Shoot Tatmadaw in ‘PDF Game’ to raise money for real PDF to shoot Tatmadaw

Screenshot from ‘The PDF Game.’
Screenshot from ‘The PDF Game.’

The devs behind a mobile game that pits players against the Tatmadaw said this morning they have raised about MMK70 million (US$38,000) since last month that will be donated to resistance forces.

The anonymous team behind third-person shooter The PDF Game, named for the so-called People’s Defence Force fighting against the junta, said a surge in popularity had netted the equivalent of MMK14.5 million since May 1 alone, with more than 100,000 now playing the game. 

In the game, which is playable in Burmese or English, players take the role of PDF soldiers fighting against the junta. Though it is a free download, players watch in-game ads that raise money for donation to the Spring Revolution.

Aung Kyaw, a 29-year-old player in Yangon’s Sanchaung Township, told Coconuts today that the game reflects what’s happening in the real world. As soon as players enter the game, Aung Kyaw said they are greeted by protests – and the atrocities carried out by the military which prompt players to escape into the forest to join resistance fighters.

“It’s fun to play as you can see the ads in the game that fill in as much ammunition as you need,” Aung Kyaw said. “Now, I’ve already completed 20 missions.”

The developers, who began work on the game eight months ago remotely outside Myanmar, said playing the game therefore helps fund the real-life resistance based in the jungle.

What they haven’t done is shown any evidence yet of those funds being transferred to the PDF or civilian government in exile known as the National Unity Government. In a recent post, the devs said it takes a month and three weeks to claim the ad money and then another two weeks to distribute the funds. The devs had not responded to messages sent via social media as of publication time.

Screenshot from ‘The PDF Game.’

The game was released on Android in March with an iOS version following late last month.

“Heroes vs Fascists” reads the game’s loading screen before prompting players to answer if they want to join the PDF. 

Players can take on male or female soldiers and assign them nicknames. Then the game enters a training session, where the first 30-second add brings in-game ammunition and, of course, the money the dev team vows to donate. 

From there, team leader Bo Toot Pe instructs players how to play the game inside a jungle setting. That’s when you can let blast on Tatmadaw soldiers while supporting the Spring Revolution without risking any real-life harm. 

The devs told Irrawaddy that they plan to add more to the game.

“We get good input from the players,” one of the anonymous devs said. “The tips have made the game even better after a month. Although there are still some minor errors, there will be new missions next month.”

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