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Photo credit: BETTER.SG

Mobile game launched to encourage empathy and combat racial stereotypes in Singapore

The interactive mobile game was launched on Jul 21 by Better.sg to celebrate Singapore’s Racial Harmony Day.

Noreen Shazreen

Probably the coolest cat lady you’ll ever meet.


Published: 21 July 2021, 4:31 PM

In celebration of Racial Harmony Day, Better.sg has launched its experiential and interactive mobile game, To Be You, on Wednesday (Jul 21).

The immersive fiction game allows players to experience the lives of different characters while learning to cultivate empathy by discovering the challenges faced by the characters, going through seemingly ordinary situations from a different point of view and interacting with people from diverse backgrounds.

The game seeks to dismantle stereotypes, reduce prejudice and foster inclusiveness among Singaporeans. Different aspects of identity such as race, religion, and gender will be discussed throughout the game.

Players will be prompted with several options throughout the game and will need to make life-changing decisions for the two characters – Nadia Binte Rahim and Amandeep Singh Sahota. 

Nadia is a Malay-Muslim young adult infatuated with a Chinese-Christian boy but has to deal with her conservative parents. 

Meanwhile, Amandeep is a young Punjabi Sikh who must decide whether to cut his hair for National Service (NS) or keep it for religious beliefs.

 

Nadia addresses the issue of wearing track pants during her PE lessons for religious reasons since some may not know about it. PHOTO CREDIT: BETTER.SG

 

To achieve authentic representations of what Singaporeans experience emotionally as a result of discrimination, the team behind the game conducted thorough research with community organisations, focus groups, researchers and writers to develop compelling fictional stories based upon the experiences of Singaporeans. 

In addition, the team has adapted the game interface according to the psychographic design of the characters to create an immersive experience for users.

Using WhatsApp chats, emails and journal reflections, each story is delivered in an interactive narrative style to make the gaming experience relatable and authentic for players.

 

The mobile storytelling game allows users to put themselves in the character’s shoes by making life choices. PHOTO CREDIT: BETTER.SG

 

“Gamification is a great way to engage people, youths in particular, and can act as a bridge to deeper sharing and understanding in real life… This game may just be a game-changing approach in our journey for social progress,” said Dr Kalpana Vignehsa, a Sociologist and Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, who is also the project’s research advisor.

You can experience the online game here.


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