A few months ago, snippets of Angelina Jolie’s acceptance speech for The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 2013 made the rounds online, where the actor talked about moving out of our own sheltered experiences to realize our responsibility to others – To be of use:
How can we assume responsibility when we can’t find time to empathize? Now, with the help of research and gameplay, we’ve rounded up 5 digital experiences that place you in the driver’s seat of a survivor.
See what it feels like to be one:
Play it and survive.
Approximately 400 million people are unemployed worldwide, but you’re probably not one of them. If you are, do you know what it’s like to live below the poverty line?
Well, picture this, your boss lets you go and you have $1,000 in your account. Torn between paying your medical insurance, food and gas bills, every choice, every decision and every move you make is well thought of so you don’t end up with no money before your next payday.
Created in a game format, Playspent challenges you to make grim decisions to make it through the month: you can donate blood for money or break your child’s piggy bank for $16 to make it to the next payday.
Check your phone – Your dad’s texting you.
BBC spoke to over 100 refugees and humanitarian agencies in the middle of the refugee crisis in Europe and produced a haunting and realistic video film that lets you experience the immediate confusion, fear and decisions facing refugees making a perilous journey by boat.
Currently, there are approximately 4,815,540 refugees in Syria, most of who are in need of aid, with almost nothing on them. Twobillionmiles takes you on a refugee’s journey, making life-threatening choices to reach a safe destination.
3. This War of Mine
While other games focus on destroying the enemy, this game, developed by 11 Bit Studios, focuses on survival of civilians during war. The objective of the game is to look after a group of civilians under your wing – monitor their health, moods, feed them, help them build shelter, treat the injured and more.
It’s inspired by the Bosnian War of 92-96, and fuels empathy – something that no well-known game has attempted yet.
Watch the gameplay here:
4. The Republia Times
Ever criticized the media for being biased?
This game puts you in the newsroom of a fictional country as Editor-in-Chief. As a propaganda newspaper, during a time of recovery from war, you are instructed to choose flattering stories about the country while not publishing anything that may tarnish the image of the totalitarian government.
The twist? The rebellion contacts you to turn against the government, while you get status updates about your wife and kids at home – the more loyal you are to your government, the safer they will be.
5. Depression Quest
Note: Please do not play this game if you are currently suffering from depression or feel sensitive or at risk. It employs a very real experience-driven gameplay.
How will you be able to handle a mental sickness?
Written in narrative format, this game changes as the player’s depression levels rise and fall with options for dialogue appearing and disappearing based on circumstance.
The visuals and music are compelling – if you want to delve first-hand into how depression can affect motivation, play it here.