O’siyo. The first Native owned video game entitled “Never Alone” will be released this coming fall for all to enjoy. The setting is Alaska and the protagonist is young Nuna and her arctic fox. Players help Nuna rescue her homeland from an endless blizzard and many folklore characters. The inspiration for the game comes from the centuries-old stories of the Iñupiat people native to the region.
Excerpt: Alaska Natives Tell Their Tales in Never Alone By Jim Squires
“The stories of our fathers are rarely written down. What we know of our family, our past, and to a certain extent our culture has survived because of the tradition of oral storytelling. In some cultures this is more valued than others. For the Indigenous People of the Americas, telling stories is essential to the preservation of their culture and heritage.
So why not share these stories through a more modern medium?
Never Alone will be the debut release from Upper One Games, a studio founded by the Cook Inlet Tribal Counsel in Anchorage, Alaska. They’re the first indigenous-owned studio in the US, and that’s a title they wear proudly. Never Alone tells the tale of a young girl named Nuna and an Arctic fox. Everything in the game is inspired by the folk tales of the Iñupiaq people, including Kunuuksaayuka, Manslayer, Blizzard Man, and The Sky People.
As you might expect the developers have a rich cultural history to draw from, and for most gamers this will be their first experience with Indigenous folklore.
Interactive mediums have the potential to be great teaching tools. If Arctic Natives can use video games as a way to preserve their culture and share it with the next generation of Indigenous Peoples (and the world), I’m all for it.
Never Alone is aiming for a Fall 2014 release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One with an expected $14.99 price.
VIDEO: Trailer Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) [PS4/Xbox One/PC]
“For thousands of years we told stories from one generation to the next. Our stories help us to understand how the world is ordered and our place within it, but what good are old stories if the wisdom they contain is not shared?” ~Never Alone~ ( Iñupiat Narration)