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Julia Makivic

Julia Makivic

IRL: The Game


IRL: The Game is a collaboration between game designer Julia Makivic and author Chris Stedman. The game is inspired by Stedman's latest book IRL: Finding Realness, Meaning, and Belonging in Our Digital Lives and explores themes of what it means to be real online. Players click through posts in a surreal digital landscape and interact with a series of exciting internet personalities. In the process, players examine their own relationship the internet and how their digital life intersects with their physical life.



In IRL: The Game players click through posts in a surreal digital landscape. Each post has four emojis that the player can click to respond to each post. Although this is not revealed until the end, each of these emojis represents a particular emotion: realness, mea

ning, belonging and uncertainty. The manner in which the player chooses these emojis will affect a map of their journey through the game that they receive at the end. The player can replay the game and click on different emojis to reveal a different map.

Players will also encounter three main characters in this digital space. These characters include a drag queen trying to determine the direction of her next performance, a furry trying to plan a fur meet in a unique location and a modern day cartographer trying to preserve the character of her neighborhood before it is lost due to gentrification. These characters pose questions to the player that challenge the player's understanding of what it means to be real online. The players response to these questions determines the final path taken by each character. Each character has a total of two possible endings. Players can replay the game and answer each question differently to unlock all of the possible endings.

IRL: The Game can be played on Chris's website or on itch.io. 

Below are some images from the game.