Gamers rally to support independent charity package for Palestinians | Gaza News
Palestinian software developer Rasheed Abu-Eideh has been in the gaming industry for more than 10 years.
Now, his work is used as the core of a new charity package, available on the independent platform itch.io, to raise funds to support people caught in the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Palestine.
Liyla and the Shadows of War, independently developed by Abu-Eideh for two years, tells the story of a young Palestinian girl and her family who lived in Gaza during the 2014 war. It recalls what happened during the seven-week conflict. Real events. Approximately 15 minutes of game time.
Many of the scenes depicted echo the attack on Gaza last month, in which Israeli bombing killed more than 250 Palestinians, including 66 children, and destroyed houses, schools and hospitals.
“Games are one of the best games [kinds of] The media came to show the story of Palestine,” Abu Eid told Al Jazeera.
“You have a huge potential to reach millions of people. If they see what’s happening on the ground and interact with them, they will come and support your case. We saw this in Black Lives Matter and we are The same happened in the Palestinian cause.
“We not only need to raise funds for Palestine,” he said. “We need to raise awareness. We need people to understand what happens every day. This is how I resist this career. This is not a fun thing. This is something I have to do.”
When the mainstream media was angry at the suppression of pro-Palestinian voices, Abu-Eideh was determined to find a way to express the frustration and dissatisfaction of his compatriots to a wider global audience.
“I tried to express the feelings of the Palestinians and what they experienced in their lives,” Abu Eid said.
“Through Liyla, I try to make the player experience that experience. It feels like your decision is not important. No matter what decision you make, it will not change anything, because you are living under occupation and attack.
“I’m also thinking about family and children,” he said. “If I lose a child in an attack like this, how would I react? How would it feel? I want people to understand how difficult it is in this situation. I can’t ignore the feeling of doing nothing.”
After the game was first released in 2016, it was initially rejected by Apple’s App Store due to its political comments.
The resulting social media boycott from the broader gaming community has increased awareness of Abu-Eideh and its project, generating unexpected support and criticism.
“Websites and reporters are talking about this game and making it more popular,” Abu-Eideh said.
“I think this is a breakthrough. I have been nominated for many awards and I have participated in many events around the world. This is shocking, in a strange way.”
It initially contained about two dozen games, and support for bundles increased rapidly. Within a few days, as the news spread, hundreds of creators and tens of thousands of contributors supported the event.
“This is huge,” Abu-Eideh said. “This shows how much people’s perception of the Palestinian story is changing.”
In addition to Liyla and Shadows of War, donors will also receive access to hundreds of games, assets and soundtracks, all of which are donated for free by other game developers and media creators from around the world.
The bundle was compiled by Alanna Linayre, founder and creative director of Toadhouse Games, an independent game studio based in New York that specializes in developing games designed to eliminate mental illness and promote self-care.
As a person with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), she was inspired by the action after watching a video taken by the Palestinians in the recent Gaza attack.
“I can see many of the same symptoms as me in young children,” Linell told Al Jazeera.
“I think the game bundle is a good idea and can provide a little help. I didn’t expect it to reach the scope it ultimately has, but I am grateful that it is beyond my original intention.
“Many times, the conversation around helping others does not involve those who receive help,” she said.
“Rashid generously asked us to highlight his game, which is brave and wonderful. Interactive media is rooted in active participation.”
At the time of writing, the pay-as-you-go campaign has raised more than $650,000, far exceeding its initial funding goal of $500,000.
The proceeds will be donated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to provide food assistance and protection to Palestinians in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank.
“I just want to thank everyone,” Abu Ed said. “This amount is crazy. Even if a person does not have enough money to contribute, they just share or tweet or post this, or just like a post about this, I want to thank everyone.”