Taking place as part of PUSH Festival 2021, Closed Hands is an experimental and political video game exploring extremism and radicalisation.
With a focus on five main characters, Closed Hands examines the lead-up to and aftermath of a terror attack in a fictional UK city. Although the attack itself is intentionally never depicted, game participants are able to draw their own picture of the reason the event occurred, and the long-lasting effects it had on people, communities, and the city itself.
The gameplay is a free-form fragmented narrative, allowing the player to weave their own paths through the story: both forward and backward in time. Cleverly told through interactive textual fiction, players are able to explore each character’s desktop – read their emails, replay conversations and explore their files and documents.
Developed by Manchester-based indie games studio PASSENGER, the game will allow players to understand the impact of extremism. Led by artist Dan Hett, Closed Hands is the studio’s first work, and explores Dan’s personal experience of losing his brother Martyn Hett in the Manchester terror attack in 2017.
Exploring prejudices and racism alongside tabloid and media reactions, the game aims to open a dialogue around the effect that extremism has on people’s perceptions of cultures and communities.
All groups represented in the game have been developed in close consultation with cultural, professional and community groups. This includes journalists, emergency workers, and both the Muslim and wider minority ethnic communities.