#NeverAgain Has Become A Game — Literally

03.23.18
Game For Our Lives players can select one of three Marjory Stoneman Douglas students as their avatar. (screenshot)
03.23.18

Days after a gunman killed 17 people in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, senior Emma González made headlines for her memorable speech in which she “called B.S.” in response to elected officials’ lack of action on gun control. Now there’s a video game that lets users play as one of three MSD students and literally call B.S. to defeat public officials and gun lobbyists and ultimately change gun laws.

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Using an avatar of Gonzáles, David Hogg or Delaney Tarr, players of Game For Our Lives race to the offices of a governor, a gun lobbyist and a congressman, jumping over National Rifle Association members and businessmen on the way.

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Once they reach the offices, they battle against misinformed officials by hurling “B.S.” at them and dodging their fake news, wads of cash and well-meaning prayers.

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After battling these officials and getting laws changed, players are prompted to visit the official website for March for Our Lives — the March 24th demonstration planned in Washington, D.C., and satellite locations around the country and the world — to advocate for gun reform.

The creators of the game are 35-year-old Martins Zelcs and a group of his friends and colleagues. Zelcs told Youth Radio that he was inspired by the awareness González and other MSD students were raising for an issue that should not have been up to them to fix.

“Kids are tired of getting shot with machine guns, and they have to go through the government and ask to change laws, which is a ridiculous situation,” Zelcs said. “Kids are doing what adults are supposed to be doing.”

Notably, the game’s characters can’t lose; no matter how many times the students get hit by a government official or gun lobbyist’s B.S., they can keep calling it out until their enemies are defeated.

The video game, Zelcs said, is meant to call attention to the teenagers’ movement in a fun and educational way. It can be played on a phone or computer, and players navigate by either tapping their screens or using the space bar to jump over obstacles. The group that created it spent just 10 days developing the game, and Zelcs said the late nights they put into it were worth it.

When González herself noticed the game and tweeted about it, Zelcs said he was ecstatic: “That just made my day. For me that was my personal goal, if any of those kids actually like that game and play it, for me that’s a success.”

Zelcs plans to attend a satellite march in New York City on Saturday in support of the students’ ongoing fight.

Zelcs hopes that the game will contribute continued awareness about gun control, and that all creative professionals will use their skills to contribute to the cause. “Things like this game, artwork, anything that keeps the conversation going is good.”

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