Stunningly beautiful only begins to describe the brand-new Never Alone video game. Developed by a subsidiary of the Alaskan Cook Inlet Tribal Council, in collaboration with almost 40 Alaska Native elders, storytellers and community members, Never Alone introduces a new genre of “World Video Games”. Already a debut award winner, Never Alone taps into the rich Iñupiaq culture, to create an atmospheric puzzle platform.
Playing as an Iñupiat girl, gamers explore everywhere from the tundra to underwater ice caverns in order to save the girl’s village from an eternal blizzard. Take a look for yourself!
Now, I’m not the biggest proponent of video games, but there are certain elements about Never Alone that make me want to pick up the controller myself.
- Non-Sexualized Female Protagonist
In the gaming world, finding strong female characters who aren’t falling out of their scant or form-fitting clothes is tough. Never Alone’s Nuna is no less the hero for making it through all her challenges while wearing sensible shoes and warm clothes.
- Cooperative Game Play
Just as in real life, one person can’t be expected to do everything. It usually takes teamwork to accomplish a big goal. In order to navigate through the game, players must switch between playing as Nuna and playing as her fox companion. Alternatively, two players can tag-team the game.
- Exploration of Spiritual Connection to the Natural World
Yes, the goal of the game is to overcome the blizzard, but that’s not accomplished through conquering and destruction. As a Wired game reviewer pointed out, players wind up learning about “respect for nature, one another, and one’s elders . . . cultivating a spiritual connection with the land. In short, community-informed selflessness.”
- Learn Something New
Unlocking challenges is rewarded with short educational videos that share elements of the Iñupiat culture.
I think PC Gamer described playing the game best:
[W]hat you’re doing is reclaiming, rescuing the fragments of a way of life that’s melting away into the ocean, in order to shore up the sense of fellowship that’s boldly insisted upon by the game’s title.
The Never Alone video game is available for PC download, as well as for various gaming systems.
Tell us what you think of the game!