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Pinoy finishes video game about Vietnam War after 17 years

By Christian Imperio Published Oct 14, 2020 6:00 am Updated Oct 14, 2020 6:25 am

The coronavirus disease 2019 lockdown has forced everyone to remain indoors in order to curb the further spread of the dreaded virus. Under the new normal, most people have found new hobbies and interests while others opted to catch up on their favorite series or gaming backlog just to pass the time.

A Filipino environmentalist in Quezon City, however, saw an opportunity during the lockdown and decided to finish a video game that’s been sitting in his computer for 17 years.

In an interview with Geeky.PH, Tiger Yan said that his personal project, called The ‘Nam: Vietnam Combat Operations, started when he was still in college in 2003. The game is a free downloadable mod based on the 1999 classic Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun.

Yan said that although he’s continually working on the game, he had to set aside his project in 2005 in order to concentrate on his career. But then, the pandemic happened and like most people, Yan had to remain indoors for the most part of 2020.

“This gave me time to actually sit down and finish the project and more importantly, share it with other people,” Tan said.

In The ‘Nam: Vietnam Combat Operations, users can choose to play as the US Marine Corps or the Vietcong and People’s Army of Vietnam.

“Marines can draw support from additional service branches like the Army for Special Forces (SF) troops, plus the Air Force and Navy for land and carrier-based air support, plus the allied Army of the Republic of South Vietnam (ARVN),” the game description read. “The VC and PAVN can set-up and capture villages or go underground and fight from hidden tunnel systems. The game has over 100 units ranging from Marine riflemen to Vietcong guerrillas, all the way to water buffalo, villagers and even Indochinese tigers prowling through the deepest parts of the bush.”

Yan shared that since he’s been “informally studying the Vietnam War for so long,” he decided to try to impart what he read in books, watched in films and learned from real Vietnam War veterans into a videogame.

“Fortunately, my day job took me around the world (I'm an environmentalist) so I was able to go to Vietnam thrice and Laos and Cambodia separately,” Yan shared. “I took every opportunity to talk with old Vietnamese people, visit war museums, battlefields and even the two most important figures in Vietnam's modern history: Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen Giap, who defeated the Japanese, French, Americans, Cambodians and Chinese. He's one of my boyhood heroes. ”

Videogame developer Tiger Yan in front of a US F4B Phantom jet shot down near Hanoi in Vietnam.

“I was always interested in the Vietnam War. I make scale models, collect books, uniforms and memorabilia about the Vietnam War. I still do,” Yan said. "I was also able to visit 'The Wall', the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC in the United States several times, where I met and talked with old American veterans. At this stage, the game was about 50 percent complete."

The ‘Nam: Vietnam Combat Operations can be downloaded here for free.