The 6 games I played: Spent, BBC Syrian Refugees, Darfur is Dying, Bury me my love, Depression Quest and Domestic Abuse by Jana Khalifa.
Favorite: Depression Quest
Least Favorite: Domestic Abuse
Spent- It was a very interesting game of a single parent individual trying to live his/her life with a child. To me, I think this is a perfect example of how the American system is bogus and rigged against lower class individuals. Private healthcare is expensive, worker unions are merely an extension of their corporate masters, public welfare is almost close to nothing and the American Capitalist system is only making it harder for these individuals to exhibit a sustainable lifestyle. I think it should be more dynamic? Maybe more artwork and 3d designs. But the narrative to me was overall super.
Depression Quest- This game was my favorite, as someone who was in a similar lifestyle, added to the effect that I was living abroad, which made it way worse. Playing this game, with all the choices and decisions, felt very relevant to me, it was even more than empathetic, but an ultimate reliving of depression. In the end, when the character is asked by his mom if he is okay, and he responds “ I’m good”, sent me with a lot of goosebumps, that he has accepted his path, it would be filled with ups and downs, mood swings and depressive episodes. In essence, when he said, “I’m good”, he was subconsciously saying I have depression, but that’s okay. It is extremely hard for a depressed person to be in a better situation, without first accepting his current situation. I think it should be less text focused, and more interactive with 3d graphics.
BBC Syrian Refugees, Darfur is Dying, Bury me my Love- Even though these games are somewhat different, they all share the same common theme: Human misery, suffering and civil war and clashes. The point of these games is to be in the shoes of a refugee/ citizen in war, all from the comfort of your home, which is ironic at best. At the end, the game asks you to donate 1$ for the Syrian/ Darfour cause, and here’s where the problem reaches a peak for me. Allow me to reference Oscar Wilde’s The Soul of Man Under Socialism:
” Charity is a remedy of the poor. But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease. They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor.”
Let us examine why this is in the case for charity that goes to war, especially Syria. In Syria, millions are sent every year to help the war effort, but what we forget is that there are billions going every year to keep the war alive. From governments, terrorist groups and of course, the invisible hand of the free market that strives to keep it alive, for weapon manufacturers and corporations. Hence, charity can be related to an psychoanalyst joke: To cure your stomach aches and diarrhea, eat this chocolate laxative! In essence, eat the very same thing that gives you stomach aches. Isn’t this what global capitalism offers? “Donate now! Don’t think about what’s happening, just donate for the cause!” So we can ignore that these problems have stemmed from western meddling and global capitalism.
Domestic Abuse- I think this game was very lacking in branching. It was a perfect opportunity to make something with a multi-layer decision process on all actions taken by a woman in an abusive relationship. To give paths for what the submissive and the reluctant wife’s path and fate would be in an abusive journey as this. But it just turned out to be like a broken binary code system, you give it a 0, you give it a 1, it will only show 11111.