Path Out is is an autobiographical adventure game that allows players to replay the journey of Abdullah Karam, a young Syrian artist that escaped the civil war in 2014. Camouflaged as a Japanese RPG, Path Out is a tale full of surprises, challenges and paradoxical humour, giving insight in this real-life adventure, on which Abdullah comments through YouTube-style videos in the game.
Jack Gutmann, who took a new name when he forged a new life in Austria, was never one of those children whose parents badgered him to limit his screen time and go outside and play. On the contrary, they encouraged Jack and his four brothers to spend as much time as possible absorbed in computer games so they would stay indoors, safe from the conflict raging on the streets outside their home in Hama, Syria’s fourth-largest city.
He never dreamed that years later – safe in Austria – his passion for computer design would equip him to produce an award-winning video game. Soon after arriving in Austria, Jack met Georg Hobmeier, head of Causa Creations Causa Creations, a Vienna-based game-design company that sees video games not only as entertainment but, in the words of its website, as “meaningful, enriching experiences that can connect us, challenge our perceptions, and give insights into the world around us.” They’ve worked on issues such as migration, climate change and nuclear energy.
Eager to turn his passion into a profession, Jack teamed up with Causa Creations on a joint project. The result was Path Out, in which the player replicates Jack’s surreptitious trek from Syria, sometimes in the hands of people smugglers.
Originally released as a two-hour game in 2017, Path Out has won international and Austrian awards for “its effort to shed light on a serious issue.” A teaching edition of Path Out was re-launched by UNHCR for World Refugee Day (20 June) this year to help schoolchildren in Austria and elsewhere stand in the shoes of a refugee. The new version takes no longer than one lesson and helps pupils who might never meet real refugees learn that Jack led a life much like theirs until his world was turned upside down and he had to leave everything behind.
- Download the Teaching edition of the game
- Path Out (Full version)
- Causa Creations
- UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
- More on the United Nations and Video Games