Hope – a new impertinent game

The migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea is not getting any better. People are facing difficulties and death every single day. However, these individuals are rather seen as numbers with the consequence that, with some peace of mind, Westerners can discuss about them with some detachment. But we are talking about humans! For this reason, we wanted to make a game about it.

We have noticed that many citizens (families, neighbours, colleagues) do not really have a clue about what is going on with migrants. Mainstream media are spreading a huge amount of fake news which, unfortunately, generate more biases and conflicts between all kind of people. There are lots of misconceptions and the irritating ‘Us vs Them’ point of view is getting more ground day by day.

So, here we are. We have something in the pipeline.

The concept

Our game promotes empathy and wants to build awareness towards immigrants, their conditions, and their background. It is a storytelling game: the player lives the progress of the story with the characters by helping them to make decisions that affect their future.

Mechanic

We have got inspiration from a mobile game called ‘Reigns’ which in turn takes inspiration from Tinder (ya, Tinder!). At each step (=card), the user is required to make a choice between two options and to select the story follow-up.
The objective of the game is to save a Syrian family by helping them to reach Germany.
The user can die many times during the game for (1) finishing the money, (2) getting sick (which includes other types of death like drowning) or (3) have a mental breakdown.

Story

At the moment, the content we have is basic and, so far, we had the capacity to include only the skeleton of the Mediterranean Route.  We will possibly include the Balcanic Route in the future and we will enrich the story with more details.
The story is structured as follows:
  • Introduction: introducing characters and environment. The user will see it only at the very first time;
  • (iteration of ) Locations: every location has an ‘Entry Point’ (=card introducing the location) and an ‘Exit Point’ (= last card for a specific location that determines the change to the next location)
  • Ends: victory and defeat. The defeat scene is called whenever one of the life values (sanity, health, money) drops at/under zero. The defeat scene describes the reason of death with a sentence and an image according to the type of death (so, one for money, one for health and one for sanity).
We have two types of locations:
  • Transport: boat (Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea), train (Train from Italy to France, Train from France to Germany)
  • Countries: Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Italy, France, Germany
For every location, the user will visualize a series of location-related cards + general cards. It is important to know that we’ve assigned a different probability to each card in order to make the game different. So, for example, when the character is in the middle of the sea, a drowning might happen (or may not). Also, the game remembers the cards that have been previously played in order not to re-propose them to the player (e.g. if a drowning happens on the previous play and then the user dies, the event is not going to happen again in the following game).
One of the Cards sheet that compose the story

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