Two Utopias – A game about diversity

This entry was posted on Jan 28 2014 by

If you haven’t yet played Two Utopias, please do so now by clicking here. It will only take about 60 seconds.

Two Utopias is a game about diversity. More specifically, it’s a game about the conversation about diversity. Each of the two utopias, A and B, represents the perfect society imagined by one side of the discussion. Communicating through a game transmits feelings as well as thoughts, as each player can experience living in a representation of each utopia, rather than having to imagine it. This sort of communication is also demonstrated in Lazy 8 Studios’ A Game about *, which I strongly recommend. Playing that game led directly to the creation of this one.

In utopia A, everyone just acts ‘normal’, and moves steadily towards their goal. Because everyone conforms to the accepted standard of behavior, there’s very little conflict, and it’s easy to fit in and succeed. There’s more to the story, however. Just because it’s easy to fit in doesn’t mean it’s fun, or even bearable. It is impossible to break out of your assigned place in the society of Utopia A without causing conflict, and to fit in, you have to handicap yourself, slowing down to the collective pace of the group. Waiting for everyone else to catch up can be both frustrating and boring.

In utopia B, each person follows their own path and desires, and those desires can be dramatically different from yours. Sometimes, this makes your goal very easy to achieve, as everyone else generally stays out of the way, pursuing their own goals. Other times, it can seem impossible to make progress toward your goal, as there is always someone in the way. Additionally, while the people in utopia B never get into conflict with each other, they go to amazing lengths to accomplish that feat. They do things to avoid conflict that you simply can’t, and you can find yourself in a situation where conflict is inevitable. Even if you try to avoid conflict, with so many different sorts of people, it can be impossible, even if you abandon your own goals completely and focus only on conflict avoidance.

Two Utopias isn’t trying to send a specific message as much as it’s trying to help people evaluate and think about their own beliefs and goals. There are as many different messages as there are people with different points of view that approach it. If there is a common theme, it is that neither A nor B is a true utopia, where everyone is happy and productive. More thought should be given to the sort of world we are trying to create when we advocate change, beyond simply opposing behaviors and situations we find unpleasant. Only with a clear goal in mind can any goal be achieved, and only with a truly utopian goal can the support necessary for real change be gathered.

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