ProPublica and WYNC produced The Waiting Game, an online game designed to introduce users to the experiences of asylum seeks before, during, and after their attempts to make it to the United States. The author’s of the game explain:
Based on the real case files of five asylum seekers from five countries and interviews with the medical and legal professionals who evaluate and represent them, The Waiting Game is an experimental news game that lets you walk in the shoes of an asylum seeker, from the moment they choose to come to the United States to the final decision in the cases before an immigration judge.
ProPublica and Playmatics interviewed or obtained material from physicians, psychiatrists, case officers, country experts, lawyers and judges who were either directly involved with these cases or who regularly see cases like these. We’ve omitted some details to protect the identities of the asylum seekers.
The international system designed to protect people fleeing dangerous countries was developed as a result of World War II, when countries, including the U.S., shut their doors to Jews fleeing the Holocaust.
The five stories represent the five criteria for refugee status defined under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, which requires member states not to deport people fleeing persecution based on “race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.”
Follow this link to play the game
- What do you learn about the experience of asylum seekers from playing The Waiting Game?
- What do you think was the author’s intent? Who was their audience? What do you think they wanted you to take away? What evidence do you have to back up your opinions?
- How does the medium, in this case a game, influence the way you respond to the stories they present? Compare the experience to reading about asylum seekers or watching a short film. Try a search for articles and videos and reflect on the similarities and differences in the way you consume and understand what you take in.
- Some people have argued that games are not the right medium to explore series subjects. Some of the concern is related to vocabulary. What is a game? What is the purpose? A person who reads an article is a reader, someone who experiences a game is a player. In what ways were you “playing” The Waiting Game?