There are two kinds of people.

Those who think video games are art, and those who think they aren’t.

Actually, I lied, there’s a third kind of person: those who think that video games, as any form of culture, have the potential to be art, but that the video game tag doesn’t immediately make them art. More or less the same way Citizen Kane is probably art, while Catwoman probably isn’t.

There are two kinds of people.

Those who think we should grant asylum to all the people flying from death and war that reach our borders, and those who think we should keep them as far as possible to be safer and more prosper.

There is, maybe, a third kind of person: Those who recognise the situation as incredibly complex, but find it difficult to stand the moral outrage of watching millions of people trying to survive and being treated as cargo.

In both cases, we’re part of that third group.

We firmly believe in video games as the ultimate tool to build empathy, and we understand the refugee issue mainly as an empathy problem. When the public discourse around humans leaving their lives behind revolves around terrorism, unemployment, rape or an agenda towards the Islamisation of Europe, we think we are falling into an absolute lack of empathy. When the problems generated by a minority are generalised in order to discredit an entire population, we are failing as human beings. Not only are we building a separation between us and ‘the other’, but we are also failing to put ourselves in the shoes of these people.

“Once they get to Turkey they’re safe, anything else is to improve their economic status”. “Most of them want welfare from the government”. “They should go to Saudi Arabia, with the rest of Muslims”. “If they have iPhones probably they weren’t in such a bad situation”.

We fail at thinking how it must feel to spend years in a refugee camp, under constant uncertainty and danger.
We fail at understanding that some people may want more than surviving another day.
We fail at understanding that some people want a future for their children.

Because it’s not us. If we were in danger we would do whatever it takes to protect ourselves and our families. We would never let anything bad happen to them. But they’re not us. And then the logic fails. All is left is “We’re alright, and they’ve got the short end of the stick. Let’s thank God for that, and meanwhile, fuck them”.

Probably a video game won’t change that. There will always be an “other”, and there will always be somebody receiving the worst part. But if we can build a game that makes you think, that moves you and makes anyone rethink the ideas they have about refugees. If we deliver an honest game, we’ll have delivered.

Kakuma (working title) is being developed by Bruno Rodríguez with the help of a group of amazing friends, connections and people interested in the project.

Expect more updates in the future.

Meanwhile, if you want to help the project or give your view about it, contact us through Twitter or Facebook.