Episode 23: Naked in the Desert on the Migrant Trail


screenshot of The Migrant Trail

With immigration and a border wall in the news this week, it’s a good time to look at 2013’s The Migrant Trail.

Released as a tie-in for Marco Williams’ documentary The Undocumented, The Migrant Trail is a browser-based game where you’re in the shoes of either an undocumented immigrant attempting to cross the Arizona border, or a border patrol agent on the lookout for border crossers.

If you’ve played Oregon Trail, you know how the basic mechanics work. You select a person to attempt crossing as, and purchase supplies within a budget. Along the way you consume supplies to keep stats above zero and make decisions about the rest of your party.

As a border patrol agent, you drive through the desert looking for signs of life or any illegal crossings in progress.

The Migrant Trail is a more well-rounded attempt to tackle an issue than Voter Suppression Trail was last time, but some interface difficulties and game design choices keep it from being a complete success.

Games Mentioned in this episode

  • The Migrant Trail (click on the game’s title at the bottom of the page)
  • Oregon Trail
  • Voter Suppression Trail

Show Notes & Links

  • The Undocumented isn’t currently available to stream anywhere, but PBS has a trailer.

Special thanks to Todd Haefele for our new intro music!

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