Europia, a videogame that aims to demystify the refugee experience

As the news coverage of Brexit rolls along the focus has inevitably, and somewhat depressingly, shifted to the fallout of the main parties involved. The Conservative party faced a swift and anti-climactic leadership battle following David Cameron’s resignation, and the Labour party is still in turmoil following an MP vote of no confidence against Jeremy Corbyn. Meanwhile, Nigel Farage was last seen sipping champagne with Rupert Murdoch following his own resignation as leader of the UK Independence Party. While the press and political players scramble around these developments the immediate legacy, aside from political uncertainty and an economic plummet, is an…


Cartas captures the terror of immigration in the 19th century

Julian Palacios, the Milan-based creator of Cartas, describes it as being “a short narrative game about the journey of a man adrift.” It is, in fact, more specific than that, it being bookended by letters written by immigrants who traveled to Argentina at the end of the 19th century. The game seems most concerned with depicting the dysphoria and disappointment of immigration, particularly as it’s described in the letter that is read aloud at its beginning—that of open hostility, constant alienation, racial abuse, feeling alone in an unfamiliar land. It captures all this through abstract, dreamlike segments that see you…


Experience the difficulty of seeking asylum in a beguiling virtual city

That NORTH is about the current climate surrounding mass immigration is about as obvious as a sledgehammer to the face. It’s coated in 80s synth-pop sci-fi as if to cover it up but there’s no denying it. You are a person in an overwhelmingly foreign city. You must learn the customs of this new culture. You have traveled from the south, escaping its lakes of fires, crossing a harsh desert, and arrived here where you hope it’ll be safe. Subtle this game’s allegory is not. Mind you, the creators at Outlands (who also made the politically-charged Dämmerung) aren’t necessarily trying to…


Cloud Chasers-A Journey of Hope, and the game mechanics of migration

Cloud Chasers—A Journey of Hope is a pretty game about migration, which is to say that it’s a visually appealing game about the great many ways in which this world is wretched. In a post-apocalyptic world—aren’t all words basically post-apocalyptic at this point?—a farmer and his daughter cannot go on living in the desert. They therefore go on the sort of journey many individuals in similar positions have undertaken. The game’s player must guide the twosome on their journey and conserve the scant resources available to them. Sure, the pair is traversing a procedurally generated desert to reach a city…


Papers, Please puts players in the shoes of immigration officers

Immigration reform is an issue sitting very high in the minds of US policymakers these days, especially in the so-called border states. The tension is high, the drama is real, and the core issues involved – power, access, and the interminable, maze-like structures that dictate the flow of those things – can easily be mined for game mechanics, with a little imagination. Lucas Pope’s Papers, Please takes a unique approach by placing players in the role of an immigration officer. It’s a drag. – – – It’s the player’s job to determine whether people should be let into the country,…