'America 2049' Adds Activism To Facebook Game

Some 5,372 people have been playing this game launched on April 4 that involves fighting against human rights violations in the year 2049.

Some 5,372 people have been playing “America 2049” since it launched on Facebook ten days ago. The game infuses activism into a science fiction scenario, as the objective involves fighting against human trafficking and other rights violations.

The social game’s premise, which is a bit of a social experiment, is not surprising considering it was produced by Breakthrough, a human rights organization that promotes equality, dignity and justice through pop culture and media campaigns.

As agents of the Council on American Heritage (which has its own fictional website), players of “America 2049” uncover clues to complete missions in an attempt discover how the world got so mangled and how to untangle the mess. The player’s main challenge is to nab an alleged terrorist by the name of Ken Asaba (who is played by “Lost” actor Harold Perrineau).

Designed as a series of menus and maps, the alternate-reality game (ARG) has been described by some as an “event.” That’s because the narrative develops over a 12-week period, as gamers receive their missions, which are all based on real-world atrocities such as human trafficking and other rights violations.

To complete the missions, players follow clues and solve puzzles, by integrating online resources (such as fictional videos, news sites and blogs) with real-world events at cultural institutions nationwide, including the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Mich. and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York.

Players network with fictional characters (along with Perrineau, played by Anthony Rapp from Rent and Cherry Jones from “24”) as well as with fellow real-time players on the Facebook social network. Props to Breakthrough for attempting to introduce the real-world issues of human rights in an innovative, fresh way. We just hope the message will sink in.

We’ve embedded a copy of the trailer at the bottom of this post, and if you want to play the actual game on Facebook, click here.

Readers, have you played the new social game “America 2049” — do you think its human-rights message will resonate with gamers?