This post contains spoilers ! If you haven’t played “The Life of a Dog” yet, please head over to My Games page and follow the link to download.
The game was made as part of my weekly task to make a game for my master’s course. The challenge for the week was to make an art game, where we were allowed to interpret art as we wished. When thinking about this game, I knew I wanted to create something that was art not for the visual aesthetic, but for the meaning and impact it would have on players. I decided to create a game to raise awareness of domestic violence as this is something that so many people, both men and woman have been affected by, and yet we don’t see much awareness of this issue in games.
The game is designed to misdirect the player into thinking that they are playing as a dog. Whilst there are a few hints to suggest otherwise, the true story is not clear to the player until the very end: the victim of the abuse is a woman. This discovery evokes feelings of shock and discomfort when the player discovers that the victim of abuse is a woman. The main aim of this is to highlight that victims of abuse are treated ‘like dogs’, although no actual physical abuse is shown in the game (aside from an image of the victim at the end), the behaviour and mannerisms of the ‘master’ portray how cruel abusers can really be.
By using games to raise awareness, we can really make people see what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes – something that no other medium can do as well.