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Thursday, May 12 • 10:30am - 10:45am
Migration, the Refugee crisis and Video Games for Change

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The Mediterranean has become one of the deadliest border crossings of the world. While the refugees and asylum seekers migrate en masse and in dire circumstances, the global context of safety shifts in dramatic ways making the migrant crisis an issue that truly matters to contemporary lives of everyone along the way. This paper is a case study of a November 2015 game jam that took place in Istanbul within the context of amberPlatform arts and technology festival where developers and designers had 36 hours to create video games on the theme “göçüyoruz!” (means both “We are going down!” and “We are migrating.”). The participants had already attended a panel on Syrian refugee crisis in Turkey organized in conjuction with the game jam. The result was 6 video and 3 analogue games.

This paper is a case study of the process of creating this game jam –I curated both the panel and the game jam- where code writers and game developers look into a current event through the angle of empathy and political involvement. Can video games really change the world? Can we play with lives, so to speak? While games for social change is already a genre, the scope of this work involved listening to first person accounts from activists, lawyers and refugee artists about the larger questions at hand regarding the day to day lives of migrants, and the point of view of those who are living in bureaucratic limbo in Turkey.


Thursday May 12, 2016 10:30am - 10:45am MST
COOR 195 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  Arts and Media, Long Paper
  • Session Location COOR 195