New game breaks through walls and preserves culture

Kathleen Ellison
Online Editor
kae742@lhup.edu

nuna_foxWorld-class gamers and Alaskan Native storytellers and elders have come together to create the unique game “Never Alone” to be released Tuesday, Nov. 18 as a downloadable title for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

Inspired by a traditional Iñupiaq story called “Kunuuksaayuka”, this puzzle platform game is about a young girl and a fox traveling to the top of the world to save her people from an endless blizzard.

This game is the first of its kind to tell a story of indigenous people from their perspective, and it’s from the first ever indigenous video game company in the U.S., Upper One Games.

mouth_underground_bigThe stunning artwork, characters and environment featured in the game are inspired and based on traditional Alaska Native art such as paintings, drawings, sculptures, clothing, masks and scrimshaws. Working with Alaska Native elders and artists, this game provides a unique and faithful portrayal of Native culture.

“We had a medium in which we could share our culture with the world” said Gloria O’Neill, CEO and president of Cook Inlet Tribal Council in Anchorage to NPR. “. . . we could create this invitation of courageous learning with the world.”

In the game, you play as both Girl and Fox, using unique skills and abilities to overcome puzzles and challenges. There is also local co-op mode, so a second player can join at any time.

skypeopleExplore dangerous arctic environments and meet Iñupiaq folkloric characters — such as Manslayer, the Little People, Helping Spirits and Blizzard Man. Meanwhile, the story is narrated by a master Iñupiat storyteller in the Iñupiaq language.

“Never Alone” is the just the first in a new genre of “World Games” that hopefully are to be developed. These games seek to show the voices and richness of many cultures around the world for a global audience.

“At the end, we believe that we will end up with amazing games that present rich cultures and fascinating stories and characters” the “Never Alone” home page says. “Games that celebrate and share under-represented and indigenous people and cultures in positive, authentic and respectful terms.”

Photos courtesy of neveralonegame.com

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