Monday, 23 June 2008

What's it like... under constant threat of detention and deportation in the USA?

I stumbledupon this (while looking for something on the "legality" of lending "computer games" you have bought to others: sometimes Google does still have that magical IFeeelLucky factor!)

An unlikely theme for a role playing video game, but it's actually very compelling blending decision trees (risky behaviours like fair dodging face chance of getting detained/deported) and trivia style questions about human rights (and lack thereof - eg as a full green card holder you can still be deported for v minor offences). I'd say that "what's it like being X?" is probably the essential question behind any good role playing game , and the documentary/ethical/narrative opportunity that question opens up is evident in this example. Watch this space for role playing games on being a humpback whale, being homeless, maybe even one about the dying process. I dont mean to sound at all flippant I really think this is an amazing use for those strangely vacuous graphic 3d shared spaces. I'd seen stuff about using them for performance (I think waiting for godot was the first play to be performed in a virtual environment) and i'm vaguely aware of things like a UK police produced video game for teens on the consequences of knife crime. I think I'd just never actually really seen the potential until I saw this...

and this...

The title (ICED) stands for 'I Can End Deportation" and is also a play on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. According to Associated Press the game is a "hit" with US teens- not sure what that means precisely as its not substantiated by numbers of downloads or similar, but its been featured by media such as MTV as well as the Huffington Post & many others. Anyway it's a hit with me, I think it's well ahead of my previous favourite use of shared spaces - the flooding of Second Life:

More about the ICED game, the organisation behind it, and the ongoing interest in it (eg at games4change earlier this month) plus a chance to download and see for yourself at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These are great, thanks for sharing them John. I wonder if these ideas could lead on to some sort of Age of Empires for the future - ie you make choices for your civilazation (which starts in 2008), and then watch it grow into some sort of utopia or dystopia depending on your choices. Or a game where you have to look after a community with a finite amount of oil and decide how you use / tax your oil supplies over the next one hundred years - what do you prioritise etc and then see the results. Wow, there must be loads of different ways games like this could be used. Mark