“Against All Odds is about the global refugee experience from the time people are forced to leave their countries of origin to the beginning of their new life abroad. A series of short challenges illustrates the complexity and danger of the refugee experience.”
DEVELOPER/DESIGNER: Developer: United Nations High Commission on Refugees. Funders: Microsoft, Ericsson, Datareal AB
INFO: Online, free
“Beaner is a computer-based game that appropriates the classic arcade game Frogger, where players must direct a frog across a treacherous road and swiftly moving river to reach an area of safety at the top of the screen. In Ilich and Valdez’s version, players navigate a sombrero through a river, a desert, and a freeway—all critical barriers related to illegal border crossings—to reach the land of opportunity. The reward for a successful crossing is the same fate faced by many migrant workers without papers—backbreaking and poorly paid clandestine work.”
DEVELOPER/DESIGNER: Blas Valdez, Franz Illich
INFO: Online, free
“A girl was shot at the Mexican-American border. How was she killed? What future is waiting for her baby?
You arrive in Latin America with a bag full of journalistic ambitions. The region is one of the most turbulent, violent, and poverty-stricken places on the planet. In a region where politicians and police are feared rather than respected, people try desperately to grab a piece of the land and call it their own. All too often, however, it ends badly. Can you make a difference by writing investigative stories?”
DEVELOPER/DESIGNER: Serious Games Interactive
INFO: Online, 20 days-free trial for teachers. Single user 9,95 EUR. Class set (30 users) 49,95 EUR. School set (+250 users) 79,95 EUR
“A mod for Half-Life dealing with the life conditions of illegal migrants. This serious game is a team multiplayer game, the first playing as the migrants and the other one as the frontiers cops. The first team must reach and cross the frontiers of Europe, while the other team will use all necessary force to prevent this.”
DEVELOPER/DESIGNER: Gold Extra/Georg Hobmeier, Sonja Prlic and Karl Zechenter
INFO: Online with Half-life 2 Deathmatch, free
“Homeland Guantanamos is a game designed to spotlight the inhumane conditions being faced by 300,000 people in immigrant detention as a result of unfair Department of Homeland Security Policies. Players assume the role of an undercover journalist doing an investigative series who must uncover the true story of Boubacar Bah, an immigrant who died in U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement custody under questionable circumstances in 2007. The user experiences a 3D walk-through tour of the facility led by a guide, during which they encounter video stories about actual situations as experienced by former detainees, and gradually uncovers clues that will help them solve Boubacar’s case.”
DEVELOPER/DESIGNER: Breakthrough / Free Range Studios
INFO: Online, free
“ICED puts you in the shoes of an immigrant to illustrate how unfair immigration laws deny due process and violate human rights. These laws affect all immigrants: legal residents, those fleeing persecution, students and undocumented people.
It has been featured in overwhelming amounts of press including: LA Times, MTV News, Game Daily and has been covered on popular blogs including, Gothamist and The Huffington Post. In addition, countless community groups and organizations have used ICED to foster conversations that look at immigration as a human rights due process issue.”
INFO: Downloadable, free
“Maria has immigrated to the United States in search of a better job. She has gotten a job in a chip manufacturing plant in Silicon Valley, home of a booming economy. However, inside the factory, things are not always clean. Workers are exposed to toxic chemicals and are often not informed of the potential hazards. Information about the chemicals can be found in the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), but finding the sheets can be a challenge!”
DEVELOPER/DESIGNER: Global Arcade
INFO: Online, free
“Compete to award Green Cards under the Merit-Based Evaluation System included in legislation recently debated in Congress.
The system proposed a Federal standard for worker visa awards, based not on individual achievement, but on a single, standardized system for all immigrants. Some criticized the bill for rejecting family ties, others for putting business interests in the hands of the government. In either case, the promise of one single method to judge the absolute merit of immigrant workers demonstrates the real value of contemporary domestic policy: bureaucracy itself.
During debate about the 380-page bill, neither legislators nor the popular press brought its details to the public. One official congressional brief offered two examples. If the Internet fails to cash out the promise of increased citizen participation in policy making, games might allow citizens to experience the implications of legislation more directly. Points of Entry offers one example of such a practice.”
DEVELOPER/DESIGNER: Persuasive Games, New York Times
INFO: Online, free with New York Times subscription
“Vagabundo is a mobile public art project designed for on the street interaction. Through a cart resembling an ice cream cart pedestrians are invited to play a video game that reflects the plight of new Latin American immigrants in New York city.”
It “uses stereotypes to parallel the plight of undocumented immigrant labor in New York City. Users play the role of a new immigrant and must bag groceries and wait tables to advance through levels. The online game is based on interviews Zúñiga conducted with new immigrants as well as the experience of his parents, who emigrated from Nicaragua to the United States.”
DEVELOPER/DESIGNER: Ricardo Miranda Zuñiga
INFO: Online, Free