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Explore Native Alaskan Stories As a Young Iñupiaq Girl in This New Video Game

Never Alone draws on the art, stories and culture of Alaskan Inuit

smithsonian.com

The Cook Inlet Tribal Council of Alaska is taking a new approach to preserving history and culture: they're making a video game.

Known as Never Alone, “[p]layers will control young female protagonist Nuna and her arctic fox as they try to rescue her homeland from an endless blizzard,” says Kotaku. “The upcoming video game will... hold [the Alaskan community's] culture, artwork and folktales in a vessel designed to carry a sense of the Inuit spirit far away from their southcentral Alaskan homeland.”

When kids from Istanbul to Irvine have access to much of the same art, entertainment and technology, conserving cultural traditions and ways of living is becoming ever more difficult. Cultural leaders are looking for new ways to preserve their history and language: the Navajo Nation's recently re-released the original Star Wars, re-recorded in Diné bizaad, and native northern Brazilians recorded some of their stories in Nhengatu.

As an artistic medium, video games' strengths play well into the goal of sharing some of the Native Alaskan experience.

While a book lets a reader in on the characters' innermost thoughts and a film picks viewers up and takes them on a visual journey, video games do both, plus something else: they let players experience the story for themselves. You don't learn about or watch the characters; you are the characters. You don't just get to see the far off land; you explore it and immerse yourself in it.

Here's the trailer:

The Cook Inlet council's new company, Upper One Games, has partnered with New York's E-Line Media to produce Never Alone, due out this fall. According to USA Today, this game is expected to be just the first in a series.

About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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