8 November 2017
A gata sob o ojá, a computer game exploring the subject of prejudice against religions with African origins, will be released on November 11th. The game examines the various encounters experienced by a cat who wears a fio de conta and an ojá (sacred Candomblé objects) in her short short subway commute. During the route, the cat interacts with other passenger cats who approach her because of her outfit and perceived beliefs.
The game is a Brazilian adaptation of of the computer game The Cat in the Hijab, which was made in the United States by the designer and game developer Andrew Wang, and which portrayed the discrimination experienced by a Muslim cat. The original game creation took place in just one week, during the international event called ResistJam (March 2017), in which developers gathered themselves to produce games that explored the issues of oppression and authoritarianism.
The Brazilian localization (term used to refer to the video games translation/adaptation from one language, or culture, to another) idea emerged when the translator Marcus Vinicius Santos, from Maceió (AL), discovered the ResistJam while he surfed the web. Interested in making a simple translation of Andrew's game, he contacted the developer. However, over the weeks, the idea of a localization that depicts forms of prejudices present in Brazilian everyday had been taking shape. "Every day, it is very clear that the jokes, the swearing, and the depredations to the African matrix religions' heritage make them the most persecuted and attacked religions within our country," says the game's localizer, who also based the in-game choices on research results.
The game adaptation sought to transform both textual and visual aspects so that the Brazilian public would have access to something closer to their reality. In addition to leaning on materials about the theme, the translator counted on the cultural consultancy of Marina Barreto, a follower of Candomblé who also lives in Maceió. "Marina was crucial reporting painful personal experiences of prejudice that she suffered and also for having tracked the whole process closely."
Marcus Vinicius believes that despite the game's simplicity and brevity, it can provoke interesting reflections by placing the player in the position of victim and bystander of common aggressions in Brazil. He also sees that there is a recent trend in game production that does not aim to merely amuse players, but also treats the production of video games as means of artistic and political conversation: "They are a tool to be considered for the education of young people, both in the classroom as in everyday life."
A gata sob o ojá is a free game and it can be downloaded on marcusvinicius.itch.io/a-gata-sob-o-oja.
Game trailer: https://youtu.be/n4C7xoGUTEI
Source: Press Advisory (TNH1)
Translated by Andrew W. Wang