Digital Narrative Games

BBC Syrian Refugees

I completely understand that this game aims to raise awareness regarding the different Syrian experiences, however, I didn’t really enjoy playing this game as I felt like it somewhat belittles the situation of the Syrians and fails to portray the full-picture, as it only covered particular topics, some of which could be considered as the ‘smoothest’ experiences in comparison to their actual reality. Furthermore, I understand that this game is based on the stories of many Syrians, nonetheless, this game represents Syrians as one entity. This can be a major problem as it represents an inaccurate message while simplifying the ‘journey’ of the Syrians. 

On a separate note, I am  hesitant to freely express my opinion concerning what I’ve learned because I am afraid that it might be viewed as offensive. Nonetheless, I’ll try my best to state my thoughts and clearly construct my opinion, in order to prevent any misunderstandings: 

  • This game expanded my train of thought through illustrating the power of time, patience and kindness. Having Syrians openly discuss their experiences and allowing others to play a game in order to depict a quarter of the events they have gone through,  proves that time can heal almost anything, as they are able to talk about their ‘journey’ more freely, with one major genuine intention: to help other refugees. Additionally, it amazes me that some human beings are capable of putting their comfort and happiness second, meanwhile, helping others is their priority. In this case, many Syrians were confident and strong enough to discuss their struggles globally, only to help others. Honestly, if this isn’t considered to be strength, kindness and confidence, then I don’t know what is? Finally, acknowledging and comprehending this specific act, gave me faith in humanity.

 

I believe this game can be improved through adding more stories or sharing a video to portray the bigger-picture of their situation, in order to represent a more clear and accurate situation of their experiences. That said, I believe this is important because people with different nationalities, who live in more developed areas need to understand that the Syrian’s situation is not a matter of ‘not knowing where to go’ and having ‘financial issues’ but more about loss than anything else, loss of family, home, friends, education, money and hope. Therefore, this game must improve in order to portray that it is our duty as citizens of the world to help one another, particularly through hard times. Personally, I believe that this game would significantly improve if it aims more towards helping the player -regardless of his/her nationality- understand that as humans, we should all help one another.

 


Spent

Although this game can be very stressful, however, I enjoyed playing this game as it represents the day-to-day obstacles of living independently and consciously acknowledging what a person should and should not invest their time and money into. That said, the majority of Egyptians live with their parents and move out when married. Therefore, the concept of living independently isn’t really a common element of our culture. Although spent focuses on major areas of complications and frustrations, nonetheless, it portrays the importance of making conscious decisions regardless of the individuals position.

I’ve learned that one doesn’t need to live independently, in order to make conscious choices, as this is supposed to be a common trait between individuals regardless of the circumstances. Therefore, after playing this game I’ve learned the importance of thinking consciously, this doesn’t mean predicting the better/favorable outcome, however, it requires more time and thinking concerning the pros and cons of each situation and what is the right thing to do. 

Finding common solutions is a  feature that would really improve this game. That being said, if at the end of each game the player receives a paragraph of advice depending on his/her result, not only would this expand the individual’s thoughts and help make better choices, but also would help people look at certain complications through a different and more optimistic lens.


Voter Suppression Trial via New York Times

I’ve played this game two times in order to see the different outcomes, as the first time I played it the game it ended really quickly. Therefore, as I have seen both outcomes, I’ve concluded that this game portrays more or less a negative outcome regarding voting and doesn’t really encourage the citizen to go and vote. Thus, when I played this game I wasn’t really cautious when making my choices, as either way, both choices had a fixed outcome and would result negatively. As a result, I didn’t feel challenged. 

