BBC’s Browser Game Highlights Dilemmas Syrian Refugees Face

“If you were fleeing Syria for Europe, what choices would you make for you and your family?”

That is the question the BBC presents online readers when they stumble across Syrian Journey, a brief choose-your-own-escape-route that’s playable right now in our web browsers. With the civil war in its fourth year, The UN Refugee Agency reports that 3.9 million Syrians are now registered as refugees, although Al Jazeera states that the number displaced is closer to 10 million.

Syrian Journey is “based on extensive research and real stories of Syrians who have made the journey.” It’s neither complicated nor wordy, and a run-through takes only a couple of minutes.

While good for providing an overview with some geographical pointers, it didn’t provide as much detail as I had hoped for. A number of these tough decisions weren’t exactly exclusive to Syrian refugees, and the game glosses over every opportunity to establish intimate, human moments. Mainstream news of the conflict typically involves politicians, military leaders, or statistics, and not everyone reads the long-form features dedicated to the plight of its citizens — it would have been nice if a game helped in that regard.

It is, however, a free browser game by a news organization so I appreciate it for what it is. Go on: Spare a moment and try out Syrian Journey.

Those interested in what I was looking for can turn to 1000 Days of Syria, a “text-based historical fiction game that timelines the first 1000 days of the Syrian uprising.” Alternatively there is the slightly more controversial Endgame: Syria, which made news for getting an App Store rejection by Apple. Better yet, get up to speed on the conflict itself with this BBC feature.

Ade Putra

Ade thinks there's nothing quite like a good game and a snug headcrab. He grew up with HIDEO KOJIMA's Metal Gear Solid, lives for RPGs, and is waiting for light guns to make their comeback.