I usually do not play online games; I am more of a PlayStation person since I was a child. However, recently in class, we were assigned to play online games. The first game played was Spent, and the second was the Syrian Journey. With each game, I had a different story. Spent made me realize how stressful life could. As teenagers, we all know that life is stressful and full of ups and downs, but we never got to truly experience it since we know that we have our families’ support for the time being. Thus there is nothing to worry about. Spent put me in a situation where I have to make significant decisions regarding my life. I tried to think logically through out this game. Find a job that provides you with the highest salary; then you will live a good life. But that was not the case. Throughout this game, I tried to stay true to myself and what I am used to in my current life. And on day 7, I ran out of money. The decisions I took were based on what I would do now or what was smarter, pay all bills now or pay some and leave the rest, causing more problems such as an increase in the amounts. I went with pay all the bills now. I chose the cheapest medical care. I tried to reduce my expenses as much as possible, and I could not even last for eight days. This made me realize that there are people out there going through exactly what I went through. The only difference is that my experience was nothing but a game, whereas theirs is real life. It made me realize that people who have either low or high income go through a lot. I am not speaking of millionaires even though they also go through their stressful episodes. It made me see that life is tough, and it put me in my father’s shoes. I saw what he goes through every day. It made me remember the times I would tell my father I want this and that, and he would tell me to wait. I have a lot of responsibilities this month postpone your needs for the next month. I would get mad even though he did not say no. He simply told me to wait because I wanted what I wanted now. And now I know what he meant by I have responsibilities. He has a family that he must think of, furthermore, regarding what improvements could be added. I honestly have nothing to say. The game was not time-consuming since I lost on day seven, was not wordy, and it included visual effects. 

The Syrian Journey was something else. I did not have the luxury to make such decisions. I was forced to leave my homeland to simply live. Thus resulting in me losing a lot of money when it came to selling my house. While playing this game, I also tried to stay true to my character, resulting in the following decisions. I chose to go to Turkey because first, the living conditions were better than Egypt, secondly because my family and I could reach Europe by land, which is safer than by sea (because I have seen how in real life Syrian died on the sea and I did not want to make the same mistake.) Which later took me to Abu Hassan, the smuggler. I refused to pay him the deposit believing that he would end up deceiving me. Throughout the game, I tried to follow logical decisions. And that lead me to the border between Turkey and Greece, where I was faced with the decision of either saving the woman and her daughter’s life or fleeing to the woods with my family. What came into my mind directly was God and how if I am capable of saving someone’s life, I must because I cannot bear their blood on my hands nor the punishment I would receive later. And that is what I did, I saved their lives, and I ended up in a refugee camp in Turkey without my family nor money. At that moment, I thought of my mother and how I cannot bear to imagine life without her, and I felt my heartbreak. I thought that if staying away from my mother for a couple of days makes me sad, then how would I feel if I ended up in a country all alone. I later realized that actual people went through this exact episode and that it is not fake. We lived the news, but we never got to experience it truly. I had a Syrian friend in school, and I know what she went through seeing her beloved country end up like that. But I have never heard her talk about her family’s similar experience in Abu Dhabi with her. On the other hand, her grandparents were in Syria. I heard her talking about bombs and how her grandparents were close to them and how she would thank God they were alive. She would reassure herself that they are safe because they lived in an area near to the president’s place, but I still saw the fear in her eyes. We hear news on the TV, but we never really give it the thought unless we experience it ourselves. Moreover, I have one comment for this game. Adding visuals would have had a more significant effect on the player. 

Furthermore, we were later then assigned to play four other games. I chose to play Single Mothers and their DaughtersBury me, my LoveIlliteracy Game, and Know Yourself. I decided these games to experience different feelings. The reason I chose to play Single Mothers and Their Daughters was because I wanted to see what do they go through in their lives. I always experienced it from far. I had a friend raised by her mother, but I never asked her for details. Thus I knew nothing about that part of her life. The closest I got to experience such life was through TV shows. Through out playing this game, I tried to think of my mother of how she would act if it were her and us only. And upon that, I made my decisions as a single mother. She would take us to the doctor regardless of what. Unless it’s a flew because she knows the cure to it-lemon water mixed with some ginger. Later in the game, I was forced to choose between either taking the phone from my daughter’s hand and talking to her father or to simply ignore it and call him later. Here I got stuck should I correct my daughter’s father in front of her or call him later and fight with him. I knew that I had to correct him right now in order for my daughter to understand that dating at an early age is entirely inappropriate, but at the same time, I did not want to argue with him in front of her. I thought of my mother and what she would; thus, I chose the first option. But then I ended up upsetting my daughter because I fought with her father, which was not a win-win situation. I was honestly mad at the outcome of this decision; however, when I thought of it in real life, it would probably end in the same way, especially that I am a short-tempered person, thus when a person who is involved in neither my daughter’s life nor I, I would probably blast out. Later then, the role-play changed. I became the daughter, and it was not nicer. I felt that there would be tension between the daughter and mother because I will start to see what the daughter truly feels. While making decisions for that role play, I imagined the relationship I have with my mother. How I am honest with her, but at the same time, hide things from her that upset me because I know that she becomes upset later. There came a time when I had to either tell my mother the truth about what upset me during the wedding we attended or to lie to her. I chose to tell her the truth. In real life, my mother tries to hide it in, but I know that deep down, she was actually sad, and that upsets me even more, and I end up feeling guilty for it. And that was the exact outcome in the game. When I first played Single Mothers and their Daughters, I was not interested. But in the end, the message that showed up was horrible. I was in shock. I could not believe how the game I had just played was someone else’s life. I role-played a real story. Moreover, I have one additional improvement: it would have been much better if it was designed in the format of a survey other than the survey. I felt as if I was answering a survey, not playing a game. 

