Games

Spent (http://playspent.org):

The first time I played this game I didn’t really understand how it worked, so I choose the answers based on my current life. Like when it asked me what I would do if I have a sore tooth, would I take a pain killer or go to the dentist for $400; I automatically chose going to the dentist, not even thinking of my answer twice. But when I went broke after just 5 days I realized that receiving medical care is a privilege for some people that I have as a given. Then I played the game for the second round and the only thing on my mind was how I can make it till the end of the month, and I realized the immense number of things I have to give up in order to survive. Which made me think of people around me that might have to make these decisions daily. Which made me feel more grateful for my circumstances. Because when I was playing the game I was confused, I felt a lot of emotions depending on every question as I imagined people I know making these decisions and I felt empathetic.

From playing Spent I learned that money is very important, and people who are comfortable don’t realize the power money has because we didn’t have it taken away from us. But people who don’t have enough money to cover their basic needs and life realize that its important, money controls their life. 

A suggestion for this game, would be that the game gives a backstory rather than simply statistics, so that players know what they’re doing. Because when I played the first time, I didn’t get it, and I had to repeat it to play it with the right backstory in mind.

BBC Syrian Refugees (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32057601):

I didn’t feel much when I played the game, I just chose the answers that I knew would get me to safety, it didn’t affect me like Spent affected me and touched me. I didn’t really like this game, every situation mentioned I already knew from Syrian refugees here in Egypt that I visited before with my mom. And their stories touched me 100x more. That’s why I would recommend to improve the game, that they put more detailed situations rather than broad situations. More details will make the game touch the players heart. Rather than simply unaffecting the players, for me when I played, I wasn’t affected, I needed more details to be pulled in the game.

I didn’t learn much either from this game, because like I mentioned every situation I took I heard the story being said from a real Syrian refugee so I was aware of what they go through, and my empathy was there and grew from when I met them. 

Bad News (https://www.getbadnews.com/#next):

While playing this game I felt a close relation between the game and reality. I related to it with my social media experience. I know that news spread fast on social media, and I also know that not everything I read or see is true. But this gave me a different perspective, to be the one that spreads fake news rather than being on the receiving side. 

I learned from playing this game that once a person gets into faking news, the cant get out or its difficult to get out. It becomes like a drug, once that ethical line is crossed nothing really matters. Which I think makes news fakers give themselves a justification for their actions. 

A suggestion for this game would have more topics of fake news that the players can choose from. Like for example pre starting the game the player gets to choose the genre they view and most interesting and play the game based on that genre, rather than one genre which is automated by the game. 

Losing a Parent (https://docs.google.com/forms/u/0/d/e/1FAIpQLScff3zm_c_vwAc5Blgb9rpV2CQIoMrr6kUVqESA-E-MM7KEGw/formResponse):

This game hit hard, I imagined every detailed situation if I was in it and I was constantly thanking God for my dad and his health. The thought itself of losing a loved one yet alone a parent breaks a person. The game made me feel pain as if I lost a parent and I didn’t even allow myself to get into too much, so I don’t get too emotional. But I related to parts of it too, like about sharing things with a partner or not and fearing them misunderstanding it. I imagined myself in the situation and I knew that I would rely on my partner 100% through something like that, and that would give me a lot of comfort. But I wouldn’t talk about it with all my friends. Honestly, I constantly wanted to close the game from how much it affected me emotionally.

I learned the importance of having someone you can be vulnerable with and knowing they understands you, it’s like the carry some of the weight you’re carrying. 

One suggestion for this game would to make the paragraphs a bit shorter or more direct without the details that don’t relate to the question, it’ll help in not making the player lose focus. 

Depression Quest (http://www.depressionquest.com/dqfinal.html#2n.1e.4s.55.1d.4.q.3a.1f.2e.3.e.18.4x.2b.3n.1y.2u):

This game made me feel like I’m more aware of what life’s like for a depressed person. It also made me thankful that I’m healthy and that I don’t struggle in that way. I learned that a depressed person overthinks a lot, situations that are obviously so simple are magnified for them and they overthink what they’d do.

I didn’t like this game at all, I would suggest making the texts shorter as they’re too long. I would also suggest making the text larger as its very hard to read and stay focused. And lastly, there was something wrong with the website, when it gave me options to choose from one or two of the options were crossed out, but I don’t get why because they were part of the options so why can’t I choose them. So, I suggest fixing that. 

Street Sweepers (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScDnVBWYxmSI_xiYIqdEJcLIWupYrTh3MZW2nrOUP9gRZUCPA/formResponse):

While playing this game I felt very empathetic for every street sweeper. I chose to play this game because street sweepers always grab my attention when I’m driving or on the streets. I always find myself thinking what did they do wrong to end up working that job. My mom taught me to always smile, even if I wasn’t going to give them money, a smile will positively affect them. She told me that they feel unheard and excluded from society, that they see us living our lives in luxuries they could never imagine having in their wildest dreams. So, I constantly think of these things, I always think of them seeing me driving a car, wearing what I’m wearing living my life how I am; and I tell myself that I’m sure they don’t comprehend how can someone have that much and not help them. Seeing them makes me grateful and empathetic. 

From this game I learned even more how they are abused at work, and unfairly treated by people in the streets but also their organization. They literally have no rights, no dignity, they have nothing. 

For this game I would suggest furthermore explaining why that decision was wrong and how it ended up in the street sweeper being fired. Rather than simply one sentence that the game was lost. 

Comparison:

I’m choosing to compare the games based on how much they affected me. All the games aimed to teach the player something, so I’m comparing the games according to how successful the game was at sending its aim/message. Starting with the game that affected me the most, which was Losing a Parent, this game had the most details and it was the one that made me the most emotional. That could be because the topic is an emotional one, but it’s also because the game delivered its message in a proper manner. Unlike the game BBC Syrian Refugees, that game wasn’t emotional at all, although the topic is heavy and heartbreaking. But the way that the game presented the topic was unsuccessful in my opinion because it didn’t play on the players emotions at all, to feel how these refugees feel. Another game that I think could’ve presented the topic in a better way is Depression Quest, before playing the game I thought I was going to be the most exciting, but I was disappointed. It didn’t deliver the idea in an interesting and attention-grabbing way; it was very boring. Unlike Spent which was the most interesting game out of all of them, in my opinion. Spent had a fun feature where every question was worth a day, and the questions were diverse which kept it fun and interesting. Another game with an interesting topic was Bad news, I liked that game, it was fun to play, it was interactive, based on my answer I got different responses, which is a feature I wish was in Street Sweeper. with street sweeper I liked the topic because it’s something I think about a lot in my life, so playing a game on it fed my initial thoughts on the topic. In the end, I realized that the games that I liked the most were the ones that affected me emotionally the most. These were the games that were short, detailed, and interactive.

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