These games where one embodies the refugees

News 18 December, 2017
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    Baptiste Zapirain

    Monday, December 18, 2017 08:00

    Monday, December 18, 2017 08:00

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    The refugees, we have spoken a lot in recent years, including Syrians who have fled their country in war.

    But it is difficult to put them in their place and imagine what they are experiencing.

    This is why some developers have tried to put us in the skin of a person forced to leave his country. This is not a coincidence if some of these developers are themselves refugees: for them, to propose such a game is a way to bear witness to what they have experienced and show their reality.

    So here are three games that we propose to embody the journey of a refugee. Come on, four, but that’s good because Father Christmas told me that you had been wise. Ah no, actually it is, because the fourth game is a “serious game”, so with an approach that is more educational than commercial games.

    Path Out (Causa Creations – Steam)


    This game tells the story of its author, Abdullah Karam, a young geek, a syrian refugee in Austria. The first chapter, released in November, is free on Steam.

    It has the allure of a game for the Super Nintendo, and his character seems taken from a manga with her hair disheveled. But it is, indeed, the young developer, who offers to take his place and attempt to pass the Turkish border.

    Behind the graphics are cute and colorful, the game presents its harsh reality: it is necessary to avoid the land mines, soldiers of the islamic State patrol, the military of the syrian regime do not miss the snuggles…

    The game is rather simplistic and invites basically to look for objects that you can unlock the next step, avoiding the pitfalls.

    The originality is that Abdullah Karam was also recorded on video, and regularly appears in the game to comment on what is happening on the screen. Its interventions are also quite funny, and saw almost to black humour in times of tragic. “Hey man! Thou hast even slain. It is not cool!”, launches us-t-it when a trooper pulls us over.

    When the character moves in the city, if you approach a camel who seems to be sleeping in the street, Abdullah appears again and reminds us that no, it does not move as a camel in Syria. “See, it is racist to think that!” says he, ” while the camel is replaced by an orange cone.

    Home behind (TPP Studio – Steam, iOS, Android)


    This japanese game is released in the midst of the crisis of syrian refugees, in June 2016.

    However, it did not openly a particular conflict, but proposes to embody in a more generic manner a father who fled the civil war. His village was burned, her daughter has disappeared: he is, therefore, departed to his research, while forced to flee to Europe.

    It plays in side view, therefore, it is sufficient to move forward to find his way, but the challenge is elsewhere. The goal is to discover and manage objects and resources on the road to survive the hunger, thirst, illness, or bad encounters.

    The danger lurks, they should equip themselves to be ready to confront the soldiers or the wild beasts. It is necessary to be able to cook to the house, unlock doors or chests, explorer of the buildings.

    It is also necessary to negotiate encounters sometimes difficult with the inhabitants, who do not see you, always a very good eye.

    Very many environments, and events generated randomly come spice up the parties (always slightly different from each other).

    And, again, even if it is a game, there are always those moments where you realize that some of you have experienced what we are currently facing, and that one says, “but I would have done what in their place”.

    Especially as the developers are really interested in the topic and add content regularly in their game.

    In November, they have implemented stories involving child soldiers. “It is hard for us to tell you: “have fun with it,”” they said, in making this addition. “But we hope that more and more people will be arrested by these children in a war zone”.

    Bury me, my Love (Florent Maurin / Pierre Corbinais – iOS, Android)


    This French game tells the story of Nour, a nurse of 27 years who fled the shelling in Syria after the death of his sister and tries to join Germany.

    But this is not that it embodies.

    The game puts us in the skin of Majd, her husband stayed behind. Therefore, we are not in a exploration game, but a game of… conversation in Whatsapp, the instant messaging software.

    While Nour tells us that she lives, responds to him, he sends useful links, photos, easily add emoji, you can give him advice or help when she needs it… in short, we do what we can to support the person that we love, so far away from us.

    The aim of this interactive fiction is thus to choose his own lines of dialogue to try to influence for the better the quest of Nour, which can end in 19 different ways.

    With Bury me, my Love, a translated title of a arabian expression which actually means “to take care of you”, the two authors of the game have held to be inspired by the true story of a refugee, named Dana. It has validated all of the conversations in the game.

    Despite the drawings by way of illustration, the game offers the essentials of texting. This gameplay, a priori, simplistic makes yet the game realistic: it has the feel of writing on his phone to a real person. And we feel the emotions of both Majd and Nour, through its responses.

    The experience is very original. The game takes place incidentally in time semi-real: when We need to, for example, four hours to perform an action, you have to wait for this period before you receive a notification of its share.

    Note finally that the game is co-produced by Arte France, Figs and The Pixel Hunt: these are known in Canada for having produced 2013 Fort Mc Money, the game-documentary that was to discover the player the underbelly of life in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

    Bonus: Against All odds (on browser)


    This one is a “serious game” created in 2005 by the United Nations Agency for refugees (UNHCR).

    Its purpose is not so much to provide a real fun experience, but above all to raise awareness. And Against All odds we, therefore, puts in the skin of a refugee in a dozen scenes, from the interrogation in our country controlled by the army in the quest of new friends in the host country.

    The gameplay is certainly limited, it is to click on answers, drag and drop items, this kind of things. But these situations are excuses for more information on the situation of refugees, the right, the countries that host them.

    This is an original and interactive information.