The video game idea that caused a walkout

In an effort to raise awareness of the situation of children in South Sudan, UNICEF embarked on an unusual kind of campaign.

We sent an actor, a film crew and two South Sudanese youth to a major video game convention in Washington, D.C., and we were given a keynote address slot to pitch an exciting new video game to an audience of gaming enthusiasts.

The gamers in the room were real, as were their reactions and the footage that we captured for this short film.

In 2014, disasters and crises have affected children in many parts of the world.

In South Sudan, which only a few years ago celebrated its independence, food crisis and conflict during the past year have had deadly consequences for children.

Raising awareness is just one step toward helping the children of South Sudan, who are living every day in a life-or-death situation, and it is not a game.

This video is not intended as a comment or attack on the gaming community.

Learn more about how UNICEF is reaching children in South Sudan: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/s…

Received an email a while ago with the link to the video.
I am not against having awareness, as in their intention, on the situation of children in South Sudan.
But, the first thing that came to my mind was, what are they really trying to achieve by doing this “awareness”?

First of all, do not attack on the gaming community when they leave the room.
What would you have expected?
“The protagonist is an under-aged girl who went into prostitution and whatnot.”
Actually, it sounds like “Walking Dead” and “This War of Mine”.
Even if it’s a non-violent game, if it’s not something to my liking, I won’t even be around any longer to hear what it’s about at some launch.
I’m not going to a game convention lingering around somewhere I don’t want to be at.
They were there because they wanted a game.
They didn’t like the sound of that “game”, thus, leaving.
Maybe the idea of the game was disturbing (they don’t plan to play that kind of game).
They were definitely planning to enjoy their time in a gaming convention because it’s probably their free time to relax and take time off from reality by gaming and trying new games.
That sounded more like lecturing and preaching.
You dampened the mood, they got frustrated.
Non-gamers who see and don’t understand will start saying gamers do not care, etc.

Second, non-gamers have started to dig out that old topic of gaming bringing nothing, but, violence and negative impacts towards gamers (may they be kids or adults).
Sick of that topic!
The correlation does not make sense and is of no guarantee whatsoever.
Luckily I work with intelligent people.
As they themselves agree that violent games =/= violent people.
Most of my friends are gamers.

Third, why was your target audience aimed at gamers?
What was the aim in this?
Gamers aren’t exactly the richest people in the world.
A lot of them are still in school.
Even I was given enough pocket money for only daily lunch.
Sure, my indulgence was in buying games and gaming equipment.
Why weren’t they targeting the big-shots?
Or were they initially trying to target the gaming scene, so, that the big-shots would roll their eyes and start pointing fingers at us… just to attract their attention?

Hello everyone, thanks for all your comments, we really appreciate you voicing your opinions on the video as well as the situation of children in South Sudan.

We wanted to take this opportunity to make some clarifications. The purpose of this video is to bring to light the incredibly difficult reality many children in South Sudan face on a daily basis. It is not intended as a comment or attack on the gaming community. We used this concept to raise awareness about the issues in South Sudan – and highlight that such shocking stories are true and not making the news. The South Sudan civil war has been going on for one year and children are bearing the brunt of the conflict: http://www.unicef.org/media/media_78094.html We should also add that this video game ‘idea’ is not something we think should be turned into an actual video game. Rather, our hope is that ALL of us, no matter our occupation or hobby, don’t become immune to the difficult circumstances children face.

As an organization that is active on social media, part of our approach is to have conversations in relevant places and on platforms with audiences that matter to us. With that said, we would appreciate it if you can keep all views constructive. Comments using hate speech, swearing or sharing graphic images will be removed as per our community guidelines.

Fourth, if it was to show that war or exploitation of children, etc are real and games show a grey view of what they really mean.
You should’ve showed this to game developers, not gamers.
It could actually raise awareness if made into a real game.
Story lines (especially touching ones) tend to linger in the mind longer when you’ve played hours in a game with a real backbone of a story.
I’ve read a few story books based off reality.

Fifth, if they wanted gamers to join in the cause, then, work with the gaming community.
What was the idea like?
“Got it!!! Let’s go to a video game convention and lie to them about a game we will never create. Send a message about what we are doing and hopefully, they will donate and forward this message around.”
Just because viral videos “sell”.
Was that a gimmick?

Sixth, apart from some who game professionally, the rest game as a hobby.
Others, like me, do so to escape from reality.
You have just brought me back to reality.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m sorry for their plight.
I’ve been working in a non-profit organisation in a humanitarian sector to help others for 3 years now.
But, can’t I run away from reality other than having to work day and night facing with this?
While the rest, during their leave or free-time, enjoy going to the beach or travelling or spending time with their family or go about their beloved hobbies which they’d probably had no time on, whilst, working.
I want to game (whatever the game genre)…. that’s my hobby… that’s what makes me relax, at times.
If I was there, I would get frustrated as well.
I’m not getting my time off from work like everyone else.
Who doesn’t have the right to leave work entirely and go for a holiday?
My holiday is gaming.
That is NOT fair.
I’d probably wouldn’t have the mood for anything else afterwards (I would’ve wasted my off day).
You’ve just made me sad on a lot of levels, yes, that includes that I wish I could help, but, I can’t help further and that I’m back to being stressed all over again.
I’m being honest on how I feel.

The marketing strategy is wrong from many angles.

</3 Icesabel

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