Hello my beautiful family and friends! Today I will play and reflect on some games alongside you. This blog has 5 parts in total and I will break them down and into 5 different blogs. Simply put, these 5 parts simply try to put me (and you if you are willing to play the games) in the shoes of others who are struggling around the world due to a plethora of circumstances. The circumstances include working and learning in Covid, living in disasters like wars and conflicts, and also having to make critical and life-depending choices that have major outcomes on my life in the game! Therefore, I decided to play these games and reflect to you my opinion on the different games (6 in total) and to highlight my feelings towards the games and to empathize with the different groups that I will represent throughout the different games.
GAME 1: Spent.
The game Spent simply puts one in the shoe of a parent that is looking for a job and new place to reside. The parent has a child that one needs to look out for and ensure a good and healthy life. I just finished the spent game, it really makes you think and reflect on life decisions which are really hard to do. I mostly preferred to give my child the best support and give him/her all that I can give and I saved some money that I would spend on myself to give my child the money. I really believe that saving money to give your child a better life is essential and something that all parents are obliged to do. I chose to give my child all the things that he/she wished for and I tried to make him/her the happiest. The only big mistake that I did is that I tried to make a strike with my coworkers to get a better raise but I got fired rather than taking extra money. Honestly, it is something that I would not do in real life but because it is a game I tried to push for a better pay but in real life I would not risk getting fired and having no money at all in trying to get a better pay! I would suggest one thing to make the game better is the ability of doing choosing from multiple choices rather than just having two and each choice should give a hint about what to expect upon deciding. The game spent really taught me and opened my eyes that life choices are very hard and that there are harsh consequences for different choices. Finally, my advice to you my friends is that one must take a decision after thoroughly thinking about it and one must try and optimize their lives with hard decisions.
Game 2: BBC Syrian Refugees.
The game asks you to take on a role of a Syrian refugee and make decisions of how to escape, and where to escape. The Syrian conflict has torn the country apart, leaving thousands dead and driving millions to flee their homes. Many seek refuge in neighboring countries but others pay traffickers to take them to Europe – risking death, capture and deportation.The game requires one to take hard decisions in order to escape Syria and try to reach a European country. The game requires the player to choose different paths of travel and different choices throughout the game that may lead to the player to get caught, deported, separated from their family, or even worse one can die. I felt after playing the game multiple times that it is very hard to reach Europe and that I face too many problems and conflicts that can hinder and halt my marching to Europe. Throughout the game I felt empathy and sadness towards my fellow brothers and sisters from Syria. It is really heartbreaking that people have no choice but to flee and leave their homes and countries and their people due to wars! I also do not like the word “refugee” because it build a sense of un-belonging and lower status among others. I believe that no one should be called a “refugee” but we all are people and brothers and sisters and I take pride and honor to say that I am Egyptian because we have good relations with Syrians and they are more than welcomed in their second country and home! I learned throughout the game the struggles of fellow Syrians and that many lose their lives, even more than I imagined, in their journey for a better, more safe life. I wish nothing upon my brothers and sisters but serenity, happiness, and health! I would suggest that the game concentrate less on the word “refugee”, but I recognize that it can be hard because the game tries to represent the harsh truth that Syrians go through.
Game 3: Sleep-Deprived Mom Game
This is a quick game that is developed to promote empathy with sleep-deprived moms… because for many moms, sleep deprivation is not a CHOICE. It’s a life-style. I personally do not have any child in my house and therefore I cannot relate to sleep deprived moms or parents in general, but I do empathize with sleep deprived mothers because they are really deprived of the most basic necessity of living which is sleep and many more topics! I chose to play this game to have a sense of the tiring activity of having a child and to appreciate the hard work of parents even more because we children most of the time do not realize and are not thankful enough for the hard work that our parents do in order for us to lead better lives. The game really underlined to me the hard time I gave my mother as a child by being tired at night, trying to delay bedtime and by being too dependent on her to eat, drink, shower, brush my teeth, and so so much more! I tried to give my child whatever she needed by giving her a drink at night, reading stories, checking on her if she has a fever and taking her out for fun time. I felt that as a child, I used to get too much nourishment and care that I took a lot of my mother’s time and sleep and that I probably made her cancel a lot of plans and stuff that she wanted to do for herself. Hence, I am forever grateful for my parents and especially my mother for making be become the person I am today and trying to make me a better person on a daily basis! I would suggest removing some of the activities that would make me feel bad and guilty like making my child go to sleep early or having to cancel a meeting with a friend at the last minute! I got a score of 10/14 and I sadly lost 4 marks because I decided to sleep for sometime rather than reading a beautiful book that was suggested by my friend. I guess getting 10/14 would make me a good sleep deprived mother, or would it not make me a good parent at all? I would leave you guys in the comments to give me a feedback and tell me if you think I did well on this small game by choosing the “correct” choices from these difficult decisions or not.
