Our Brazil game ‘My friend Ana’ focuses on the issue of online sexual abuse in the form of ‘sexting’ which is experienced by one the game’s main characters, a fifteen-year old female college student, called Ana.
Other characters in the game include Ana’s best friend Lucas (17), Ana’s mother, Maria and her sister, Camila. Ana’s ex-boyfriend Rafael (18) also features in the game’s story.
The story centres around circumstances that unfold between Ana and Rafael which are observed by Lucas and players have the opportunity to play as both male and female characters within the game as the story unfolds and as there are choices to be made about what decisions to take.
The game aims to facilitate young people’s learning about what healthy and unhealthy relationships online look like, empowering them to spot and call out the early signs of online abuse and report it, to prevent it in their relationships, to increase empathy for those who are victimised and to raise awareness.
We will be trialling this game with young people in Brazilian schools – further details to follow. If you are a teacher or work with young people in another capacity, and would love to be involved in game trials, we’d love to hear from you – send us an email.
About the game
The game was developed by a small team of artists, developers and a game designer based at the University of Huddersfield within the None in Three Centre. Both qualitative and quantitative research, undertaken as part of the Ni3 Brazil project, was used to inform the game design.
Development uses the latest Unreal Engine to ensure quality of gameplay, designed to encourage a strong emotional response to the characters and story and improve the empathetic response.
The game will be trialled in schools between October 2022 and January 2023. Each school had a group of students aged 14-18 playing the game. Training will be provided to teachers on how to use the game, and a gameplay tutorial is built in for players as part of the story.
Lucas, age 17
The main character is Lucas, the 17 year old male best friend of victim, who is a predominantly good person. Supportive and motivated to help others, he is the sole player character of the game as the player step into his shoes to search for his missing best friend.
Ana, age 15
Ana, the 15 year old best friend of Lucas, but had been dating an 18 year old (Rafael) for the past year. She’s recently broken up with him but is still being bombarded with messages from her ex, trying to persuade her to go back to him. This is visible to the player via phone calls/other contact attempts being continuously received by Ana, together with frustrated sighs etc. She has recently begun another relationship, infuriating Rafael which sets in motion the events of the later chapters. She soon goes missing, having told those around her conflicting stories of where she is.
Rafael, age 18
Rafael is the ex-boyfriend of Ana, age 18, where they had been dating for the past year. He showed more possessive tendencies towards the end of the relationship, and had been more demanding of Anna with regards to her time and attention. Ana became increasingly frustrated by his demands and felt pressured by the sexting element of the relationship, and eventually ended things hoping they could just remain friends. Although he initially seemed receptive to this, Rafael began pestering Anna to either restart the relationship, or at least continue to supply digital sexual content, often under duress. This wears on Anna, who is noticeably less spirited at the end of the first chapter than at the beginning.