We were tasked with playing 6 total digital narrative games. The ones I ended up choosing besides Spent and BBC Syrian Refugees were Factitious, Responsible Partying, Domestic Violence in Egypt, and A Mother's Dilemma.
All these games had certain features in common and other features that made them unique, so I think it would be interesting to reflect on them by comparing them in terms of how educational they are vs how efficiently they mess with the player emotionally.
In my opinion, the games that were the most informative were probably Spent and Domestic Violence in Egypt. Each of them had an abundance of facts - after practically every choice made, information was offered to let you know if the action you just committed to was wise or unadvisable. Both games used the choices you made to inform you about the consequences and/or related facts, which really helps if you don't know the specifics of financial struggles or being with an abuser. A Mother's dilemma also did this quite well, and I personally really liked having more information about the possible steps you can take when a kid is getting bullied. Do you intervene at the risk of making it worse for the kid? If you intervene will it be with the school or the bully's parents? These questions are answered with reasons as to why each decision in the options given would be best. Next in terms of educational value would be the Syrian Refugee game and Responsible partying. While both did have facts and statistics in their narratives, I don't think they stood out as strongly as in the other games. And somehow Factitious turns up last. Not that it wasn't entertaining and objectively informative in the headlines it provides, it's just that the information provided regarding identifying fake news was relatively brief.
In terms of emotional impact, which I feel is also important to making sure a game "sticks" with you, I think I'll tie Syrian Refugees and A Mother's Dilemma. Like I said before playing the former game was just very upsetting. It makes me sad to think that people have to go through so much in order to live safely and that even those efforts are countered by media narratives against refugees. Truly, it's tragic. A Mother's Dilemma serves to make me similarly upset and angry because it reminds me of how easily harassment and bullying can be overlooked, excused, or dismissed at schools. Being put in the place of the mother was also a swift kick to the heart. Next up would be Spent and the Domestic Violence game. Again, it's the subject matter that gets me here - in both games the frustration with the situation is really played upon. While Spent tests your patience by throwing every conceivable unfavorable situation in your financially-strained face, the other game tries it by showing what people think they can get away with in a relationship. And it's even worse in this setting! Finally, the least emotionally impactful games were Responsible Partying and Factitious. I don't think either intended to have much of an emotional impact, but as a result they were each less memorable for me. The only non-information based criteria they offered was a story and the satisfaction of choosing correctly, but (likely due to the subject matter) they lacked an emotional hook.