“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the Divided States of America…?” Is it possible? Breakthrough, a global human rights organization, thinks so. They recently announced the launch of the groundbreaking Facebook-based game ‘America 2049,’ in which players actively explore how the choices and challenges Americans now face will shape the future of the country, its democratic values and how we define ourselves as a nation.
The game features appearances by Harold Perrineau (‘LOST’), Victor Garber (‘Alias’), Cherry Jones (‘24’), Anthony Rapp (‘Rent’) and Margaret Cho (‘Notorious C.H.O.’), who generously donated their time and talents to help Breakthrough put a human face on complex social issues.
‘America 2049’ is the first Facebook game to integrate the social networking platform with many other resources, online and off: multimedia and interactive features, clues planted across the Internet and real-life events at leading cultural institutions nationwide, including International Coalition of Sites of Conscience members the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Bosque Redondo Memorial in New Mexico.
‘America 2049’ players are activated as agents for the Council on American Heritage, headed by Jefferson Williams II (Garber), and are tasked with the capture of alleged terrorist Ken Asaba (Perrineau). As the game unfolds and players make high-stakes decisions, they are immersed in a divided America of the near future: splintered by race and ethnicity, hostile to women, sexuality, and self-expression. ‘America 2049’ challenges players to ask: how close are we already to America 2049 — and how can we work together, in real life, to build a better future?
“America 2049′ entertains and enlightens about the real-world issues of acceptance and tolerance,” said Harold Perrineau. “The project resonated with me because I love the idea of people fighting at all costs for their right to pursue the life they choose without fear of persecution. I hope that through playing ‘America 2049,’ young people in particular will be inspired to help stop institutionalized hatred and intolerance — today.”
“‘America 2049’ is literally a game-changer,” said Breakthrough President & CEO Mallika Dutt. “It parachutes us into an alternate reality perhaps not so far from our own, where we find America poised at a crossroads, and where we are asked to make critical decisions about how we truly want to define ourselves as a nation. The game experience allows us to immerse ourselves in a future that could be — but also inspires us to envision, and recommit to, a real America built on pluralism, democracy, dignity, equality and human rights for all.”
“By placing ‘America 2049’ on Facebook, Breakthrough is using one of the Web’s most popular cultural platforms to create the possibility of changing culture itself,” added Breakthrough multimedia director Heidi Boisvert. Boisvert served as ‘America 2049’creative director and producer, working with the award-winning Andrea Phillips as lead writer and co-game designer, and with Pennsylvania-based Inovat on game strategy, development and design.
Over 12 weeks, ‘America 2049’ players will take on missions and face challenges based on human rights themes including immigration, race, sexual orientation, sex trafficking, religion, labor, national security and more. They will unlock puzzles and clues via videos, voice-overs, graphics, micro-sites and social media. Leading cultural organizations nationwide — most of them members of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience — will host events linked to topics raised in the game. These sites, which use history to open conversations on today’s pressing social issues, include (for event dates, contact Breakthrough directly):
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (Chicago, IL)
Lower East Side Tenement Museum (New York, NY)
United States Immigration Station, Angel Island (San Francisco, CA)
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, AL)
Bosque Redondo Memorial (Fort Sumner, NM)
Levine Museum of the New South (Charlotte, NC)
Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles, CA)
Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI)
Ellis Island Immigration Museum (New York, NY)
Breakthrough is a global human rights organization that uses the power of media, pop culture, and community mobilization to inspire people to take bold action for dignity, equality, and justice. Breakthrough empowers individuals and communities to stand for universal human rights by using multimedia tools that transform hearts and minds. Based in India and the United States — the world’s two largest democracies — Breakthrough addresses critical global issues including violence against women, sexuality and HIV/AIDS, and immigrant rights and racial justice. For more information, visit http://www.breakthrough.tv/.