BENGALURU: Can gaming be a fundraiser? A young couple, who moved to the city two years ago, has developed a game that could raise awareness about gender inequality and female infanticide. The two are all set to release it this month, and say that any profit from it will go towards charity for women and children.
The game titled 'Second Class Citizen' has many characters but the 'Hero' is a faceless woman who overcomes various hurdles. The protagonist is on a mission to find her "voice" and the player has to help find it.
There are two parts to the game. The first is in which the protagonist runs and is chased by a character who goes by the name of Mr Dark. As she is chased through the streets, she collects musical notes winning the player points but what is interesting is that various characters on the sidewalk pass by without stopping to help.
“That is symbolic of people being spectators,” says Shyam Pillai, co-founder and developer of the game. “We see so many crimes happening against women on the streets and yet we do nothing about it.”
The second part of the game is a story on the Hero's life. “It talks about infanticide and the inequality rural women continue to face,” says Shruthi Chandran, co-founder and illustrator of the game. The trailer of the game Cause (Non Profit Game) was uploaded on YouTube on February 22.
The couple was born and brought up in Dubai and moved to Bengaluru two years ago. Shyam Pillai worked as an HR and Shruthi Chandran an aerospace engineer. After seeing various instances of ill-treatment of women on TV, the couple decided to work on the project. Their initial idea was to develop a women's safety app but they found no backing from anyone. The couple decided to work full-time on the project and left their respective jobs.
The game is 90 per cent free, it is only for bonus points and hints that the player has to pay. “Donation is an option and the players only have to pay for added benefits that will help them in the game,” says Shyam.
Gaming could be seen as a 'good' pursuit too. “If a game has a social message then maybe the parents won't mind their children playing the game," says Shyam.
The couple after dropping their jobs took small programming and animating classes whenever possible. “It is only the two of us,” sighs Shruthi. The illustrations and the characters are developed by her and Shyam has programmed the game. “The concept is nice but we have to see how people respond to it. We at Vidyaranya are definitely going to try,” says M C Ramesh, general secretary and founder of Vidyaranaya NGO that works for women and other marginalised.
The game will be available on andriod and IOS only in Karnataka as of now, but the couple says they plan to take it throughout the country.