Game 4: October 1st, 2020
The game simply tries to put people in the shoes of either a teaching assistant or as a full time endowed professor at a top university during the beginning of the harsh, silent killer virus COVID-19. To give a small summary, I decided to be a 64 years old and an Endowed Full Professor at Most Distinguished University of the North. In addition, my partner has cancer and requires frequent chemotherapy infusions and caregivers who used to alternate responsibilities can no longer visit my house due to the dangers of the virus being so obvious, leaving my partner alone many times at the house. This game really highlighted some of the very hard issues that professors go through and they cannot speak about it. Additionally, the game represented that sometimes it can be very hard for things to go according to plan and that professors have to do a lot of sacrifices to maintain the learning quality and environment. Also, it opened my eyes towards the point that many professors are old and that they have personal issues and problems like hearing loss, yet they still do their best in order to make their students learn. I felt more respect and thankful towards my professors because I do not know what is going on in their personal lives, but they always try their hardest to ensure that their students understand and get the learning they require even if it is not face to face. Therefore, I feel nothing but respect and thankfulness towards my professors and I wish them all the happiness and good health for the hard work done by them to make all students better! I also would like to underline that some professors are old and require different treatments and the can teach in a hybrid manner, some online and some face to face classes, in order to maintain not only a good learning environment but also the health of professors because at the end, they are also humans and have their many problems outside the workspace!
Game 5: Bad News
The game simply represents that many news can be fake and this can lead to disasters and anger among people because news now are available for everyone with a click of a button. The game prompts you to be bad, lie, cheat, twist etc in order to gain as much followers as possible. Bad News represent how big social media figures can reach to their status by lying and scripting news, and this of course is harmful and unethical by manipulating people. For instance, there are many fake and misleading news stories related to medical treatments and major diseases like cancer or diabetes. Trusting these false stories could lead you to make decisions that may be harmful to your health. Therefore, I decided to go through and play this game and reflect on it in order to know if I can tell fake from true news and how I felt playing the game. The game really underlined how easy it is for people to impersonate sources and these sources provide fake news that are not credible and can affect the overall flow of the society. In addition, the game represented different aspects of controlling and distributing fake news. The aspects include impersonation, emotion, polarization, conspiracy, trolling, and discredit. Each of these aspects are used by the predators (fake news) to hunt their preys (people) by installing wrong and misleading information into the minds of social media users. The game highlights the evil acts that fake news providers do. For instance, the game tells me “exploiting people’s basic emotions can be hugely effective” which shows how bad these fake news articles tend to be and that they are nothing but attention seekers! The game consistently pushes you to make unethical decisions by enraging the followers and one must keep on igniting the flame in the emotions of one’s followers in order to gain followers and sadly even credibility because people tend to think that having more followers makes one more credible and reliable. In addition, polarization is simply when a so called “reputable” page program thousands of bots to make a small story such a huge dilemma and these bots “agree” with whatever the page says. In return, this act gain the page followers and the credibility meter rises with the number of followers too, something that is terribly sad! The game also made me realize that a well crafted lie made up at the correct time will cause disruptions and people will lose confidence in major organizations. Sadly, people will believe these nonsense news but the page does not matter, all what matters for these monsters is followers! A suggestion to make this game better is to make more choices because I feel that I am limited to choose the most irritating choices to anger people and gain followers. I think that when a page is constantly attacking and making allegation can lead to its followers to become suspicious which will blow the entire operation of the game!
