Borders: Indie Game about Illegal Immigration — Here’s what’s wrong with this game

By | March 7, 2017

It’s an intense survival game about migration in an extreme hostile environment.  And it’s 8-bit.

No, it’s not the Oregon Trail.

It’s Borders, an indie by Gonzalo Alvarez.

Here’s the game in Alvarez’s own words (

Borders is a political art game created not only to exhibit video games as an art form but to portray the dangers Mexican immigrants face in order to give the next generation a better future.  Players attempt to cross the border while avoiding La Migra (border patrol) and staying hydrated. The place where every player dies is permanently recorded into the video game’s world, represented by a skeleton. This universal symbol communicates where players should be careful as well as simulates the large death toll claimed by Mexico’s deserts.

I love the idea and agree it can be a stimulant for discussion.  It can also be art, though my personal opinion is that it’s derivative…of just about every 8-bit game I’ve played.

And it could actually be fun as a stealth puzzle game, zig-zagging from one cactus to another, timing your runs and hiding from La Migra.

Oh, about La Migra….

That’s the biggest FAIL here.

They look like guys taken out of Rambo.  Evil militant gestapo-ish killers waving around M-16s.

borders video game

If the intent is to draw attention to the plight of the immigrants, then you can’t demonize the people you’re trying to reach.  And I’m assuming something like this is trying to reach those who would normally support the U.S. Border Patrol.  Right?  No use preaching to the choir.

All this does is polarize, unfortunately.

But it has spurred discussion, have been covered in media, so a win there.

borders video game

One thought on “Borders: Indie Game about Illegal Immigration — Here’s what’s wrong with this game

  1. Ovi

    Hello, this game seems like a very unique game.

    I think its not that they are demonizing the people they are trying to reach.

    Regards Ovi


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