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What is it?

OccupyGezi is a game about Gezi Park events of Summer 2013 in Turkey.

A peaceful sit-in of about hundred people to prevent Gezi Park, one of the last green spaces in the middle of Istanbul, from being destroyed and turned into a mall was subject to use of disproportionate force by the police. This triggered a hundreds of thousands-strong country-wide protest against the authoritarian policies of the government, and there have been many clashes and police attacks since.

Why is it made?

The game was developed as part of a game jam organized by Game Developers Turkey (GDT). Gezi Park has become a symbol of people’s fight against oppression and desire for a more democratic country, where they can have a say about their own lives, their city, their future. Now the Taksim Square and Gezi Park is occupied peacefully by the protesters with no police around and no violence, and with no other redeeming quality of our own, we chose to show our support by doing what we do best – making games.

Individuals from every part of society have collectively participated to the events, especially using social media (as the traditional media refused to inform people about this event), therefore developing games as a medium to express our political opinions fit to the spirit of the movement.

Symbols in the game

There were many iconic moments during the protests, most notably woman in red during the early days of the protests. You, as the player, control a policeman and can shoot tear gas at protesters. It is up to YOU to decide whether you want to allow the protesters to enter the park freely and safely or pose them a challenge. Should you prefer to choose the latter, woman in red will appear in the game to support the protesters in their cause.

Primarily inspired by Gonzalo Frasca’s 12th September, this game aims to show players the collective solidarity of protesters against the police state. As a player you can shoot at protesters by simply holding and releasing your left mouse button during gameplay.

Mechanically, shooting at protesters only slows them down, it’s not possible to prevent their entrance to the park. In the background, you can also see the support by habitants of the city from their home, legitimizing the protests in the eyes of people.

The game was exhibited in Amber Design & Technology Festival in Istanbul, Turkey.

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