Game 6: Gender Equality
The game of Gender Equality is a student made game that highlights the struggles that females face in Egypt due to the stereotypical ideologies that are held by their parents. The game tries to put you in the shoe of a girl that is growing up and how she is critiqued or praised based on the decisions that they make and whether they conform with the stereotype that parents in Egypt have. To begin with, I started the game being in a toy shop and I had to decide which toy to get. I myself really love cars and ever since I was a child I would always ask for a remote controlled car and my parents would never say that it is not the correct toy for my gender or age. On the contrary, when I asked my father to get me a toy car as a little girl, he got upset and forced me to get a baby born or an easy bake oven because its going to give me motherly experience that I will use in the future. I was not shocked that this would be the outcome of choosing the car, but it made me realize that girls can have struggles choosing what they want in a society that has predetermined gender rules and norms. I just wanted to note that this can happen to boys also where they wanted to get a “girly” toy like the baby born and I can assume that the father will also be upset and say no to the gift but I think that this topic will be even more harsh with girls. Moving on, I decided to be an engineer on career day but my teacher discouraged me and said that engineering is more of a “man” job. I can assume that this is true because many people tend to think that engineering requires a lot of time and hard work to finish the job at hand, but I am totally against this notion. I personally would not discourage a female to become an engineer, but I would discourage a female from pursuing a certain engineering field like construction because all the workers there are mainly not engineers rather they are construction site workers and these people are known to be picky and they will not work without aggression and even cursing, which is something that also “conforms” with males in Egypt. If the female wishes to pursue a career in mechanical, electronics or electrical, computer engineering or science, I would encourage her to do so because in these majors, there are less of workers and many experienced and more civilized engineers and this will work well with the notion that we hold for females in Egypt. Moving on, in choosing the high school A level subjects that I wanted to take in order to pursue a career, I was discouraged as a female to go down the scientific path of math, physics, chemistry and so on. On the other hand, males will be encouraged and even praised if they select this path and can be ridiculed if they choose the arts path because “its a feminine and easy task” or even “what will you leave to the girls” which is something that I am totally against. The game shows that Egyptians are very strongly influenced by society’s dictated gender norms and roles and that decisions made by both genders, especially the females, are made under constant pressure of having to “abide” by the norms of society! Moving on, I was enraged by the fact that my in-game father was discouraging me and trying to convince me that a woman “belongs to her husband’s house” and that education will be unnecessary. The game here tries to represent how restricted and bounded the lives of females to the extent that education is not needed and they should do nothing but be sit at home mothers! I managed to be successful as I have become a well educated, married women to the husband that I love and I have a child that I love so much. Additionally, I have proven to my husband that I am strong and independent and I can balance between social time and family time. This makes me have the freedom in deciding whether to work or stay at home for some years until my child is older and this makes me feel good and not confined to the house and having to live as a servant in my own house! I, as Hassan, did the test as if I had a female child and tried to make decisions that I as her father would agree or disagree on and I am proud and happy to say that I have succeeded since the game was made by a fellow girl student. I really tend to think that I will do whatever my children want because they will be my whole entity and by far my greatest achievement and therefore, I will try to be the father I could for them!
In conclusion, I wanted to relate all the games together with each other and describe my feelings towards all the games. Firstly, I wanted to mention that all the games really had me critically think in order to make a decision. The games represented to me how hard life decisions are in multiple shoes of different variety of people, and that different decisions have different outcomes. Additionally, the games underlined the fact that most of the time in life, things do not go according to plan and we as humans should not give up rather we should try and try and try until we reach our goals! Secondly, I wanted to mention that I felt sadness and empathy towards all the different groups that I represented throughout the 6 games. Each game has a different prompt and different outcomes, but I was touched by all games and I felt a bit of sadness towards people who are oppressed, manipulated, elderly, different gender equality, and sleep deprived mothers. Finally, I wanted to highlight that we, as children and students, mostly do not appreciate the hard work that our parents and professors do in order to make our lives easier. Parents and professors can go through literal hell and we do not know anything about it, yet they try their best to make us better in life and as people by teaching us and raising us well! Therefore, I ask all of you my friends to appreciate the hard work that is done for you and to truthfully be thankful for your parents and professors, please let me know if you have any additional comments, and play the games and tell me if you have similar or different comments or feelings towards these games. Waiting for your responses and I hope that you enjoy the games as much as I did!
One response to “Digital narrative Games”
I really enjoyed your blogpost, but I am sorry to tell you that Syrians are not easily welcomed in Egypt in the way that you think, unforunately (by the government).