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These video games are telling stories of immigration and anxiety

Developed by first-generation immigrants, these games are commissioned to creatively tell cultural stories.

The Llama Express is among several games telling stories about immigrants commissioned for Play NYC.
Alpaca Games

Immigration, depression, anxiety and international cultures will be the focus of a series of games being developed for a New York gaming event, with an eye on giving players a unique take on real issues.

Playcrafting, a New York-based gaming event company commissioning the games, has asked first-generation immigrant developers to create titles that tell their stories as immigrants as well as creatively express their culture.

The games themselves will be on display as "Graffiti Games" installations during the Play NYC event at the Manhattan Center from Aug. 11 to 12, and range from a literal race to obtain a visa to playing the role of a consoling barber. The games will also be on display on the event's Twitch stream for anyone who cannot make it to New York for the games' debut.

Some of the games to be on display include:

  • Home Stretch by Prashast Thapan from New Delhi, India: An arcade-style racing game in which a player will race through a city reminiscent of New Delhi to obtain a visa, and then head to New York. During their travels, obstacles will pile up and the trip becomes progressively more difficult.
  • Bizarre Barber by Maria Mishurenko and Gordey Chernyy from West Kazakhstan: Players become barbers in a surreal shop in which cutting clients' hair helps to relax anxieties and disturbing thoughts.
  • The Llama Express by Pilar Aranda from Valencia, Spain and Saúl Peña Gamero from Lima, Peru: A lighthearted game in which players ride a train through the fictional country of Esperú, feeding hungry llamas encountered along the way with traditional Hispanic food from the train.
  • A Hero's Journey by Kurt Young from Beijing, China: A VR game in which players first design an environment, choose a hero, a prince or princess and a villain and watch a story unfold. Players need to use either VR or a projector to battle through obstacles the game contains.
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