Can you tell the difference between a bottle top and a landmine?
That's the question posed by the new interactive 8-bit 'Sensing Danger' game inspired by and featuring four real-life MAG heroes from Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Zimbabwe.
The game is part of the immersive 'Sensing Danger' experience at the Royal Society Summer Science exhibition, featuring MAG, the University of Manchester and Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation.
Click here to take a walk in the virtual shoes of MAG deminers from around the world.
Antony Coonge in Sri Lanka
"I see the impact of my work. I see children playing on the land I cleared," explains Antony Coonge, one of the playable characters in the game and, in real life, a deminer with MAG Sri Lanka since 2014.
A three-decade-long civil war left Sri Lanka littered with landmines and other explosive items.
The fighting may have stopped in 2009, but its deadly legacy remains.
By clearing landmines, Coonge, 31, and her colleagues are helping to free communities from fear and support development, working to clear all of Sri Lanka’s minefields by 2025.
"Families are using the released land for their livelihood, especially for cultivation. I am proud that I make way for my community to use their land freely. This is encouraging me to do this job. My work gives others happiness."
Finding and destroying the indiscriminately deadly remnants of war is not a job for the faint-hearted, and Coonge’s family was understandably concerned when she first took the job.
"I applied for the position of deminer even though my mother was against it as the job was risky. After I joined MAG, the living standard of my family has significantly improved."
Ngern Kean in Cambodia
Ngern Kean, 55, has been with MAG for over 25 years.
The conflict between the Khmer Rouge, the Government of Cambodia and other factions left each of the country's 25 provinces contaminated with landmines and unexploded bombs.
Now working in her community in Battambang, Kean has been with MAG since the start of our programme in Cambodia.
In 1999, her expertise and experience saw her travel to Kosovo to be a part of MAG's emergency response to post-conflict recovery in the country.
“It is challenging working on the minefield because it is very risky, and sometimes the weather is so hot. But, I believe as long as I follow the standard operating procedures, I will be safe,” explains Kean.
“I am so proud of my work because it helps many people in the community to walk free from fear of landmines," she added. "They are now able to use their land to grow mangoes, rice, cassava and for other productive uses. I want to see my community living free from landmines.”
Stefan Vujic in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Stefan Vujic, 27, was born after the deadliest European conflict since the Second World War ripped through Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s.
By the time peace was secured in December 1995, more than two million people were displaced, and large areas of the country were contaminated by landmines and unexploded bombs.
More than 25 years later, the deadly legacy of the conflict is a barrier to socio-economic development, and it prevents those who fled during the conflict from returning home.
Stefan joined MAG in 2018. "I enjoy it the most when I find a mine," he says as he explains the pride he has for helping to make his homeland safer every day.
'Sensing Danger' gives players an insight into Stefan's day job, working to accelerate his country's progress towards a landmine free future. And, as a keen go-karter and fast car enthusiast, Stefan also has a passion for acceleration outside of work.
Raynold Marongedza in Zimbabwe
Raynold Marongedza, 33, has worked as a deminer for over ten years, with experience working in Afghanistan, Cyprus and now, with MAG, Zimbabwe.
As a Zimbabwean, Raynold is happy to be working to help clear his community of the deadly legacy of conflict, helping his country reach its goal of a Landmine Free 2025.
The landmines that litter Zimbabwe, particularly along its border with Mozambique, were laid during a conflict that ended almost a decade before Raynold's birth.
Over 75,000 women, girls, boys and men are thought to be directly affected by landmines in Zimbabwe's north-eastern region.
Since 2017, Raynold has been leading a team of deminers to clear those landmines, saving lives and building safer futures.
Raynold and his colleagues are supporting the return of safe land to communities to improve access to services, natural resources, land for agriculture and grazing pastures.
Source: Mines Advisory Group