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Since the 17th century immigrants and migrants have created and shaped communities across the United States. The first Europeans came to the U.S. in search of religious or political freedom or they arrived under labor contracts, while Africans were forcibly caught in the Atlantic slave trade. Later, immigrants and migrants arrived here, fleeing famine, poverty, civil unrest, and war, or they were attracted by the opportunity to improve their work or living conditions.

There has never been a time when immigration or migration stopped. And each succeeding group of newcomers changed the communities they settled in. Your city is home to thousands of immigrants, all of whom, like people in the past, have stories to share. Maybe your neighbors or family members arrived in the United States. Think about what the experience as an immigrant must have been like now or in any period in history. Was it hard to find your way around the city streets? What was it like attending school or making friends? This theme invites you to create a game about the immigrant experiences in your city.

Choose one of the below prompts for your game, or develop your own game concept:

  • Code-switching: When people move to the United States to live, they assume a new identity as an immigrant but bring a lifetime of cultural and familial references and experiences; ultimately they develop cross-cultural fluency. This act of changing one’s language and self-presentation depending on the situation is called “code-switching.” Create a game that imagines a world in which code-switching is a positive and empowering tool (maybe it’s even a superpower).
  • Community story: Interview someone in your community or family who immigrated to the United States. What resources in the community did they use? Who helped them out? What has gotten in their way? What have they learned? Make a game that tells this unique story from their point of view, and incorporates primary sources from your research, such as voice recordings, old photographs, and maps.
  • Borderless lands: Today, 97% of people live in the country they were born in. Would a world without political borders inspire more immigration? Create an adventure game about a borderless world. How do people communicate and navigate? How do the cultures mix and mingle? How would schools prepare truly “global” citizens?
  • Compare: Create a game that compares the lives of two immigrants from different cultures living in your city during the same or, oppositely, distant historical periods. Through your game’s narrative, explore how these experiences were similar or different, allowing for the possibility that one day, their lives intersect.

Senator John Heinz History Center


Some of these online exhibitions are password-protected. Please contact studentchallenge@gamesforchange.org to receive the password.

This online exhibition uses archival photographs and documents and links to other sources to illustrate the stories of families who have donated their papers to the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives.


Based on a timeline, the website chronicles the development of the social service infrastructure of the Pittsburgh Jewish community using archival documents and photographs from Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives collections and links to other sources.


The Italian American Collection documents the history and culture of Western Pennsylvania’s Italian American community.


This web page shares the oral history accounts of ten men that help document the Italian American experience during World War II.Themes explored in the collection include: childhood in Italy and Western Pennsylvania, civilian life prior to entering the armed forces, the call to duty, military training and deployment, overseas experiences, daily life in the military, stories from the front lines and combat, release from service, homecoming, and life after the war.


The emphasis of the African American Collection is to preserve historically significant materials written, owned, generated by or related to the history and culture of African Americans in Pittsburgh.


The Community Time Capsules project was inspired by Andy Warhol’s own Time Capsules—over 610 cardboard boxes he obsessively filled each day for more than a decade, with just about everything that came across his desk. The Community Time Capsules project celebrates Pittsburgh’s rich cultural heritage, both past and present, by documenting its inhabitants’ stories and by collaborating with artists, educators and the community who value the region’s heritage as the building blocks for the future. Project participants from the western Pennsylvania region and from around the world mined their homes, museums, synagogues, churches, and community centers gathering personal and historical objects that provide us a window into local immigrant culture.