Although this game didn’t really expand my spectrum of thought, however, I’ve never really thought of the disadvantages of having to wait for a long time when voting. That being said, I’ve always considered it a duty that had to be done regardless of the other events that the individual has. Yet, after playing this game I’ve learned that I have to start looking at situations -even simplistic situations- through the lens of others, not only mine. For instance, as a student I’ve always asked myself ‘how hard can it really be to go and vote?’ then after playing this game, I thought…It can actually be pretty hard, as there are parents, siblings, doctors appointment, work, training, or possibly anything that must be taken care of, don’t get me wrong, of course I fully support that all citizens should vote because this can help improve the outcome of any country, yet I’ve just never thought that it could actually be considered as ‘hard’ or simply ‘not having enough time’. Finally, I’ve learned that one of the most important aspects of life, is for the individual to stop and look through a different lens most of the time, because sometimes creating judgments is much easier than actually taking the time to understand and comprehend the situation. 

I believe that the results and the game itself, as in the graphic design of it can both be improved. Firstly, I believe that both results could be advanced because the outcome isn’t positive and there are only two fixed conclusion, hence regardless of the effort put into participating and choosing the answer that relates to the player, he/she will receive an answer that isn’t very satisfying due to the limited variety. Additionally, I believe that the graphic design of the game made the questions harder to reader and the scenario difficult to imagine. 

 


Sleep-deprived Mom

I enjoyed playing this game because it portrays the actual daily problems of any mother. Furthermore, I could easily imagine and relate to most of the scenarios as my sister has two children and they continuously argue over the same topics. Therefore, I enjoyed playing this game because it represents the struggles that parents go through just for their children and also conveys the difficulties parents face when raising a child.

In my perspective, this game really shed light on importance of priorities. Each question, the player was required in one way or another to sacrifice something either leisure time or simply catching up with friends and throughout the game each time I had to remind myself that although I would so much rather choose the easier answer, as a ‘parent’ in the game I had to think of my priorities. Another major aspect that this game shed light on is the amount of time and effort parents put just to make their child happy, even if it means going through the hardest of days. Therefore, parents do not have to flip their child’s world around to prove that they are putting effort, as any gesture they do -even if it angers the child- is obtained through love and care, and definitely nothing less than that.

The only thing I would change is to add more pictures or visuals in general because they help the player imagine the situation on a bigger scale and hence, being able to answer the questions more accurately.


Responsible Partying

I didn’t really like this game because it doesn’t portray the typical scenarios in Egyptian parties, therefore, I couldn’t entirely imagine what others go through. Additionally, another downside was that I didn’t really feel like I was playing a game due to the very long paragraphs, it felt more like I was reading a story. Due to the long paragraphs there weren’t enough answers for the player to participate and think of the situation in depth.

This game reminded me not to be judgmental, particularly in this situation because parties in Egypt are very different and consist of different scenarios, hence I had to remind myself that as an individual playing a game I had to try to get rid of all the cultural barriers and just focus on the situation without being subjective. I’ve learned that although sometimes getting rid of all barriers, especially cultural ones, can be hard to obtain -even in a game-, however, it is crucial for thinking mindfully and broadening the individual’s knowledge.

An aspect I would improve are the long paragraphs as they prevent the player from fully engaging and creating a scenario of his/her own. Also, I would add more picture in order to illustrate the party and help the player extend their imagery. Lastly, I would add more areas where the individual can participate and answer more questions in order to have a strong opinion regarding the topic.


Compare & Contrast

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Spent and the Sleep-deprived Mother were my favorite games because they focused on topics  that almost anyone can relate to one way or another and it was easier to create and imagery of how the scenario would go if it were actually me in this situation. Another aspect is that although an individual can easily relate to both games, still the games challenge the thoughts of the player, due to the fact that these are daily situations that we either go through or understand because the games discuss collective and global issues. Hence, when we look at daily issues through a game we tend to realize that human beings have more in common than shown and that these ‘struggles’ are what help us grow and think mindfully. Also, both games in one way or another ease the pressure of the real world, because the more a person is convinced that these complications are normal and part of the growing process, the less likely the individual will panic when actually confronting these issues in reality. Although all games helped enhance  my thoughts, both games listed above actually challenged my thought process and surprisingly, helped me think through an optimistic perspective concerning how I can actually deal with these problems in the future.

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