The refugee crisis overseas has been making headlines for months now, and nations are left divided on whether or not accepting these individuals and families across their borders is the right thing to do--or an economic burden they can't handle.
One company has decided that, in an age where games are ever-popular, creating a video game is the perfect way to illustrate the migrant experience and open people's minds to the realities of their struggles.
"The media tension and the discussion is about how migrants are a problem when they arrive. But nobody talks about why they leave, or what they experience along the way," a co-founder of the Blindflug gaming studio, Moritz Zumbühl, said in an interview earlier this month.
takes place in a fictional universe; Francisco and his daughter Amelia (in honor of the missionary Francisco Hidalgo and Amelia Earhart, the first female pilot to fly alone across the Atlantic) are left on a planet consisting only of desert, while the wealthy have fled to a city in the clouds, where they harvest water from the clouds to survive. Players can choose either character to play with.
"We wanted to make a game that works everywhere on Earth. So we had to find a metaphor that could work anywhere — it's why we decided the create a new universe," Zumbühl explained.
In order to somewhat reflect the reality involved in a journey where individuals are fleeing for their lives, players cannot save their games at checkpoints; if either character dies, they'll have to begin the journey all over again. They can, however, take breaks throughout gameplay.
"Every country in Europe is affected by this, though not every country is doing it's part equally to help. What we wanted to do was to make fun games where you want to learn something — why people have to migrate, and what people discover on that journey," Zumbühl said.
Blindflug's first video game was First Strike, in which players choose a nation and compete in a nuclear arms race, with the ultimate goal being world peace.
This approach to gaming is perfect for a world where people are so quickly drawn to apps, especially when they're well-designed gaming experiences. Not only will they be entertaining themselves, but hopefully they'll also take away valuable life lessons.
Cloud Chasers is now available in the Google Play Store, the App Store, and on Amazon.