Developed the right way, video games can deliver a powerful message – not always an easy one to watch at times, but powerful nevertheless. That’s the approach UNICEF has recently taken with an interesting pitch, one that tells the story of a 7-year old in South Sudan.
Per a story through PSFK, Joe Sabia presented the idea of the game to the attendees of Video Gamers United at the Washington Convention Center this week. It tells a horror-apocalyptic based story about the girl, first starting with the death of her mother through cholera, then with soldiers breaking into the family’s home, resulting in the death of her brother. The girl, Elika, manages to run away and get to safety, but not before a bullet hits her baby brother in the cheek.
Following her escape, Elika arrives in a camp, where people are overcome with fear and panic based on surrounding events. From here, the character’s survival system is broken down into three different bars: Health, Hydration and Hunger.
It’s a hard theme to take – and many in attendance for the trailer’s presentation were certainly in shock. (Some even walked out.) However, UNICEF made it to raise awareness for what’s happening in the region, with estimates indicating that tens of thousands of casualties take place every year, while millions are internally displaced by such actions. With that, the company chose to tell the story in an attempt to raise public consciousness – even though it is revolving around a young child.
At the conclusion of the presentation, survivors from Sudan came in and explained how real the conditions in the game were in real life. Mari Malek explained, “Elika’s story is true. She is me, and she is so many of the South Sudanese children that are going through this experience at this moment.”
With that, UNICEF posed a vital question: How would people react if fictional violence (like in video games) becomes child’s play when compared to reality
The video in question can be viewed below. Warning: it is not easy to watch, but some will find it quite important.