_A _Friendly Game?__ puts you in the shoes of an Eastern Congolese woman starting her own football team.
Through sport, you want to take the young women in your neighbourhood's minds off the poverty, rebel groups, corruption, violence and mass rape typical of the region, and rebuild their hopes. You have only few resources to establish a strong but equally fragile social network of players in this unstable environment. You put a lot of work into training the women and preparing your team to play. You demonstrate your qualities as a social entrepreneur providing game, recreation and humour in times of terror.
A Friendly Game is a news game , a story driven management simulation . Characters and
storylines are based upon the region's actual people and events. As a player, you get involved in the local situation by constantly weighing out your competitive goals against social elements.
Worldwide, women have not been considerably represented in sporting events. The extent to which women gain access to these sporting activities is often a parameter for circumstances defining women's wellbeing, such as liberty, safety and equality. Eastern Congo is known to be the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman, the worst to be a mother.
Since the nineties, Congo's government has barely had any control over the area. Diverse rebel groups, originating in neighbouring countries, have found refugee in this densely wooded region, and have since survived there through illegal exploitation of subsoil raw materials. They have been terrorising the population with plundering, rape, slaughter and kidnapping. As if all of these safety and poverty problems are not sufficiently hard, Northern Kivu houses one of the world's most active volcanoes, the Nyiragongo.
Despite this tough environment, inhabitants do not constantly look dejected. Congolese laugh more than average and humour is an essential nourishment. The locals want to move forward and live. “Only God knows what tomorrow will bring” is a common answer to our question on how they keep finding the strength to keep smiling.
In A Friendly Game you enter the colourful though unpredictable world that is Eastern Congo.
The game wants to give its players insight into the daily challenges of people in conflict areas. It
therefore focusses on curious and open-minded people, not necessarily actively looking for more content behind headlines or international themes. These people do not identify themselves with (hardcore) gamers. We want to reach them through sociocultural partnering organizations, online and offline media partners. Determining these partnerships is a substantially important part of the pre-production phase.
A Friendly Game is a news game, a story driven management simulation, based on the lives of
women in the conflict area of Eastern Congo.
The game's goal is to bring distraction and recreation in the worst place to be a woman. You evolve in the game by starting and developing your own football team, and bringing it to a higher sportive level. You do this through networking and making the right choices in dialogues with the people in your network . The support or resistance from your environment will determine not only the competitive parameters but also the atmosphere within your team. Therefore it is really important to achieve the right balance between social and sportive elements.
You are in control of the sportive process of the game. These objectives are well-defined. You start a team, look for a football field, you manage a small budget, glean the necessary material, organise training sessions and games. You find the right people, material and money through your network. You go into conversation and will be asked to make strategic choices to obtain your sportive goals.
The game however has a storytelling character as well. You are in the Goma region, Eastern Congo, where life is never obvious. In a narrative way, the game is build around events causing both obstruction and opportunity. Storylines involve politics, safety issues, corruption, poverty and women's status. These can of course go hand in hand with opportunities: crop is good, you gain access to a good sponsor, politicians support you, a protest causes distraction.
The game is narratively composed of the following chapters, each chapter containing multiple short storylines :
Chapter 1: New District Chief
Chapter 2: Minor Criminality
Chapter 3: Ebola
Chapter 4: Player Goes Missing
Chapter 5: Street Protests
Chapter 6: Volcano Eruption
Chapter 7: Election Campaign
Chapter 8: Rebel Raids
Through dialogue, the game forces you to make choices, that will confronts you with moral dilemmas . By weighing out the wellbeing of your players and their sportive results, you experience how to make life work in a fragile state terrorised by rebels and corruption. If you succeed in providing balance, you obtain sportive rewards in the game.
Some of the characters, the protagonists , have an influence on how your story evolves. How you deal with them in the game, will determine the outcome: they can contribute to a solution, give you opportunities or on the contrary, obstruct you. Therefore the game has a variety of endings. A wrong strategy or a bad friendship can make your team split and get you caught in a negative spiral. If you get to a game over, you return some steps into the game to be able to start over.
You play the game from the perspective of a local woman
with a fondness for football and a heart for the girls and
women in her environment.
“When I saw the boys chasing the football in the stadion, I thought: I
want to do this as well. Why wouldn't a girl be able to? When violence
towards women increased, I realised we really needed this.” Jocelyne
You live in the outskirts of Goma, at the foot of the
volcano Nyaragongo. The district was built on the lava remaining
after the last eruption. It is in this area that you will set afoot football
and swing into action. You see the environment from the
perspective of someone actually standing there.
In a 360° panorama, you can look around you and address people.
Characters come and go. Further on in the game you can decide to
invest in a cell phone to make certain contacts available at all times.
In the final version, the left and right edges will connect, making it possible for you to spin around 360 degrees. Through the game, the area expands and more characters join in.
A variety of Congolese painters created an international furore and put the country and its artists on the map. Painters like Chéri Samba, Shula and Alfi Alfa are very recognisable in their colourful scenes depicting both daily life and political issues, as well as past and future.
We want these works of art to inspire our graphics. This is why we chose to work with the Belgian Congolese artist, Guy Atafo. He gets his inspiration from the Congolese art populaire. These colourful artworks are very representative of the Congolese's power and passion, capturing both the tough reality and at the same time radiate their optimism.
Moodboard op http://afriendlygame.tumblr.com (password: backupbutembo)
WHAT PROFILES ARE WE LOOKING FOR?
We could use extra and specific input from programmers, graphic designers and producers.
All input on this project is helpful. So we are open to all people interested to join our team!