Aissa escapes war zones, finding safety in Oxfam Australia’s first mobile phone game

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 21 Jan 2008

Oxfam Australia today announced the launch of its first ever mobile phone game, Refugee.
Refugee challenges mobile gamers to help Aissa flee a war zone, avoiding dangers, like anti-personnel mines and guerrillas. Aissa, a fictional character created by Advergaming company Unkasoft, is an African refugee with four children.
In Refugee, conflict has left behind a wasteland. Everything Aissa knows has been ripped away from her. Set in a desert, Refugee players must help Aissa navigate through four dangerous gaming levels while finding food for her family before she reaches the safety of a refugee camp. Minefields, deserts, lack of water and armed guerrillas can all kill her children one-by-one before her life ends and the game is over.
‘Anyone can help Aissa survive the perils of the desert and find a safe home,’ said Steph Cousins, Oxfam’s Project Coordinator of Refugee Realities. ‘The point of the game is that refugees are like all of us – ordinary people in an extraordinary situation,’ she added.
Players are reminded that this is not just a game. Aissa’s life is a reality for millions of people fleeing conflict around the world.
Anyone with a mobile phone can play Refugee, which echoes the live experience opening at Gasworks Park in Melbourne on the 22 February, 2008. Refugee Realities recreates a refugee camp in urban Melbourne. The camp will be open to the public and will challenge visitors to negotiate entry with a border guard, build shelters and find lost loved ones through a family tracing service.
‘Both these experiences will give people a chance to experience a little piece of what life as a refugee is like,’ said Ms Cousins.
First launched in Europe, the game was developed by Unkasoft Advergaming using Java technology. Driving the message to phones is Melbourne based mobile marketing company QMCODES.
‘To raise awareness of the dangers faced by some refugees we have created a mobile website specifically designed to encourage viral sharing of the Refugee game,’ said CEO of QMCODES, Antony McGregor. ‘We’re really pleased to be helping Oxfam embrace the mobile channel as a way to connect with Australian’s in new and interesting ways.’
The site can be accessed by texting the word “Refugee” to 0429 883 688. Data charges may apply. The game can also be downloaded from the Refugee Realities website and be installed in a mobile phone or played in web browsers using Flash technology.
Refugee WEB – Flash pluggin version 8 or higher
Refugee Mobile – Java mobile applications and using an Internet connection. Most phones made since 2001 fulfill these requirements.
For more information or an interview with Steph Cousins, please contact Melany Markham +61 407 515 559 or (03) 9289 9415