An opensource videogame transports the player into the virtual reality of a young illegal immigrant. The aim? To raise awareness and to help immigrants find the tools they need to survive ...
Videogames to cross borders. This is the idea behind Bordergames.org, a videogame in which you can cross the Mediterranean in a raft, deliberately leaving your documents behind and try to make a living for yourself in Madrid, Gijòn or Barcelona as an illegal immigrant ? all in the virtual world, of course.
?You are a 17 year old magrebì (Spanish for North African) immigrant. You don?t have any documents. You are in the plaza de Lavapiès in Madrid and you ask a policeman for information.?
This is how Bordergames Lavapiès, Bordergames.org?s first videogame project, kicks off. Bordergames is a platform that creates reality action games. Games that reflect the point of view of a community that is both vulnerable and excluded: the community made up of young, illegal, immigrants living in Spain.
If the policeman asks you for your papeles ? documents ? and you tell him you don?t have any your game is over: he will send you to a detention centre for minors until you turn 18. The game over means that your adventure has come to end, as it does in the real life.
Simulation and reality
The idea behind the project is the Fiambrera Obrera?s, an artistic initiative based in Madrid. Everything began in 2000 when they proposed that a group of young immigrants design a videogame that reflected their every day experiences. It is situations like looking for a place to sleep, for a job and all the related social and health issues illegal immigrants have to face that feature in the videogame.
These games, created by immigrants, are designed to be a constructive tool for immigrants as much as an awareness-raising tool for society at large. ?During the game players suddenly find themselves inside the shoes of the game?s protagonists? explains the Fiambrera Obrera.
Bordergames Lavapiès are based on opensource software, so can be downloaded for free from the website.