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The VICE Channels

    In 'Passengers,' You Play the Role of Human Smuggler

    Written by

    Rachel Pick

    Contributor

    What sort of judgment calls do human smugglers make, and how do they weigh the risks involved? Who are the individuals fleeing their home countries, and what are their stories? Created during the Ludum Dare 33 game jam, Passengers seeks to give some some answers these questions, and confronts you with the harsh facts of human smuggling.

    Motherboard wrote about what the UN is calling a “global migration crisis” a few weeks ago, covering the horrible, dangerous journeys people undertake to escape poor conditions in their home countries. The creators of Passengers wanted to take a step closer, away from the political noise surrounding the issue, and look at the lives of the refugees at the center of the crisis.

    As the smuggler in Passengers, you make the decision whether to take someone on based on their history, their attitude, their reasons for emigrating, and how much they can pay. You choose your means of transport, and face varied risks—the Coast Guard, passengers dying, or water shortage.

    Passengers was developed over the course of a weekend by Francois Alliot and Arnaud de Bock. The theme of the game jam was “You Are The Monster,” and Alliot and de Bock’s inventive response to the theme is both politically relevant and thought-provoking.

    The PICO-8 game is free for download.

    (Hat tip Leigh Alexander at BoingBoing)