The second game was Bury me, my love. Honestly, this game was too long. I understand the developer’s message; however, I believe it could have been done in a better way. For example, decreasing the time and including more visuals would make the player feel more emotionally connected. It sends a more vital message. I was honestly too excited to try out this game because of its name. The game’s name was an attention grabber, and I wanted to see how the game would attract me as much as its name. However, I was a bit disappointed. In the first five minutes, I began to lose interest because no action was taking place. It was all about WhatsApp messages. I waited until the day came September 30th. But the action that occurred on September 30th, I did not feel emotionally connected to it. Even though I should have, I expected that I would feel the same feelings I felt while playing the Syrian Journey, if not even more. I honestly could not find something to relate to that much. I felt a bit hurt when she spoke of the small girl. Because it made me see or realize that little innocent girls or kids, in general, had to see such awful scenes at a very young age when they should be out there playing with their friends, I genuinely believe that this game could have been mind-blowing if it was not long or at least started a day before September 30th while including real images. 

The next game was Illiteracy Awareness. Now that was completely different. My first reaction to the second question was “WHAT!! I do not know Chinese,” even though it might turn out to not be Chinese. But I was baffled. I was not sure in what format will game continue. The first question asked me how I would like to help my children with their disadvantage since they often ask me for help, and I decided to go with the long-term solution that joined a literacy class. Then a question came up where I had to identify a cat, and I did not know what to do. I do not understand the language. How am I supposed to answer this? Then I did what anyone would do, which is a guess. And by luck, I was right, and till now, I am in shock. Then came the question regarding my father’s medicine. And I did not know what to answer. Then I chose to give up because I will not risk giving my father the wrong medication. I thought the game would continue, but it ended. The message was delivered, and I believe that it was harshly delivered. Yet the game was concise. If the game resumed after I chose to give up, it would have been much better. I did not mean to give up on the game; I decided to give up trying to find the medicine and find another solution. Call a doctor, for example, to explain how the medicine looks like or search for the medicine on google and try to translate its name. I believe that these additions would have caused the game to be much better. But overall, I liked the game because even if it was short, it delivered its message. That there are many illiterate people in Egypt, whether males or females; however, female numbers are more. The game put me in their shoes. I was illiterate even if for a minute, I had no subtitles like I have when watching a Spanish or Turkish series. I truly understood nothing, and that was the aim. I know of an illiterate person, and my mother would always tell me to try in your free time to teach her how to read. She would always tell me that I would gain so much from helping her. I would be the reason she would be capable of reading the Quran. But I never had the time, or when I had it, I wanted it for myself, causing me to be a selfish person. I did not see it in that way before, but now I do. 

Lastly, was the Know Yourself game? I chose this game to discover myself as I always find difficulty answering questions related to me. Thus I wanted to give it a try. And I turned out to be a judgmental person. I am not shocked because I believe that every person is judgmental, whether consciously or unconsciously. Being unconsciously biased is not as bad as being intentionally biased, but that does not make it okay. I believe that every person should try to change that part of them. However, at the same time, I cannot entirely blame them as I think that the reason we build some prejudgements is due to what we lived through. For example, here in Egypt, the rates of sexual harassment are incredibly high. I have been sexually harassed in the Egyptian streets. Thus when a random guy comes up to me in the road late at night, I will be suspicious regardless of how he looks like even though looking untidy would add to the feeling. Secondly, I found that this game assumes the most innocent scenarios. For example, it never made my assumptions correct even though in most of the cases provided in this game in real life, I might be correct. I honestly found this game to be judgmental towards me. 

Overall I had a good experience while doing this assignment. However, my favorite games were Spent and The Syrian Journey. They were straight to the point, fun, engaging, not time consuming, and not wordy. Their messages were clear. They had visual they made me feel as if I were living these events. I was fully immersed in them. Whereas the other games, I did not feel this particular feeling even though they were lovely. My least favorite was Bury me, my Love, and that was a shock. I thought that it was fantastic. Also, what made Spent and The Syrian Journey the best was their game format. It was an attention grabber. 

One thought on “Reflection

  1. Thanks for this, Zeina. I can see you had deep reactions to each of the games. I am curious about the illiteracy game and how you would have Googled something if you were truly illiterate???? I think you forgot for a minute that the player couldn’t read *any* language


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