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On Gaming

A question that rolled over my mind for a long time: can a blind person play digital games (any type of games)? Upon research I indeed found out that blind people have certain games designed for them, but the problem is that they are not inclusive.

Let me admit also that I am not fond of games, so I haven’t invested much time in this; I only enjoyed knowing more information about games. However, in my Digital Literacies and intercultural learning course and previously MyFest, I knew about the so-called “narrative games”. In light of this, I collaborated with the AUC team on creating a project to “imagine the higher Ed future”; that is, creating narrative games to imagine the future of education. This was, in fact, my first exposure to narrative and purposeful games.

Digital literacies (Spent and Syrian refugees)

In class, we have been assigned six games to play; two of which were Spent and Syrian refugees (I will touch on the other four later in this post).

As for spent, the game deals with an American man who is only left with $1000, and he was on the verge of declaring his bankruptcy. Our role as players is to use those 1000$ until the end of the month, which, for me, was very painful.

The situations we had to encounter were difficult to deal with E.G. his car got towed at some time, requiring him to pay 500 of what he had actually owned. I therefore imagine every single Egyptian family who faces similar situations in their daily life. Needless to say that some families are under the poverty line, hardly obtaining food and basic supplies. Furthermore, it was such a sorrowful experience that I felt very stressed and helpless in some situations that I had to encounter while playing. I went into a state of bewilderment whether to pay this or to delay that. There were lots of commitments, but the insufficient amount of money controlled my acts. Finally, I would say that this game is an eye opening one for its multiple horizons; that is,  it allows us to see other people’s lives, especially in the situations that had to involve poverty.

The other game, BBC Syrian Refugees, also flooded me with mixed emotions, for I do not know whether to feel pity for them or happy that they have the money and courage to start over. With many Syrians coming over to every country in the world, I felt how hard they survived and how horrible to leave home, memories, people, and country. Definitely, they succeeded in the countries they migrated to, but this should not be something to decrease the turbulations and struggles they faced when departing from Syria. Although this was a game that did not take more than ten minutes to play, it is a good indirect method for people to raise their awareness and let them see the other part of the world. A part of minorities who suffer, of innocent people forced to evacuate their homes and rush away from their countries, and of oppressed ones who have no option but to remain silent and suppressed. What I will say is that we should wake up and appreciate the blessings that god bestowed upon us.

Covid19 games

The other four games were played asynchronously, where we, the students in the course, had to play them on our own time and in our leisure. When I perused the list, I found out that there were two games simulating both a faculty and a student during the intense first covid waive. They were designed by Cait Kirby, an educational consultant, and  a chemistry university instructor. The first one tackled the life of a full time faculty, whose request to teach online is rejected. Throughout the game, I also was stressed for the choices this professor had to take, and I wondered how people, during this difficult time, had survived. Their mental health must have been ruined due to this inclement pandemic. The faculty is a human being himself, and he also wanted to protect his family. In contrast, the other game tackled the life of a disabled student who was living in the university dorms in the time of Covid19. This was also touching for me because disabled people are themselves marginalized, and due to this pandemic, there struggle increased. This student functioned under a great deal of stress and anxiety, which influenced his performance in the lecture. That is, he was not able to hear what the instructor was saying. Horrific! Isn’t it? Indeed it was. Thus, those previous games served to give a glimpse on someone’s life in the sense of time, behavior, and feelings.

Fake news and illiteracy

I was mulling over the topics of my last two games, and I came across a game that tackled “fake news” and another game by a student that tackled “illiteracy”. Both of these games were of different nature, which motivated me to play them.

The first, the illiteracy one, took us in a journey of a poor young-25-year-old man who aspires to get married, but due to the high expenses, he couldn’t. Hence, he chose to opt in an adult illiteracy class in order to improve his life status. To me, this is beyond reality, as no one would never think to learn reading and writing in hopes to get to a better life. poor people, in turn, think of other easier ways to get them money without consuming their time and minds. That is why the game seems unrealistic enough to convey its message and purpose.

Contrary to the other one about “fake news”, I would say that it was interesting and beneficial to me; it revealed to me the hidden styles fake news agencies use to portray certain objects. I was not aware of these mysterious techniques used to dominate our digital world, especially these ideas about Twitter Bots and the play-on-emotions. Therefore, I consider such a game to be informative. Obviously, the reason I interlinked both games together is because this fake news one was significantly effective when conveying its message, whereas the other one propagated the issue without supporting it with claims, facts, or gamy activities.

Post-playing reflection on games

After playing the aforementioned games, it is important to compare all of them briefly. I felt like Spent and BBC Syrian refugees both dealt with poverty, and how people survived struggles.

The covid19 ones, however, were about putting ourselves in others’ shoes, where we had to see the lives of a faculty as well as a student. Both of the experiences created a multifaceted perspective for me as a player. Moreover,  when I played the illiteracy game, I felt like it is a little bit unrealistic. I wondered how someone who is already poor would venture to opt in an adultery reading and writing class. No one thinks this way, as most of the people in this Egyptian society aim for getting money from work not education.

Finally, the game about fake news, compared to the other ones, shall be considered the best of the six I played. The reason for saying that is because it was realistic, and it was built on techniques that are implemented in our everyday life. If we were to improve it more, I would say that the game should include more sources of news (TV’s, other social media platforms, or even auditory materials). Definitely, faking happens there, too. Thus, one would be able to choose which source of news to play with. Hopefully, through more awareness, people would be able to create games that are catered to each group, and importantly, they would be beneficial as well.

Links for the games

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2 responses to “On Gaming”

  1. Thanks for this Yasser. I think you forgot to include a comparison of all the games and you didn’t highlight ways to improve each one of them (just one). Please add that, and the link to the illiteracy game.

    Like

    1. I have edited the post, responding to your comments and feedback

      Like

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