ReBuilding Haiti is an interactive journalism piece that is meant to reflect the struggles Haiti has faced since the earthquake in 2010. It was built by The Pixel Hunt, a French web app development team, and is a gorgeous and important piece to immerse yourself in.
The game blurs the line between journalism and game in a way I have never experienced before. Split into 6 parts, each ‘chapter’ is full of video, high quality images and text content which takes you through an aspect of Haitian struggles. Healthcare, education and attempts at rebuilding Haiti through corruption and lack of foreign investment are some of the issues you’ll have to read up on.
At the end of each chapter you’ll be asked for what you would do if you were in an influential situation for that dilemma (eg: if you were Minister for Health how would you tackle the TB outbreak?). It’s easy to make an informed decision because of all the well researched information given to you. What is not easy is making an effective decision- the game is designed to show you how difficult it is for change to happen in Haiti and some seemingly innocent options can have fatal consequences.
At the end of the 6 chapters you are given a rundown of how the choices you made affected life in Haiti. Playing as an expat towards the end of the game you can choose whether or not to move back to Haiti. 84% of students leave Haiti once graduated, and not many will ever choose to move back home. This brain drain leaves the country short of vitally needed doctors, engineers and agronomists. The game is effective in teaching- I found myself engaged with the reading very readily and I was absorbing facts much faster than I otherwise would do to the fact they had an effect on my choices in the game.
Is this an effective journalism tool? I certainly think so.
For more pieces like this take a look at the electronic literature collection for 2016 .
Link to the web app:Find it here