Danish developer Serious Interactive Games is not your typical game company. They describe their approach to gaming as being “research based”, and in fact a large portion of their products are training programs commissioned by large companies, such as Siemens, who received from SIG a full virtual training program for their wind energy program in order to educate their workers in complicated work situations and tasks. When SIG isn’t making intense training programs, they are making educational games, often aimed at informing young people about history, politics and the (sometimes awful) ways of the world. This is where Playing History 2 – Slave Trade comes in.
In Slave Trade you play as a young slave named Tim who must accompany his master on the voyage to Africa to retrieve more slaves. But this point-and-click adventure only gets more complicated when Tim finds that his sister, from which he was separated when he himself was taken away years earlier, is now marked to be enslaved and taken back with them to England. What’s a boy to do under such pressure and risk?
Though the company professes a desire to portray the horrors of slave trade in this educational game, I can’t help but feel that there is a high amount of levity incorporated into the experience, what with the cartoony characters and the Tetris aspect. I understand the game is for kids and thus can’t be too dark, and granted I haven’t actually played it, but I’m not so sure how many of these horrors will be conveyed to players of Slave Trade when they are partaking in slapstick slave Tetris.
Slave Trade has been out for a while through the developer’s website, but is coming to Steam on September 13th. Here’s the Steam page.