The Texas Abortion Debate Gets a Game Makeover in “Choice:Texas”

Choice: Texas is a serious interactive fiction game centered around access to legal abortions in Texas, developed by game designers Carly Kocurek, Allyson Whipple, and artist Grace Jennings. In this Twine game, players will take on the role of one of five characters and make important choices. Each character is fictional but designed to be a composite of actual women and real demographics.

The game’s characters include Latrice, a Houston attorney with a long-term boyfriend, a high-pressure career, and a number of family obligations; Leah, a small-town bartender living with her parents as she saves money and plans for her next steps; Alex, a promising high school student weighing her options for college and trying to live up to her family’s expectations; Jess, a young Austin-area professional looking forward to starting a family with her husband; and Maria, a LVN and mother trying to create comfortable home and future for her children.

Serious games such as McVideogame and DepressionQuest use the medium of game-based choices and exploration to introduce players to issues they might not have considered. Gameplay can be a powerful medium for these serious games. McVideogame, for example, gives players a brightly colored time-management restaurant and asks players to put down diseased cows and fire employees within the usual time and resource-management framework. DepressionQuest is a straight text-based adventure in which some of the choices are greyed out and impossible, simulating hopeless depression. I’m really interested to see how Choice: Texas will use personal narratives and player experience to bring compassion to issues that surround abortion access.

Choice: Texas was funded through IndieGogo donations and will be released this spring as a free web-based game.

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