The image on the right is from a new video game project called ICED: I Can End Deportation, created by Breakthrough.TV, a human rights and arts group based in NYC and run by Mallika Dutt, the very active activist. It's launching in October 2007 and will be available free online. The name is a play on ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. government agency responsible for deportations and other crackdowns since 9/11.
Last week, the LAT ran a story about how video and board games are being used in the immigration debate and mentioned ICED, among other games.
Breakthrough worked with about 100 New York City high school students to create the ICED! I Can End Deportation video game, which was presented at the Games for Change conference last month and will be available for free online this fall. The target market is high school and college students.
"Especially for the age group below 35, online media has become a very central part of their lives," said Mallika Dutt, Breakthrough's executive director. "If we want to engage with these constituencies, we have to engage in the method and tools that make more sense to them."
Since then, Breakthrough has been deluged with media calls and Dutt has been been doing interviews nonstop. She's been on all sorts of media outlets, including Fox News Channel, Univision, several
Clearchannel radio stations, the Houston Chronicle.
Dutt told SAJAforum: "This has been an unexpected opportunity to talk about due process and deportation issues. We had no idea the video game concept would create such a buzz."
Here's how the game works:
Game players have to live the day-to-day life of an immigrant teen. The teens are constantly being chased by immigration officers, while making moral/consequential decisions and answering myth & fact quizzes about current immigration policies.
If the player chooses or answers incorrectly, he/she increases his or her chances of being thrown into detention. Once in detention, the player endures both physical separation from his/her family and unjust conditions while awaiting, often for unknown amounts of time, the random outcome of his/her case.
What do you think of this project? Post your comments below.