Are you ready to play ‘Who Wants to Be a Refugee?’

Because I sure am!

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[Note: If you are the type of person who is easily offended by anything or are fond of political correctness, you’re probably going to want to leave now.]

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Oh good, you’re still here.  I love you guys. Kay so…

The UN recently released a new app called ‘My Life as a Refugee.’  You can watch the promotional video here:

Sounds pretty epic, right?  Noooope.  It’s a ‘game’ that’s supposed to raise awareness for the plight of refugees around the world, but it’s basically just a choose your own adventure where every option is horrible.

Allow me to walk you through the game I played on my friend’s Android phone the other day (not available on iOS yet):

First you get to select your character.

You can also choose to be an African woman with dangerous political opinions, but I couldn’t fit her into the screen shot.  I picked the preggers chick. Our story starts…

I decided that recovering a body sounded like hard work, especially since I’m pregnant and shouldn’t be lifting heavy things (besides, I’m more used to disposing of bodies) so I opted to stay home. Apparently that was the incorrect choice, because moments later the game informed me that armed militants were now coming to my house and I pretty much had to flee. This is so not what I planned on doing today. (This is what I imagine Merita would be saying right now, but only after taking a Xanax to calm down after learning her husband was dead.  I am a terrible, terrible human being.)

Hmmm…what to take? Only 22 seconds to decide! Crap! Uh…ok…if I take the jewelry and money it’s probably just going to give some asshole with a machete more incentive to rape and/or steal from me so that’s no good. Food and water seems like a safer choice except all my tupperware is in the dishwasher and I haven’t gone food shopping since like, Wednesday so there’s probably nothing worth taking anyway. I guess I’ll have to go with clothes and blankets. Yes, definitely clothes and blankets. Click. Whew! Five seconds to spare. This game is stressful! (Does anyone else think this is a rather arbitrary question? I mean, if you’re grabbing stuff, couldn’t you take a variety of things? You could, you know, run into your room and grab a sweater; while you’re in there, shove your grandmother’s wedding ring and a couple of 20s in your pocket, then raid the fridge and swipe that quilt off the back of the couch on your way out the door. Cause that’s how I’d do it.) I sort of wish I had let the clock run down just to see what would happen.  Oh well, there’s always next time.

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Okay, so I’m out of the house, I’ve got my stuff and my fam and I’m totally ready to bust out of this one-donkey village when Oh no!

So what, I don’t have the option to go back and get them? I’m travelling on foot with a bunch of crying children and an old lady and clearly none of us are wearing shoes. How far could we have gotten? Ok…whatevs. Guess I’ll keep walking then.

What the hell? Two crappy things in a row and I didn’t even get to choose my own adventure! Lame. Alright, let’s find out what happens next…

Seriously!? Come on! I’ve only been playing for five minutes! Screw this, I’m starting another game. Let’s see what Paulo’s life is like…

Paulo’s life is infinitely better than Merita’s.  This game is much more exciting.  I already made it through level one with relative ease, I got the red candle, mastered the wooden sword and picked up an extra heart container…oh wait…I just got bored and started describing The Legend of Zelda. Sorry.

Okay…so Paulo’s brother gets conscripted into the rebel army and Paulo has to decide if he wants to try to rescue his brother and probably get killed, or flee.  Based on my last experience, I think it’s pretty obvious that they want you to try and flee.  Plus that’s kind of the whole point of being a refugee, right?

So we’re fleeing and then big surprise

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I will never submit!! I’m going to resist like a mofo!  Bring on the awesome fight sequence!

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You have got to be kidding me.  Sigh.  Moving on…

Paulo meets an old lady who needs help or something.  I’m totally bored with this so I’m all, Why not? Let’s go help the old lady.  And he helps her back to her village which is somehow not under attack(?) and she thanks him by giving him food and money.  Then he leaves. WTF!  Dude, you had a safe place to stay AND free food!  What is WRONG with this guy?  Does he not know how bad Merita has it?

Jerk.

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Um…no you don’t.  The old lady just gave you food and your jacket is nicer than mine so shut up.  You are a greedy, sullen teenager and I kind of hope a member of that angry militia shoots you in the face…and steals your jacket.  But I guess I’ll never know because it looks like it’s time for another gut-wrenching cliffhanger. I can hardly wait.

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Because I am stubborn and a glutton for punishment, I spent a few minutes (a very few minutes) checking out how life was going for the 24-yr-old African political dissident.  This one was kind of funny because every scenario I created ended the same way:

Every time.  In fact, her only big choice in the entire game is whether to use a friend’s smuggler who is charging $10,000 or go with your own discount smuggler who’s only charging $6,000.  [Spoiler Alert!  It totally doesn’t matter cause you’re gonna wind up stranded in the desert anyway.]  Also, how did she even acquire $10,000?  I don’t know any 24-yr-old Americans who just have $10,000.  If this poor chick in sub-Saharan African has access to ten grand, why the hell is she living there in the first place?  Couldn’t she buy a plane ticket and some forged travel documents and rent a crappy apartment in the Bronx?  Ethiopian food is HUGE here now.  She could make a killing!  The refugees in this game have absolutely no foresight.

In summary, this is pretty much the best game ever.  It’s super exciting, the interface is awesome and the action non-stop.  Way to go United Nations, the kids are totally gonna love this. I predict you’ve created the next Angry Birds. Bravo.

4 thoughts on “Are you ready to play ‘Who Wants to Be a Refugee?’

  1. What does it say about me if at the end of all of this the thing that stands out to me as most offensive is the unnecessary apostrophe they added to “1000’s” in the beginning of the video… Holy crap, I’m my mother, too!

  2. I would never be a good refugee. I’m way to anxious! I make myself nervous. I would just stay where I was and rollover and play dead. Hey, where do you find this stuff?

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