In case you can’t tell from the title, this is a continuation from the last post. This time however, it just encompasses the small part I played in a group project that attempted to tackle the issue of migration through video games. My role within the group was to be the topic researcher. It was my job to examine various aspects of migration and give relevant information to the team so that they could create a game to tackle a problem within this field. Below you’ll see exactly what I’ve contributed to the game brief (similar to a game pitch document) itself and links to the blogs from the other members of my team.
Score/Objective/Winning/Losing/Competition: Since the player is controlling an immigrant from a Middle-Eastern country attempting to enter a fictional country (based off of the U.S. and European countries), the goal is to avoid a ban on immigrants in order to enter the country. After the player manages to enter the country, the game becomes even more difficult as they attempt to find work, maintain a job (if you get one), escape violence, and receiving very little help thanks to bigotry and a lack of help from most locals. NPC’s will occasionally help the player, but this will be rare and never as much as needed to actually ensure the player’s success. The player could potentially lose the game either because of deportation, starvation, or violence from criminals or nationals.
Why that method: Because of who our target audience is, we needed a story that someone could empathize with while also trying to explain how difficult life could be for an immigrant. One of the most important factors for helping immigrants to acclimate to a new culture and society is the ability to acquire a job with opportunities for advancement. Uncoincidentally, when this isn’t an option, it is often the cause for the problems that the host nation’s people tend to dislike and/or fear: crime, poverty or the devaluation of a neighborhood, drugs, a loss of jobs, etc. Therefore it was important for the player to recognize how extremely challenging it can be to actually go through this process and to show how only a little help and sympathy can make a drastic difference.
As mentioned, my job is minor and I mostly play an informative role while also trying to make sure that aspects of the game related towards immigration. Having a researcher is always necessary when creating a serious game. You’ll need someone to remain as informed as possible who can help keep focus on actually solving an issue. My group contained another researcher into the topic, as well as three designers whose blog posts make up the entirety of the game brief and links to their portions can be found below.
P.S. I should also note that this game was created from the perspective of Americans and recent political events have likely contributed to much of the thinking behind this.