Two women from the Austin area are launching a new online video game where the gamer steps into the shoes of several women in different socioeconomic, geographic and demographic brackets who are all faced with getting an abortion under Texas abortion restrictions.
The game is called Choice: Texas and allows users to pick from a set of women with different life scenarios and then chose which direction they will take based on the state’s abortion restrictions.
Co-Creator Carly Kocurek said she and Austin-based writer Allyson Whipple began working on the game well before this summer’s abortion clinic laws took center stage.
"So we’ve been working on it since before the last legislative session, actually," Kocurek said. "The filibuster and the events over the summer I think really energized the project and made it much more timely and much more pressing."
Kocurek said players get to pick from a set of women from different backgrounds and circumstances, all of whom are facing the difficult decision of having an abortion.
"There’s different paths for all of the characters and there’s different options for all of them," she said. "One of the characters is a young mother that is really excited and they’ve got the nursery all ready and then she has medical complications that are really threatening to her health."
There's also a 19-year-old character that is a part-time bartender and has been sexually assaulted and is looking at abortion as an option. She said the game works more like a chose-your-own adventure storybook than an actual video game.
Since going public, Kocurek and her co-creator have received numerous threats.
"I really didn’t think people would be so upset and I think some of it has to do with that phrase 'video game' getting thrown around," Kocurek said, "and I think what the game is has been kind of exaggerated."
She said she fears for her safety because of what some people have said.
"I have had people track me down and contact me at work," she said. "I talk to some of the folks here about campus security and things like that. I wish that wasn’t necessary."
Kocurek said they wanted to put a face on the statistics commonly thrown around when it comes Texas women and the need for abortion services.
Kocurek and Whipple plan to unveil the prototype for game at the Future and Reality of Gaming Conference in Vienna, Austria next month, which is about the same time as the new Texas abortion clinic restrictions take effect.
Their IndieGoGo page says they plan to release the full game in February 2014.
Here is their IndieGoGo campaign video: