Global Crisis 2020: PITCH

For my game pitch, I decided to create a short clip explaining the main themes and mechanics of my game, Global Crisis 2020. This was because I drew a lot of inspiration from our week on machinima and by reading Moore and Barwell’s (2013) article, Understanding Machinima (Chapter 11). Moore and Barwell (2013) outline machinima as a participatory media and a communicative media art-form. Creating this clip has made others envisage the game as if it were real.

After pitching my game to the class, many people referred me to Papers Please, a video game created by indie game developer Lucas Pope. In summary, the game focuses on the emotional toll of working as an immigration officer in a fictional dystopian country of Arstozka, deciding whom to let in and whom to exclude from entering the county. See a gameplay of Papers Please below (I think the narrator’s accent makes the whole video):

After spending time on building the mechanics of my game (see the Google doc here). I have come to realise the very sensitive issue around ‘terrorizing cities’ and the research needed in finding out the specifics of how refugees are processed in Australia. I have found two really straightforward and reliable websites explaining the process of refugees from their home country to Australia, see the links below:

  1. Immigration Direct 
  2. Human Rights – Asylum seekers and refugees 

The main limitation of my game design which will also effect the game’s marketing and distribution is the heavy theme. A lot of people play games to escape ‘reality’ and have fun, “games are still regarded with suspicion as activities that detract from the serious business of work” (Moore 2011, Pg. 337). Global Crisis 2020 will be posed as an educational game, which will put the creativity of play towards a functional outcome and produce a productive end (Moore 2011). See a video below about what board games can teach us, the example used in Pandemic!



Barwell, G. and Moore C. 2013, ‘World of Chaucer: Machinima and Adaptation’, in Understanding Machinima: Essays on Filmmaking in Virtual Worlds, edited by Jenna Ng, Continuum: London.

Moore, Christopher 2011 The Mobility of Play, Convergence 17(4) 373-387. 



  1. I think a game that tackles issues re: humanitarian issues could be an educational tool for those unaware (such as myself) about the situation at large. Perhaps the inclusion of factual statistics and process that go on now to draw a user emotional response could be a way you address having such a realistic event as indeed a “game”. If people get involved in this mechanic of realising their actions in the game are going to have consequences, such as in papers please, then it could be an influential way to educate. The way educational games can be structural in an environment such as a university degree or specialist course, for example international studies, could see the success of this game. Perhaps researching into alternative readings and texts, away from journal articles etc. that are offered to educate about asylum seekers could help in the way you lay out the purpose or “aim of winning”. The resources that you’ve attached would be a great inclusion into some of the gameplay, perhaps by the individual processes that happen (background checks, health and safety checks) there are information from these within it, so the player understands exactly what each action involves and realises this is actually happening. It could be a transmedia text format that links perhaps with QR codes on the board to websites or statistics about current world news. If people are becoming concerned with what they’re understanding whilst playing the game, you have an opportunity to steer them in a direction so they can help (charities, policies, petitions) such as ( , this could help in the “serious theme” your game has gained, as well as justify its educational significance.

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  2. While games and serious issues aren’t generally teamed together, it is definitely an emerging trend. If sensitive issues are included poorly in a game, without thought or sincerity, things can go bad. However, lately more and more games are successfully tackling serious issues, such as “Papers, Please!” It is good to see that you have categorised your game as having a heavy theme, so I’m sure you will present the refugee problem in the right way. Here is a game which came from a “serious games” course where students are encouraed to make games tackling “heavy themes”.

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  3. I think you’re working with a great concept. What you’ll need to decide is what you’re going for. By making an educational game, do you want it to be a game that people play once, and then can walk away from with a new understanding about the global refugee crisis? Or rather, would you like it to be a game that people would return to a few times if not frequently to continue playing?

    Perhaps it could involve some form of resource collecting system, or finance system. I also quickly imagined a feature where, for example, you have the world map where you distribute refugees who have set up camps which are growing. Perhaps you can then include a few different ways to deal with the refugees, ie. invest in the camps to improve the living conditions and expanding them, setting up new camps, sending refugees to countries where they’ll be able to settle, or working towards settling the conflict in the nations so they can return to their home countries. I think the game has a lot of potential, and I’m looking forward to see how it manifests. I personally think it would actually make for a great app for mobile phones and tablets.

    All the best!

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  4. I think pitching this game as an education one is a good idea as like you said, it would be hard to promote a game like this as “entertaining”. Have you thought at all about the target market for this game? Is it a game for high school students only? I feel as though this is might be a game that you would need at least a basic understanding of the current refugee situation. And is this a game targeted to Australia only? Even though the game is based in Australia, there are refugees all over the world, so would someone in another country still be able to learn from the game? Great job so far!


  5. I really like the idea that you are taking with your game as it is rare to find a game with heavy themes and especially one that tackles the issues that you want to tackle with it. The hardest part about this would be how would you make this game enjoyable for someone to play while also being able to be about such hard hitting issues such as refugees and also being educational. Another thing is that it is really limiting the target audience by making it an educational game about such a heavy issue that it might not cater to younger audiences who don’t understand the concept of what is happening in the real world, or it is going for a mature audience who might also already know about the issues so it would then not be very educational, so it limits your audience to old enough people to take into consideration what is happening, but also who aren’t already knowledgeable about what is happening. I still love the idea but I find it hard to market to a mass audience.


  6. Glad I could be of help suggesting Papers, Please! as it’s a game that really walks the line between entertaining and eye-opening in a sobering manner. It succeeds very well as social commentary because of its perceived trivialization of the issue. Playing a faceless border-control officer performing this repetitive task really evokes the dehumanizing and unsympathetic process that the job is in real life and it puts you directly in those shoes; free to decide the fate of many unfortunate people while yourself struggling to survive. It’s pretty nihilistic, but that’s okay. Games don’t have to be about bombast, they can be meaningful experiences if they’re engaging enough and have a unique premise which I believe your game pitch absolutely does. The trick is approaching it the correct way, but as long as you’re aware of the issues you’ve listed at the end of your video, I think you can respectfully avoid them.


  7. Papers, Please! is a fantastic example to influence your design. I think it’ll be a good point from which to ground your design – an idea that’s pretty well put together and I think does a great job of targeting and appealing to a set audience. Games are more and more becoming part of the education system, so something like this could really do well there. Great job thus far, the video trailer is a nice touch!


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