The Stream

Fake UNICEF video game ‘pitch’ leads to walkout

UN experiment with South Sudan video game idea receives criticism from gamers.

In an attempt to raise awareness of the conflict in South Sudan, UNICEF traveled to a gaming convention in the US and pitched a fake video game based on the life of a South Sudanese refugee.

UNICEF sent actors, a film crew and two South Sudanese youth to the Video Gamers United convention in Washington, DC, to present a new idea to the gaming community, and filmed their reactions. 

The fictional game ‘Elika’s Escape’ generated gasps from the audience when they were told the protagonist would be a seven-year-old South Sudanese girl escaping the horrors of war. The audience was not told, however, the story highlighted in the pitch was based on the actual experiences of one of the South Sudanese attendees. 

Many criticised the video online. From the video comments on YouTube: