This team is creating commercial games for social impact. In fact they are currently developing a video game on the refugee crisis called "Musa- a brother's story" to help raise awareness about this cause, while giving back 2.5% of their earnings back to the cause.
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A Bahraini gaming startup company is raising funds to complete its first social impact game.
The Stories Studio, registered in Bahrain, has a mission to create cause based commercial games, to raise awareness and inspire empathy around important world issues. They are currently developing a refugee based game, “Musa- a brother’s story”. The studio has turned to the masses in order to help raise funds to complete the game, which requires 16 months of development.
The founder, Saba Saleem Warsi, got inspired on a trip to Turkey where she saw many children refugees, and decided to share their stories via a video game.
“I saw children everywhere. They were on the streets, some begging, some selling trinkets, and some entertaining tourists for money. I wanted to share their stories, and I chose the medium of video games because there is no better way to share a story. Gamers actually put themselves in the shoes of these children and in a virtual way, go through what they go through,” Says Saba.
Two recent studies have come out which show a direct correlation between games and empathy. And the studio is very unique as it only creates cause-based games.
“We think video games are a holistic form of art, and like other forms of art throughout world history, this medium needs to document our history and even create change,” she added. “I have played games all my life and can confidently claim that games have the power to create changes in attitude and behavior”
She further explained the game, “Musa is a story of two refugee brothers and is a puzzle adventure game. It uses gameplay to show the journey of two brothers who only have each other. It is a journey of childhood, despair, loss but also hope, and finding happiness in little things.”
The studio is also in talks with a refugee agency to represent the cause in the best and most accurate manner.
Crowdfunding is fairly new in Bahrain, but it is great for startups. It enables people with a great business idea to ask the general public for the funding they need to set up or expand. The business sets a target for the money it wants to raise and explains how it will use the cash. People can then make pledges for small amounts of money in return for a reward.
The campaign is raising money on the popular crowdfunding website, Indiegogo. Their target is to raise $23,000 which will help them in purchasing necessary equipment to facilitate development as well as to cover expenses of the development. It launched on May 5 and will be running for 45 days. In the first week, the campaign managed to raise over $3000 with 57 backers.
Backers can contribute as much or as little as they want, and will get different rewards or “Perks” based on their contribution amount. This includes a copy of the game on release, full soundtrack, limited edition game merchandise, as well as getting your name in the game credits as “Executive Producer”. They also have a corporate package that companies can get as part of their CSR initiatives, while gaining marketing attention by placing their logo in the beginning of the game.
This is a unique event for Bahrain, as crowdfunding is not very popular and the founder is hoping that it will be a successful first.
Interested people can pledge and get more information from The Stories Studio website.