Video games, as a general rule, do not cover serious tragedies, mostly because there aren't a lot of ways to get satisfying gameplay out of something like the Holocaust.
So it's fasscinating to see the re-emergence of Imagination Is The Only Escape, a game about one of the biggest atrocities in human history. Director Luc Bernard is looking for $125,000 on IndieGogo to make this game happen, and he wants it to be an educational, narrative-heavy experience that teaches people what the Holocaust was like.
(You may remember Imagination from 2008, when Bernard planned to bring it to Nintendo DS. That never happened.)
"Imagination will not only have users thinking about the people involved, but the goal of the game is to inspire more people to research and learn about the Holocaust," Bernard writes. "As the old saying goes: 'Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.' Video games are often seen as meaningless distractions for children, but Imagination has the opportunity to blaze a trail for other games that look to tackle controversial, but important topics."
The story starts off before the Occupation of France by Nazi Germany. The player is introduced to the main character, a Jewish boy named Samuel who is playing with his friends, going to school, and living a normal life in Paris. However, when France is invaded by the Nazis, Samuel and his family are soon forced to wear the yellow star of David on their clothes.
The scene changes to the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup, the mass arrest of Jews in Paris that took place on July 16, 1942. During the chaos Samuel's mother tells him to escape the city. She takes off his star so he can't be recognized as a Jew, and gives him the address of a Catholic priest who can help him escape Paris and the occupied part of France. As Samuel escapes, his mother is spotted and killed as he is able to escape.
Samuel starts his journey to find the priest, sneaking his way through Paris. Samuel soon finds him, and is smuggled out to southern France. They arrive at a small village hidden in a forest, where the villagers are passing off Jewish children from all over France as Christian orphans, and soon Samuel meets a fox who tells him that if he helps her he will be able to see his mother again.
For more on Imagination, check out the IndieGoGo page.