FIDH launches REAL BAKU 2015 game to denounce human rights abuses in Azerbaijan

To mark the first European Games, to be held 12-28 June in Baku, Azerbaijan, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) will launch REAL BAKU 2015, an innovative online video game, to denounce the arbitrary imprisonment of dozens of activists detained for exercising their right to free speech.

REAL BAKU 2015 is an online, retro minigame. Available in English, French and Russian, it allows users to compete in different events that will be included in the real European Games competition.

The catch is that in REAL BAKU 2015, the gamer’s avatar is not an athlete, but rather an Azerbaijani political prisoner. The player competes in these athletic events in a bare, cramped prison cell. Players can choose to participate in five athletic events: the 100 meter prison cell dash, competitive shadowboxing, the mattress high jump, the distance swim in a sinkbowl, and the paper ball shot put.

After playing, users are invited to share their score on social networks so as to challenge friends and followers and support the cause of human rights.

Very few people from outside the region are familiar with Azerbaijan, and even fewer are aware of the human rights situation there. This game uses the context of the European Games to offer a new approach to drawing the public’s attention to this dismal reality,” declared Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

The game was conceived by the French communications firm BABEL. The game design was done by Pippin Barr, a cypriot game developer specializing in 8-bit games and who owes his internet fame to the game adaptation of “The Shining.” The campagne illustrations were designed by Mark Borgions, one of the 200 best illustrators according to Lürzer’s Archive.

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