Unicef in Latin America and the Caribbean has collaborated with London and LA-based studio Nexus to produce Right Runner, a free-to-download platform game to inspire, inform and empower children on their human rights. Commemorating World Children’s Day and 30 years since the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history), the team thought there was no better to way to engage kids than through gaming.
The vibrantly animated world and its characters have been created by Nexus directors Jack Cunningham and Felix Massie, featuring five levels that bring five key rights to life. These include rights to play, learn, and live in a clean and safe environment, live free from violence and to be heard, all of which are detailed in the Convention. Nexus and Unicef worked with a group of young people to design the game’s details, which draw inspiration from the local regions, and test iterations of the game to provide feedback.
The endless-runner style gameplay encourages players to claim and defend their rights by overcoming barriers – based on real threats children face in this part of the world – and joining up with friends to find their voice. Players skateboard through an old town, parkour to school, run to safety through extreme flooding, jump and slide past obstacles in a dangerous city. In the final level, the characters rise to the top of a mountain to harness their own voice.
“We were inspired by all of the young people around the world fighting for change,” says Deborah Casswell, creative director at Nexus. “Right Runner became a celebration of every kid’s power to fight for their rights and be an agent for change.” Unicef’s Bernt Aasen commented that playing a game is “the most memorable way children and young people can learn about their rights”.
Another recent campaign saw Japanese studio Enjin turn to a platform format for Game Chronicle, exploring the history of Japanese games through… a game.
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