Virtual Reality Games Promote Social Change

Virtual Reality Games Promote Social Change
August 3, 2017

A 12-minute virtual reality video game that makes its debut Wednesday about torture in an Iranian prison is one of a new breed of VR games using immersion technology to promote social change.


"Blindfold" puts the player in a prison as a captured photojournalist being interrogated for providing pictures to Western news outlets: confess and you may be spared — or else your companion may be executed on the spot, the outlet explained of the plot.


"We were very invested in this idea of journalism and journalists and the price that they pay, particularly in hostile governments who are not supportive of free press," Vassiliki Khonsari, a Greek-American filmmaker and one of the developers of "Blindfold" told the outlet.


Ink Stories, a New York media startup she runs with her husband, the Iranian-Canadian game designer Navid Khonsari, also created the video game "1979 Revolution" about the Iranian revolution. She called "Blindfold" a "sister piece."


The game, along with nine other experiences — including a short virtual reality film about a Surian 12-year-old's life in the the Za'atari Camp in Jordan — will be on display in New York Wednesday for the first-ever "VR for Change Summit," part of the Games for Change Festival that began Monday, USA Today reports.


"If it's done in a thoughtful way, the rewards can be impactful and great and spark a shift in thought," Khonsari said of using virtual reality in a socially relevant games.


For "Blindfold," Ink Stories partnered with the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Center for Human Rights in Iran, USA Today reports.

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