A game that’s hitting home in a lot of ways, especially for anyone living in Europe, That Day We Left has hit Kickstarter in an effort to gather up some funds to continue development. I’ve been following this game for a while, after the developers got in touch with me about it initially, and it sounds like an interesting concept. However, I do think that this game is going to be met with a lot of hostility from those who either don’t understand the refugee crisis in Europe, or who choose to ignore it. Please give the game a chance and look into things before you pass judgement, there are plenty of games out there which touch on real life subjects, and they’ve done well for the most part, and so should this.
What is That Day We Left?
It’s hard to pigeonhole this game into just one category. There are elements of base-survival games like Sheltered and This War Of Mine, where you must manage your people, gathering resources, and the near-constant threat of being discovered and killed. There are also elements of Oregon Trail, where you see your ever-growing group of refugees travelling from one place to another in an effort to escape the conflict they’re fleeing from, only to face hardships like bombing runs, or military checkpoints.
The game is made to give a neutral view of the crisis currently occurring in Syria. You’ll follow what begins as a family, but grows into a group of survivors over time. There isn’t a set number of levels or encounters, or even characters, as these are all factors affected by Kickstarter Backers. You could become a volunteer in the game, an npc, or create a level with the developers with a scenario of your own imagining. You could also bag yourself a limited edition of the physical copy if you want, which is what I’ve opted for with my backing of the game.
It might seem insensitive to create a game, and therefore generate profit, from a crisis that’s killing people every day. For anyone in Europe this conflict hits home, it isn’t something we’re separated from in any way, it’s right on our doorstep. However, the developers are making clever decisions that show they aren’t trying to make money off the back of war like some massive Western superpower. For example, the characters, though fleshed out with personalities, quirks, and real relationships that develop and break down over the course of the game, they have no faces. This design choice, in my opinion, shows how every story we hear about the crisis is given to a faceless person or group of people. We never know who has died or been stuck in rubble for a week, but we know they’re people. I think the faceless figures with real emotions we play as shows how our attitude towards the crisis is trivial compared to what it would be if we were experiencing it ourselves.
The scenarios cover all kinds of real life problems that refugees face. First of all, Refugee Camps, which are ripe with all sorts of horrible people and conditions making life hell for anyone trapped in there. Some refugees manage to drive most of the way to a new home, only to break down, having to make camp in the bombed out shell of a nearby town with no knowledge of the local military forces. Finally, some refugees who manage to make it across open water to a new country are met with soldiers sending them right back to their oppressors, a horrible situation for both sides. These scenarios and more bring to life exactly what it’s like to be a refugee, how hard it is to protect your family, and just how privileged we are to not know these experiences first-hand.
Check out the Kickstarter for That Day We Left and give them something please, people need to play this game. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Image Source: Kickstarter