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Chile video game brings to life resistance fight against Pinochet dictatorship

By Natalia A. Ramos Miranda

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - With the sound of helicopters whirling and Chile's La Moneda presidential palace ablaze, a virtual couple join the resistance movement against a military dictatorship in a video game released ahead of the 50th anniversary of Chile's 1973 coup.

Creator and Chilean sociologist Jorge Olivares spent six years working on the espionage video game 'Dirty Wars: September 11', set during Augusto Pinochet's 17-year dictatorship and referencing the date he led a coup against socialist President Salvador Allende.

The coup was part of a wave of military rule in South America in the 1970s that left thousands dead, disappeared, tortured and exiled. In Chile, democracy was only restored in 1990 and the memories of the period still loom large.

Olivares said the main protagonists of the 'stealth' genre game, that typically allows players to remain undetected by hiding, were inspired by his own family.

"The main characters are basically inspired by my parents' story," Olivares told Reuters. The couple in the game, Maximiliano and Abigail, choose to confront the military regime by joining a resistance group.

Chile on Sept. 11 will mark half a century since the coup, which saw a violent siege of the government palace in Santiago.

Olivares said his game, launched on online gaming platform Steam, was not intended as "Marxist propaganda" or an "allegory" for the Allende government. Instead, his intention was to "fully show the context of the time," at an important anniversary of the country's history, he said.

(Reporting by Natalia Ramos and Reuters TV; Editing by Lucinda Elliott and Josie Kao)