The Migrant Trail

Release Date: February 21, 2014

Developer: Gigantic Mechanic

Experience hazards facing migrants and Border Patrol along border.



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The Migrant Trail is a single-player simulation game examining the life of migrants and border patrol agents on the U.S.-Mexico border as part of The Undocumented transmedia campaign. The player may choose to play as one of several individuals on either side and is always first introduced to a prologue explaining that character’s history and motivations.

Gameplay as a migrant is styled after The Oregon Trail, in which the player must purchase supplies for the journey before setting off on the path and encountering events. Additionally, border patrols roam the map, requiring the player to choose paths that avoid patrols or double back in an attempt to escape capture. Success is incredibly difficult, and the player often dies if they’re not captured by border patrol.

As a border patrol agent, the player drives one of those same patrol cars, searching for groups attempting to cross the border. Once a group or individual is found, much of the player’s time — a limited resource for border agents — can be spent tending to injuries and ensuring captured migrants receive proper care, for the objective of the border patrol agent is not simply to capture as many migrants as possible, but also to prevent deaths and injuries.

The multiple facets behind these two sides are constructed to be complimentary rather than oppositional. When switching from migrant to border patrol, the focus on providing aid combined with an understanding of how brutal conditions are for migrant groups produces empathy and drives the player towards success from a humanitarian perspective.

Free (Web/Online)

Games for Change Festival 2014 (Nominee, Most Significant Impact)


The Independent Television ServiceFetzer Institute

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  1. 9
    Total Game Reviews: 1

    The Migrant Trail is challenging game tackling difficult problems the United States currently faces with migration. Based on the documentary, The Undocumented, and inspired by The Oregon Trail, you play as either as a migrant crossing the Mexican-US border through the Sonoran desert or a Patrol Agent trying to capture migrants.

    The gameplay for the patrol officer is quite simple. Players are given a time-limit which is your shift and a patrol car with 3 speeds. Each speed is accompanied with a radius of vision you have to capture migrants and find their dropped items, with the slower speeds having higher vision radii. While playing, you don’t really have a score so much as a lose objective and stats you obtain after your shift. Each Patrol officer has a certain positive affiliation to the migrants and Mexicans in general, which complicate their work. In my playthrough as all the patrol officers, I didn’t really feel much for the migrants and was just trying to get as much done as possible. I also wasn’t able to gauge if I did well on one shift or another, which I believe is a criticism on the work of a patrol officer and how much good they do. After each shift, the game will tell me how many died that I wasn’t able to even save and show me a map with much more crucifixes than I even thought there were migrants. It’s hard to feel like you can curb the "problem" of migrant workers when playing through the guise of these patrol officers.

    The migrants have a completely different gameplay that is closer to classic Oregon Trail. You are given a character with stats. For example Diego is a young kid from Chicago who was recently deported because of his affiliation with gangs. This was definitely more difficult than the patrol officers. As a migrant you must balance your stats with the weight of your bag.
    I won the first time with Diego who seemed to be the easiest character after losing with all the other characters.

    The game has a great message & great gameplay

  2. 7
    Total Game Reviews: 3

    Some choices were a little confusing to figure out the affect of and at times I found myself guessing. The game was an interesting puzzle though to play with.

  3. 3
    Total Game Reviews: 1

    This game looks amazing and enjoyable; however, it is not possible for me to progress past the first level for migrant or patrol. A spinning red and yellow circle appears and the next level never loads.

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