Win win: Islamic Relief game turns microtransactions into charitable donations while tackling negative preconceptions

The first ever video game to be created by a Muslim charity has launched. Virtue Reality is a joint endeavour from Islamic Relief UK  and Ultimatum Games.

The mobile game is a free idle clicker title with a key difference. Its in-app purchases save lives, while its story teaches young people how international aid works. In addition, it tackles negative perceptions of Muslims in a way that few other forms of media have done in recent times.

Players build projects, accumulating DeedCoins to build new phases of a project, reflecting the good deeds that Muslims are expected to carry out as part of their faith.

Through the game, players learn how Islamic Relief works on the ground to support men, women and children in crisis around the world, from providing shelter to families who’ve lost everything in a flood to constructing a micro dam to cure a drought. All the events that unfold in-game are based on real international development projects run by the charity across more than 40 countries.

The game launched at the National Videogame Museum in Sheffield last week and is available for iOS and Android. The launch ties in with Charity Week, a fundraising campaign among Muslim students in the UK, that runs during the last week of October every year.

“We see Virtue Reality as a solution to two challenges presented by society: scepticism of aid and increasing Islamophobia. We are living in a political climate that is hostile to both aid and Muslims,” explained Judith Escribano, Head of Communications at Islamic Relief UK.

Shahid Kamal Ahmad, managing director at Ultimatum Games, offered similar views in a Twitter thread on the game, citing “I got tired of being angry about the representation of Muslims in the media and groaning as yet more cheap attacks on Muslims failed The Riz Test, so I did something about it once the opportunity presented itself”

Virtue Reality is available for iOS and Android now.

Story by Jennifer Allen.

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