Original article in The Atlantic:
by Jared Keller - Technology - The Atlantic
A human rights organization is tackling immigration, abortion, sex trafficking and other issues through the lens of an immersive social networking game.
Ken Asaba is running for his life.
In April, the Ugandan national fled from a quarantine facility in Portland, Oregon, where he was suspected of infection with Namibian Plague. While federal law enforcement officials are hard at work tracking down Asaba, Portland residents are terrified to admit contact with Asaba, fearing they will end up separated from their families in the very quarantine zone from which he escaped. The Council on American Heritage warns that Asaba, now a persona non grata in America, is extremely dangerous.
But Ken Asaba doesn't exist. He's a fictional character, voiced by LOST's Harold Perrineau, at the center of America 2049, a trans-media, online game in the middle of a 12-week run. Developed by global human rights organization Breakthrough, America 2049 challenges players on social justice issues from sex trafficking, immigraiton, abortion, and racial discriminiation, all through the lens of a dystopian vision of jingoistic, Orwellian United States. Fascinated by the concept of running human rights game based on a sprawling, mutli-platform gaming experience, America 2049's innovative blend of political drama and civic education attracted Hollywood types like Perrineau, Cherry Jones of 24, and Anthony Rapp of Rent to lend their visages to the project...."