Fed up with the failure of their country’s leaders to tackle pressing socio-economic problems, Bosnians have been creating video games lampooning top political leaders, starting with Bakir Izetbegovic, the Bosniak member of the tripartite presidency.
Politicians are already ramping up the nationalist rhetoric ahead of elections this autumn, but of more concern to many Bosnians are poverty, unemployment and corruption. Moreover, the country’s extremely unwieldily political system makes it difficult for ordinary Bosnians to effect change through elections.
The first video game, El Bake collects money in Bosnian cities, features a masked robber resembling Izetbegovic, who picks up money along a role while the player has to avoid police cars, protesters, potholes and other obstacles.
The creators chose to stay anonymous, but say in the game’s description write that “If you do not find yourself among 100,000 people who are employed, and you have too much time, then this is an ideal game for you” — an apparent reference to the jobs Izetbegovic promised, and largely failed, to create.
Bosnia’s unemployment rate is among the highest in Europe since many of the country’s main industries were destroyed by the wars of the 1990s and never recovered. It has been improving recently however, with the unemployment rate falling to a historic low of 37.5% in January, after dropping below 40% for the first time in years in April 2017.
As El Bake went viral in Bosnia, it was followed by another video game, Flappy Fahro, this time featuring rival Bosniak politician Fahrudin Radoncic of the Alliance for Better Future (SBB).
Radoncic is currently on trial on suspicion of influencing a witness to provide a false testimony in an investigation conducted by Bosnian and Kosovan prosecutors against Kosovo-born drug trafficking boss Naser Kelmendi, who was sentenced earlier this year.