Mui
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