Teacher on Demand

English Language Teaching in Brazilian settings

Boys in rags are not welcome

A while ago I used to play a farm simulation game for Android-based devices named Hay Day [https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.supercell.hayday]. Categorized as a family game (that should sound like harmless) on Google Play, the player is supposed to be a farmer in charge of producing vegetables, dairy, whool and other products as well as marketing them. A neighbour or so might occasionally walk up to your front door and ask for some of your production in exchange for virtual money.

Well-dressed are welcome

Two well-dressed ladies wait inside the “farmer’s property” to buy eggs and some milk.

No big deal, right?

That’s right, until you realize there is a very particuar character who never actually enters the farm. Can you spot it in the following screen capture?

Boy in rags never enters the farm

Boy in rags never enters the farm

There he is by the dirty road, standing until the farmer needs his little hand. His function, as a game character, is to fetch products that are missing in the farm, for the convenience of the farmer. If the farmer needs something, (s)he just asks him and the boy will fetch it. When he’s done with the job, he might eventually feel tired and relax for the next hours… laying on the grass by the dirty road across from the farm entrance.

You may sleep there, poor little boy, as long as you don't cross the farm entrance!

You may sleep there, poor little boy, as long as you don’t cross the farm entrance!

The character is actually a slavish little boy wearing rags who is not welcome inside the property – at least in the game designers’ minds – and never shares the same space the other characters (who look much more comfortable in their clothes) take in the farm.

Don't you feel there's something wrong here, in human terms?

Sleepy boy in rags

Don’t you feel there’s something wrong here, in human terms? Don’t you feel like the game design could be much better setting the layout and deciding where each element belongs to. Moreover, Doesn’t it seem obvious that not noticing the character’s particular condition as we take part in the “family game” speaks volumes about who we are and how much education we still need to develop as a society?


May 14, 2015 Posted by | Point of view | , | Leave a comment


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